10 March 2020   Leave a comment

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (often referred to as MbS) is consolidating his control over the Saudi government by arresting other royals he suspects of disloyalty. The Crown Prince is a close friend of Jared Kushner, US President Trump’s son-in-law, and when he became Crown Prince he was hailed as a reforming modernizer. But The Guardian has published an editorial by Madawi al-Rasheed casting doubts on that characterization:

“Though the prince built his reputation as a young moderniser, garnering favour among the western media as a monarch who could free Saudi Arabia from the shackles of religious conservatism, economic stagnation and a state-controlled economy, his idea of progress was always two-faced. Prince Mohammed allowed women to drive while presiding over the arrests of women’s rights activists and the criminalisation of feminism. He promised religious reforms and social liberalisation while detaining hundreds of religious scholars, activists and intellectuals.

“The young prince silenced debates inside the kingdom and pursued his critics abroad. The brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the final stroke in shattering his international reputation, while his decision to pursue a disastrous war in Yemen has embarrassed his western allies, which continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.”

bin Salman does not have a lot to brag about. His boycott of Qatar its close relationship to Iran has not led to any change of policy by Qatar. The war in Yemen, which he initiated, has been an unmitigated disaster, both politically and morally. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has left an indelible stain on his regime. And his most recent move, initiating an oil price war with Russia and the US shale oil producers, will place incredible strains on the Saudi government budget. The purge in many respects reflects the weakness of his regime.

Posted March 10, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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