Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What are we going to do about the Saudis?

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Some people accuse me of focusing too much on the malign influence of Israel. There’s some truth in this: We need to look more closely at Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two nations which have played key roles in the rise of ISIS and Al Qaeda. And I can think of no better starting point than the documentary embedded above — one of the best docs I’ve seen inyears.
Moon of Alabama directs our attention to this interview with Saudi Arabia’s current defense minister Muhammad bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. One cannot help but be struck by the clear signs of megalomania and psychopathology. Whenever Salman is asked about the state of his nation, he responds by invoking the personal pronoun. The clear message: “I am the state.” Example:
Do you think having a greater proportion of women in the workforce would be good for Saudi Arabia?
No doubt. A large portion of my productive factors are unutilised. And I have population growth reaching very scary figures.
Wow. This guy is loony.
There is some talk, now, of changing the line of succession, to insure that Muhammad bin Sultan — the author of the disastrous war on Yemen — never becomes the King. If ever he does reach the top spot, I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes known to history as the Caligula of the Saudi dynasty.
If you want further background on the origin of the Saudi dynasty, go here. This article traces the great betrayal of Hussain bin Ali, the Hashemite ruler of Mecca who had aided the British immensely by launching a revolt against the Turks during WWI. The Sharif would not tolerate the Balfour decision, and would not take a “go away” bribe. That’s when the British decided to switch their support to Ibn Saud, the most barbaric of the Arabian warriors.
Many people who see the film Lawrence of Arabia wonder why Faisal (played by Alec Guinness) never became the ruler of Arabia after the war, even though his family controlled Mecca. The answer is simple: The Hashemites would not accept the creation of a Jewish state.
That’s how this monstrous dynasty was born. But how will it die?
Writer Trita Parsi argues that Saudi Arabia is a state in decline, and that its recent displays of savagery are the flailings of a wounded animal.
Saudi Arabia is exhibiting the psychology of a state that risks losing its dominant position and whose losing hand is growing weaker and weaker. This explains why an otherwise rational actor begins making seemingly panicky and incomprehensible moves.
From its decision to give up a seat on the United Nations Security Council — after having campaigned for it for over a year and celebrated its election to the UN body only a day earlier — to its reckless and failing attack on Yemen, to its push against the nuclear deal with Iran, to the deliberate provocation of executing Shia political dissident Nimr al-Nimr, its conduct is that of a sun-setting power.
In fact, the EU’s support for reengagement with Iran is partly driven by its assessment that the West’s current relationship with Saudi Arabia isn’t sustainable. As the New York Times has reported, in the current standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran, EU sympathies tend to lean toward Tehran.
To make matters worse for the Saudis, the Chinese have shifted their position in the Persian Gulf to reduce their dependency on Saudi Arabia and strengthen their ties with Iran.
“China wants stability in the Persian Gulf,” an analyst close the Chinese government recently told me, “and it sees Iran as the most stable country in the region, while it is very worried about Saudi conduct.”
If the Saudis were smart, they would get rid of the maniacal Muhammad bin Salman now, and then move quickly to transform their Kingdom into a constitutional monarchy.
Of course, that won’t happen.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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