First, a little bit of history from Robert Fisk: Saudi Arabia's history of hypocrisy we choose to ignore
So the Wahabists have a long association with the Saudi royal family. No surprises there, then.Robert Fisk wrote:Hunter identified a “hate preacher” as the cause of this “terror”, a man inspired on a visit to Arabia by an ascetic Muslim called Abdul Wahab whose violent “Wahabi” followers had formed an alliance with – you guessed it – the House of Saud. Hunter’s 140-year-old volume The Indian Musalmans – given a dusting of internet race hatred, murderous attacks by individual Sunni Muslims, cruel Wahabi-style punishments and all-too familiar proof of second-class citizenship for Muslims in a European-run state – might have been written today.
Even before Hunter’s day, the Wahabis captured the holy cities of Arabia and – Isis-style – massacred their inhabitants. Like Isis, they even overran Syria. Their punishments, and those of their Saudi military supporters, make the public lashing of today’s Saudi blogger Raif Badawi appear a minor misdemeanour. Hypocrisy was a theme of Arabian as well as European history.
Next, who are the runners and riders to succeed King Abdullah? As posted by Emo on the Oil Price thread, here is Pepe Escobar's take on proceedings
So that casts a lot of doubt into the succession process being "smooth" - it'll be anything but.Pepe Escobar wrote:So who’ll be next? The first in the line of succession should be Crown Prince Salman, 79, also defense minister. He was governor of Riyadh province for a hefty 48 years. It was this certified falcon who supervised the wealth of private “donations” to the Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s jihad, in tandem with hardcore Wahhabi preachers. Salman’s sons include the governor of Medina, Prince Faisal. Needless to add, the Salman family controls virtually all of Saudi media.
To get to the Holy Grail Salman must be proven fit. That’s not a given; and on top of it Abdullah, a tough nut to crack, already survived two of his crown princes, Sultan and Nayef. Salman’s prospects look bleak; he has had spinal surgery, a stroke and may be suffering from – how appropriate - dementia.
There was a recent terrorist attack on a KSA army outpost in which a top Saudi general was killed. John Robb, at Global Guerillas, has this interesting piece
While I am unconvinced at this stage oil will reach $150 if such an attack occurred there will be a price spike (anyone remember a BBC docudrama aired over 10 years ago now - I think - that had a terrorist attack on Ras Tanura that resulted in an oil price spike that reached $75 which sent the derivatives market into meltdown? Times have changed, same potential scenario)John Robb wrote:Saudi Arabia knows it is in trouble, that's why the Saudis are trying to buy influence in the west through a cheap oil policy (at the same time, a low price puts the hurt on US frackers and ISIS oil smugglers alike). However, ISIS trumped this effort with Charlie Hebdo. It will be difficult for the Saudis to convince the west they are the real target after the attack in Paris. Here's what this means:
•We're likely to see ISIS make a big push into Saudi Arabia this spring. This push may result in some very, very rapid gains by ISIS as Saudi troops melt away and/or join ISIS. The big question? If ISIS does gain a foothold: do the Saudi's accept foreign troops/airpower at the cost of their legitimacy, or do they go down fighting solo?
•The oil price dip we're currently experiencing will rapidly reverse as soon as it's clear that ISIS is gearing up a real jihad to retake Mecca and Medina. $150 a barrel or more by the end of the year, once this gets going (or much more as it puts all of the gulf aristos in full panic mode simultaneously).
•The rapid swing in oil price will plunge the perpetually stagnant western economies into a simultaneous rout. However, as bad as that will be, it will of little consequence compared to the damage the global financial system will do to us as hundreds of trillions of dollars in explosive financial derivatives topple the ziggurat of western debt we've so foolishly built
Meanwhile one thing to keep in mind is the changing state of its neighbours. Yemen, on its southern border, has seen its president deposed by Houthis - a Shia tribe who are friendly with Iran. It is the rise of a Shia crescent that the ruling Saudi Royal family fear most - remember most of the oilfields in KSA are in the East of the country - this area is predominantly Shia.