Wheels And Deals: Trouble Is Brewing In The House Of Saud

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Saudi women being allowed to drive is a smokescreen – Salafi-jihadism is alive and well inside the Kingdom. What's more, another coup may be along shortly...

Suddenly, the ideological matrix of all strands of Salafi-jihadism is being hailed by the West as a model of progress – because Saudi women will finally be allowed to drive. Only next year. Only some women. And still subject to many restrictions.

What’s certain is that the timing of the announcement – which comes after years of liberal American pressure – was calculated with precision, arriving only a few days before House of Saud capo King Salman drops in for a chat at Trump’s White House. The soft power move was coordinated by the 32-year-old Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, the Destroyer of Yemen; the king merely added his signature.

The diversionary tactic masks serious trouble in the court. A Gulf business source with intimate knowledge of the House of Saud, having held a number of personal meetings with members, told Asia Times that “the Fahd, Nayef, and Abdullah families, the descendants of King Abdulaziz al Saud and his wife Hassa bin Ahmed al-Sudairi, are forming an alliance against the ascendancy to the Kingship of the Crown Prince.”

No wonder, considering that the ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef – highly regarded in the Beltway, especially Langley – is under house arrest. His massive web of agents at the Interior Ministry has largely been “relieved of their authority”. The new Interior Minister is Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 34, the eldest son of the governor of the country’s largely Shi’ite Eastern Province, where all the oil is. Curiously, the father is now reporting to his son. MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else.

Former King Abdulaziz set up his Saudi succession based on the seniority of his sons; in theory, if each one lived to the same age all would have a shot at the throne, thus avoiding the bloodletting historically common in Arabian clans over lines of succession.

Now, says the source, “a bloodbath is predicted to be imminent.” Especially because “the CIA is outraged that the compromise worked out in April, 2014 has been abrogated wherein the greatest anti-terrorist factor in the Middle East, Mohammed bin Nayef, was arrested.” That may prompt “vigorous action taken against MBS possibly in early October.” And it might even coincide with the Salman-Trump get together.

ISIS playing by the (Saudi) book

Asia Times’ Gulf business source stresses how “the Saudi economy is under extreme strain based on their oil price war against Russia, and they are behind their bills in paying just about all their contractors. That could lead to the bankruptcy of some of the major enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabia of MBS features the Crown Prince buying a US$600 million yacht and his father spending US$100 million on his summer vacation, highlighted on the front pages of the New York Times while the Kingdom strangles under their leadership.”

MBS’s pet project, the spun-to-death Vision 2030, in theory aims to diversify from mere oil profits and dependency on the US to a more modern economy (and a more independent foreign policy).
That’s completely misguided, according to the source, because “the problem in Saudi Arabia is that their companies cannot function with their local population and [are] reliant on expatriates for about 70% or more of their staff. Aramco cannot run without expatriates. Therefore, selling 5% of Aramco to diversify does not solve the problem. If he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people.”

The similarly lauded Aramco IPO, arguably the largest share sale in history and originally scheduled for next year, has once again been postponed – “possibly” to the second half of 2019, according to officials in Riyadh. And still no one knows where shares will be sold; the NYSE is far from a done deal.

In parallel, MBS’s war on Yemen, and the Saudi drive for regime change in Syria and to reshape the Greater Middle East, have turned out to be spectacular disasters. Egypt and Pakistan have refused to send troops to Yemen, where relentless Saudi air bombing – with US and UK weapons – has accelerated malnutrition, famine and cholera, and configured a massive humanitarian crisis.

The Islamic State project was conceived as the ideal tool to force Iraq to implode. It’s now public domain that the organization’s funding came mostly from Saudi Arabia. Even the former imam of Mecca has publicly admitted ISIS’ leadership “draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, our own principles.”

Which brings us to the ultimate Saudi contradiction. Salafi-jihadism is more than alive inside the Kingdom even as MBS tries to spin a (fake) liberal trend (the “baby you can drive my car” stunt). The problem is Riyadh congenitally cannot deliver on any liberal promise; the only legitimacy for the House of Saud lies in those religious “books” and “principles.”

In Syria, besides the fact that an absolute majority of the country’s population does not wish to live in a Takfiristan, Saudi Arabia supported ISIS while Qatar supported al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra). That ended up in a crossfire bloodbath, with all those non-existent US-supported “moderate rebels” reduced to road kill.

And then there’s the economic blockade against Qatar – another brilliant MBS plot. That has only served to improve Doha’s relations with both Ankara and Tehran. Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was not regime-changed, whether or not Trump really dissuaded Riyadh and Abu Dhabi from taking “military action.” There was no economic strangulation: Total, for instance, is about to invest US$2 billion to expand production of Qatari natural gas. And Qatar, via its sovereign fund, counterpunched with the ultimate soft power move – it bought global footballing brand Neymar for PSG, and the “blockade” sank without a trace.

“Robbing their people blind”

In Enemy of the State, the latest Mitch Rapp thriller written by Kyle Mills, President Alexander, sitting at the White House, blurts, “the Middle East is imploding because those Saudi sons of bitches have been pumping up religious fundamentalism to hide the fact that they’re robbing their people blind.” That’s a fair assessment.

No dissent whatsoever is allowed in Saudi Arabia. Even the economic analyst Isam Az-Zamil, very close to the top, has been arrested during the current repression campaign. So opposition to MBS does not come only from the royal family or some top clerics – although the official spin rules that only those supporting Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, Iran and Qatari “terrorism” are being targeted.

In terms of what Washington wants, the CIA is not fond of MBS, to say the least. They want “their” man Nayef back. As for the Trump administration, rumors swirl it is “desperate for Saudi money, especially infrastructure investments in the Rust Belt.”

It will be immensely enlightening to compare what Trump gets from Salman with what Putin gets from Salman: the ailing King will visit Moscow in late October. Rosneft is interested in buying shares of Aramco when the IPO takes place. Riyadh and Moscow are considering an OPEC deal extension as well as an OPEC-non-OPEC cooperation platform incorporating the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

Riyadh has read the writing on the new wall: Moscow’s rising political / strategic capital all across the board, from Iran, Syria and Qatar to Turkey and Yemen.

That does not sit well with the US deep state.

Even if Trump gets some Rust Belt deals, the burning question is whether the CIA and its friends can live with MBS on the House of Saud throne.


Megaton Jim Sat, 09/30/2017 - 22:14 Permalink

I lived in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years, they are worthless, spoiled assholes. The country deserves to fall! BTW, it isn't a good idea to out 6 million people in a city in the desert and have to survive on desalanized water that consumes massive amounts of energy. Riyadh will go back to a few tens of thousands in a few years!

BobEore ergatz Sun, 10/01/2017 - 00:35 Permalink

Wrong way Jose -As Saudistan goes down... the Sraeli flag will go up!  As yet another phony-Muslim regime gets folded into the sionist picnic basket.There is no oil war tween Russia and the Saudis no more. Everybody has been made a pitch, everybody gets a piece of the pie... in the coming ENERGY CARTEL AND MUDDLED EASTERN MONOPOLY which will hang Europe out to dry...SraelRussiaIranSaudistanGulf StatesJurdistanPeople like Pepito who shill for da man. Everybody else.... under da bus. That means yu tu - exceptionalist suicidalists!

In reply to by ergatz

BobEore AvoidingTaxation Sun, 10/01/2017 - 06:34 Permalink

It is expensive, it is mad, but it is also perfectly autharchic.

I very much wish the last part of your precis were true ...
but by far the largest element of the supposed 'renewables revolution' in Europe is being streamed through the traditional 'top down' system of distribution...

which will leave it not just "expensive and mad" but also unsustainable and unquestionably in the hands of the usual suspects.

"First there was a mountain - then there was no mountain, then there is" - Donanvan, methinks.

In reply to by AvoidingTaxation

aeneas01 peggysue1 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 09:01 Permalink

Oh joy!! "The Angry Sinner" blog makes it's return!! (Synopsis: "I wake up. Eat breakfast. Watch TV. Eat lunch. Watch TV. Eat Dinner. Have a cup of coffee. Say the Lord's Prayer. Watch TV. Go to bed". Repeated every day and faithfully chronicled every day. Occasionally we are treated with a scatological discourse in addition to a scooby-doo eschatology. Mr Sinner has previously written that he likes to "make waves at zero hedge" and rile us "worshippers of the golden calf". I hope his waves don't result in an unfortunate aquatic argent accident...Oh ecstasy!! The useless-eater of Shanghai followed by a new screed from the Bilblicim Institute!! I wonder if today's article has anything to do with zionism...

In reply to by peggysue1

Matteo S. Blue Steel 309 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 02:44 Permalink

Ridiculous to read it from a citizen of the US /Exceptionalistan that has been the dregs of mankind and the worthy heir of nazi Germany for the past 70 years, not to say the past 300 years.

Too few may ignore it but Hitler expressed vocal admiration for the way anglo-saxon settlers performed almost complete ethnic cleansing in what would become the US. His only regret was that, although german immigrants were the most important group of europeans who settled in the US, this was not enough to turn the US into a german speaking country.

But the American "way" was a central source of inspiration for Hitler. What Hitler wanted to do was nothing else than mimicking at the expense of the slavs what anglo-saxons had done at the expense of amerindians.

Your message deserved such a recall.

In reply to by Blue Steel 309

historian40 Son of Captain Nemo Sat, 09/30/2017 - 22:55 Permalink

You'll know them by their fruits.  In accordance with this method, Trump is not a Christian.If one understands the Gospel, he/she could not do as Trump, and be overjoyed that his daughter and grandchildren are joined to the cult of antichrist Pharisaism(judaism), which requires they deny Jesus Christ come in the flesh.There is no concord between Christ and Belial.  "Judeo-Christian" is an oxymoron.

In reply to by Son of Captain Nemo

tion historian40 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 02:30 Permalink

Matthew 7:1-8Judge not, that ye be not judged.For with that judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to case out the mote out of thy brother's eye.Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neighter cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

In reply to by historian40

gregga777 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 22:21 Permalink

The Saudi people will never go to work. They might get their pristine white thobes soiled and that would be totally unacceptable. Better to import millions of dirt poor Pakistanis, Philipinos and Philipinas to do the dirty work. And the Saudis can rape the Philipinas to their heart's content, too. Saudi Delusion 2030 gives them another decade to rob their people blind before getting the Hell out of Hell.

Blue Steel 309 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 22:22 Permalink

Letting women drive is the stupidest thing they could have done to give the impression that they view women as anything other than baby factories.

Woman are baby factories and they are terrible drivers. Do they even have mandatory auto-insurance? Regardless, if you have ever been to a grocery store, you know the root cause of women being terrible drivers, when you see how inconsiderate they are with their shopping carts and children.

If my wife read this, she would only be mildly upset about the baby factory thing, because women have a hard time with facts.

Cabreado Sat, 09/30/2017 - 22:50 Permalink

"Communication" will be turning this world upside-down... and not a single soul knows the particulars of how.The only obvious thing is that Rule of Law is effectively gone -- even the most virtuous variety.

mabuhay1 Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:05 Permalink

The CIA does not make nor break any Government, especially Saudi Arabia's government.

The non-driving aspect of Saudi Arabia is not a Muslim belief, but a local tribal one. It has implications to Saudi Arabia alone.

Cabreado, "Rule of Law" is in full effect in Saudi Arabia. It is their law, and their country.

Coup? Maybe, but the young Princes may be more powerful than the Old Guard. Time alone will tell.

The Saudi nation has been trying for years to increase Saudi employment, the problem lies in expected attainment (they all want to be a manager, not a worker) and in education. Most schools in Saudi Arabia have only taught the Koran, and not much else. They fail to produce a populous prepared to function as technicians and service workers. Total revamp of the educational system is needed in order to help eliminate the need for foreign workers.

SmittyinLA mabuhay1 Sun, 10/01/2017 - 05:46 Permalink

There's a lot of elite arrogance around the globe, they all think they can spy on and keep track of all the opposition assuming it isn't a two way street, except it's easier now than ever before for the peons to track the elite as well as they're tracked by the elite. You can even buy services on elites from elites, they have no allegiance to anybody or common sense.

In reply to by mabuhay1

Atomizer Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

Camel fucking sand nigger has his dick stuck in camel asshole. Has to reverse his bullshit to save his picnic napkin/table head piece.  

Mr T Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:30 Permalink

This from the articleIf he wants a more productive society, and less handouts and meaningless government jobs, he has to first train and employ his own people.”This could be a tad concerningAccording to the myth they trained and employed them with box cutters and In cesnas last time. Then evaded NORAD and Dropped 3 concrete and steel highrise buildings right into they own footprint. Allah snackbar. Oh the miraculous turn to plunge parallel to the surface a 757 into the brand new accounting investigation wing of the Pentagram. Alleru snackbar. ISiS who can forget another Saudi/Israeli gift to humanity. Snacks all aroundWe really ought to be pissed at the Saudi people for electing this monsters.What's that? no election they just appoint themselves princes and Kings and fuck yall?At least with a few hundred billion in USA weaponry the inbred ones should be able to control the herd I guess.The orb ordains it.