Germany's foreign intelligence agency says Saudi Arabia's ambitious defense minister could endanger the country's ties with regional allies by attempting to cement his place in the royal succession.

The BND spy agency says Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is second in line to the throne, and his father, King Salman, are trying to establish themselves as leaders of the Arab world.

In a memo published Wednesday the agency said the Saudi leaders' efforts have replaced the royal family's previously cautious diplomatic stance with an "impulsive policy of intervention."

The BND cited the country's involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen that were meant to prove that "Saudi Arabia is prepared to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks to avoid falling behind in regional politics."