Whither Saudi Arabia?

roc_

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The fundamental "problem" with Saudi Arabia is not Islam per se, but the pact between the rapacious and murderous Al Saud clan on the one hand, and the rabidly Wahhabist Al Sheikh clan on the other.

"Muhammad ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab had concluded a formal agreement in 1744: according to one source, Muhammad ibn Saud had declared when they first met:

"This oasis is yours, do not fear your enemies. By the name of God, if all Nejd was summoned to throw you out, we will never agree to expel you." Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab replied, "You are the settlement's chief and wise man. I want you to grant me an oath that you will struggle with me against the unbelievers. In return you will be imam, leader of the Muslim community and I will be leader in religious matters."

Al ash-Sheikh - Wikipedia

This pact, this trade-off of political power and religious power, is unique to Saudi Arabia, and helps explain the radicalization of Islam under that regime.
You may need to bring yourself up to date.

Let's jump forward now 158 years to 1902 when his descendant, another Ibn Saud, the eventual first monarch and founder of Saudi Arabia, or, the "third Saudi state", finally captured Ryad, proclaimed himself regional leader, and then revived the practice of Wahhabi Islam in order to gain acceptance and loyalty from the local Bedouin tribes.

Remember that that situation only lasted until 1927 and the Ikhwan revolt - Ikhwan revolt - Wikipedia

Since then, the Wahhabi clerics, the Ikhwan wahhabi zealots are basically against the government of al Saud.


(Well at least they are against the more moderate faction, the Faisal branch of the Saudi royals, having allies in the Sudairi branch of the Saudi royals who are the powerful conservative opposition within the House of Saud, that significantly control oil and gas production and has strong ties with the influential bin Laden family and so on.)

Speaking of Bin Laden, read his 1996 Fatwa and attack on the Saudi government - https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2010/MVZ203/OBL___AQ__Fatwa_1996.pdf

First question I have for you - who would be more in accord with the above fatwa of Bin Laden's - you and your merry band of ideologues, or the actual existing government of Saudi Arabia?!

Or, when Saudi Arabia’s King issued a royal decree in February, 2014 that punished its citizens who fought in conflicts outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with prison sentences ranging from 3 to 20 years in jail - do you think the Wahhabi clerics would have been pleased about that?

Or even, the new universities that the Saudi government have fostered, that do not segregate students by gender, nor impose a dress code on women. Or, how they are increasingly shielding their business institutions and companies from clerical interference. - How do you think the Wahhabi clerics feel about that?

Listen, I don't like the country and what it does, and what it stands for, and I don't want to come across as defending it. But spouting drivel gleaned from propaganda that singularly fails to elicit the reality is worse, and I note it's becoming ubiquitous. I also note its source and intent.
 


Emily Davison

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That is a strange ruling alright, particularly when you consider that the normal undergarment worn under the white thobe is also white.

I think however that what they are talking about is more, shall we say, contour-hugging apparel - sort of the male equivalent of a yoga pants.
By yoga pants I assume you mean leggings.

Anyway it seems to mean you can't wear tight underpants or boxers.

Why don’t not they ban the importantion and sake of non white tight underpants. Wouldn’t that solve the problem.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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You may need to bring yourself up to date.

Let's jump forward now 158 years to 1902 when his descendant, another Ibn Saud, the eventual first monarch and founder of Saudi Arabia, or, the "third Saudi state", finally captured Ryad, proclaimed himself regional leader, and then revived the practice of Wahhabi Islam in order to gain acceptance and loyalty from the local Bedouin tribes.

Remember that that situation only lasted until 1927 and the Ikhwan revolt - Ikhwan revolt - Wikipedia

Since then, the Wahhabi clerics, the Ikhwan wahhabi zealots are basically against the government of al Saud.


(Well at least they are against the more moderate faction, the Faisal branch of the Saudi royals, having allies in the Sudairi branch of the Saudi royals who are the powerful conservative opposition within the House of Saud, that significantly control oil and gas production and has strong ties with the influential bin Laden family and so on.)

Speaking of Bin Laden, read his 1996 Fatwa and attack on the Saudi government - https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2010/MVZ203/OBL___AQ__Fatwa_1996.pdf

First question I have for you - who would be more in accord with the above fatwa of Bin Laden's - you and your merry band of ideologues, or the actual existing government of Saudi Arabia?!

Or, when Saudi Arabia’s King issued a royal decree in February, 2014 that punished its citizens who fought in conflicts outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with prison sentences ranging from 3 to 20 years in jail - do you think the Wahhabi clerics would have been pleased about that?

Or even, the new universities that the Saudi government have fostered, that do not segregate students by gender, nor impose a dress code on women. Or, how they are increasingly shielding their business institutions and companies from clerical interference. - How do you think the Wahhabi clerics feel about that?

Listen, I don't like the country and what it does, and what it stands for, and I don't want to come across as defending it. But spouting drivel gleaned from propaganda that singularly fails to elicit the reality is worse, and I note it's becoming ubiquitous. I also note its source and intent.
I respect your right to state your opinions, but when you say that I need to "bring myself up to date" I think it behoves me to point out that I have live in Arabia for more than a decade, and I take an interest in the history and politics of the region. I am not an expert, no outsider can ever be, and I still only have a dozen or so words of Arabic, but I do know a few things:

Firstly, among the Sunnis, there is only Wahhibi Islam in KSA. The Ikhwan were the stromtroopers of Ibn Saud in his conquest of the peninsula, and they wanted to spread Wahhabism further afield, but Ibn Saud knew that would incur the wrath of the British and others. He suppressed the Ikhwan and they ceased to be a force in KSA. You should not conflate the Ikhwan with the Al Skeikhs, who are the direct lineal descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab. The Ikhwan may have seen them selves as pure Wahhabists, but they could never claim greater legitimacy than the al Sheikhs. The Ikhwan revolt was therefore a Wahhabi civil war, and the al Saud/alSheikh alliance won decisively.

Secondly, life is too short for reading bin Laden's fatwas or Anders Breivik's manifesto, or any of the other lunatic epistles you care to mention. The choice you offer is meaningless insofar as it asks if I prefer one religious zealot to another. Where is the "no zealot" option?

As for the King's decree in relation to returning jihadists, the al Sauds are happy for the Wahhabists to cause mischief abroad, but bringing it home will not be tolerated, and the al Sheikhs must accept that. This is part of the price that they pay in their bargain with the al Sauds.

Finally, don't assume that the establishment of bubbles of normality within KSA is in any way significant. Tens of thousands of people already live in compounds that are effectively mini-cities, ans have done since the coming of the oil companies, but KSA remains fundamentally conservative and the evidence we have to date is that while MBS is aware of the PR to be gleaned from trivial gestures he is no social reformer.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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Exclusive: Overruling his experts, Pompeo keeps Saudis off U.S....

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter."

"Since the end of 2016, the Saudi-led coalition has deployed as many as 14,000 Sudanese at any given time, including children as young as 14, to fight in Yemen, offering payments of up to $10,000 per recruit, according to the New York Times. The article cited Sudanese fighters who had returned home and Sudanese lawmakers."
 

Hillmanhunter1

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Agnes Callamard has issued her report. It is very damning.

“It is the conclusion of the special rapporteur that Mr Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,”

"There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation, of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s."

"The Saudi investigation into the murder was not conducted in good faith, and might amount to obstructing justice."

 

middleground

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not discuss the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when he met Saudi Arabia's king on Monday, a senior State Department official told journalists travelling with him in the region on Monday.

"It did not" come up, the official said.


Meanwhile the Quads express concern over the Houthis fighting back which is against the rules

https://www.gov.uk/government/latest?world_locations%5B%5D=yemen

Statement on behalf of the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America:
 
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middleground

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The Guardian interviews President Trump in thoughtful mood:

And then there was the interview with NBC News, where he readily admitted that he puts a higher value on arms deals with Saudi Arabia than on American values like democracy and human rights. Totally making America great again.

Pressed by NBC, Trump made it clear that he couldn’t care less about the bone saw-wielding murderers who dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly on the orders of the Saudi crown prince himself. He also couldn’t care about the UN’s recommendations that the FBI investigate the murder of Khashoggi, who was a US resident and wrote for the Washington Post.

Unable to muster any human feeling, Trump couldn’t muster any rational answers either. “I think it’s been heavily investigated,” Trump said. When asked who had done all that heavy investigating, he blurted out: “By everybody … I’ve seen so many different reports.”
 

james toney

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Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will host the next G20 summit, in November 2020.....He has got away with the murder....as countries turn a blind eye.
 

james toney

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"There is an order from Interpol. Interpol demanded you be returned.
We are here to take you," Mutreb is quoted as saying.


Khashoggi responded: "There are no lawsuits against me. My fiancee is waiting outside for me."

In the last 10 minutes before he was killed, Mutreb asked Khashoggi to "leave a message for your son", saying not to worry if he could not reach the journalist.

When Khashoggi refused, Mutreb said: "
Write it, Mister Jamal. Hurry up. Help us so we can help you, because in the end we will take you back to Saudi Arabia and if you don't help us you know what will happen eventually."
 

Hillmanhunter1

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The Houthi attacks on Saudi oil installations are hugely significant for a number of reasons:

Firstly, if reports of the scale of the damage are true then a significant part of Saudi production will be offline for a while. We will have to wait until markets open tomorrow, but CNBC is speculating that a $10 per barrel rise is possible:
Oil could rise $10 per barrel after drone attack forces Saudi to cut output in half

Staying with the economic impact, the floatation of Aramco has, with this attack, become an even more distant prospect, and with it the plans to develop the Saudi economy away from total reliance on oil are now in tatters.

Thirdly, the Saudi leadership can no longer hide the effects of the disastrous foray into Yemen from their own people, they can not pretend that anything is going to plan. Using Google Translate on local Saudi media:
"His Highness pointed out that this terrorist act resulted in the temporary suspension of production operations at Abqaiq and Khurais plants. According to preliminary estimates, these explosions led to the interruption of a quantity of crude oil supplies estimated at 5.7 million barrels, or about 50% of the company's production. Part of the decline will be compensated for its customers through stocks. "
وزير الطاقة: الهجمات الإرهابية نتج عنها توقف بشكل مؤقت في عمليات الإنتاج
The war in Yemen is unpopular, bloody and expensive. This attack will focus greater questioning of the wisdom of this adventure.

The next concern, from a Saudi perspective, is where will the next attack target, and what can be done about it. I am not a military or engineering expert, but clearly these "drones" are more like missiles than the toy drones used for photography - why didn't the Saudi air defense system shoot them down? The Saudis currently use American equipment but will they, like so many others, now accelerate plans to buy the apparently superior Russian S400 system?

Finally, in a monarchical system, all power and thus all responsibility resides with the regent. Mohammed bin Salman has now reigned over a cacophony of self-inflicted disasters:
- The kidnapping and torture of the princes and businessmen;
- The kidnapping of Hariri;
- The blockade of Qatar;
- The butchering of Khashoggi; and
- The disaster in Yemen (including a clear breakdown of relations with erstwhile ally the UAE).

MbS runs the risk of being seen by the Al Saud clan as a liability. Wiser heads may begin to think that getting rid of him would solve a lot of problems.
 
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owedtojoy

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MBS has been a disaster ... the torture-murder of Khashoggi has bee only one of a number of miscalculations, now the Yemen quagmire is coming home to roost.

But the Saudi Prince still has American backing in the form of Donald Trump, who has vetoed attempts to distance the US from the Yemen imbroglio. Trump seems to see Saudi Arabia as a sugar-daddy supporter of the American arms industry.

This attack poses a massive problem for both the Saudis and the Americans. Retaliatory airstrikes would lead to a general Middle East War, and now that John Bolton is gone, the US does not want that either.

Trump should have reined in the Saudis far sooner. Now he is in a trap of his own making. Backing down looks weak, ordering airstrikes in a knee-jerk fashion leads into a cul-de-sac.
 

Golah veNekhar

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toughbutfair

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The Guardian interviews President Trump in thoughtful mood:

And then there was the interview with NBC News, where he readily admitted that he puts a higher value on arms deals with Saudi Arabia than on American values like democracy and human rights. Totally making America great again.

Pressed by NBC, Trump made it clear that he couldn’t care less about the bone saw-wielding murderers who dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly on the orders of the Saudi crown prince himself. He also couldn’t care about the UN’s recommendations that the FBI investigate the murder of Khashoggi, who was a US resident and wrote for the Washington Post.

Unable to muster any human feeling, Trump couldn’t muster any rational answers either. “I think it’s been heavily investigated,” Trump said. When asked who had done all that heavy investigating, he blurted out: “By everybody … I’ve seen so many different reports.”
ITs not america’s Issue. Let the Saudis do what they want in their country and one murder of one journalist isn’t enough to screw up an international relationship. Business is business, oil for money/arms . Trump is correct on this.
 

middleground

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ITs not america’s Issue. Let the Saudis do what they want in their country and one murder of one journalist isn’t enough to screw up an international relationship. Business is business, oil for money/arms . Trump is correct on this.
So you advocate looking the other way when Sergei Skripal may have been poisoned and Jamal Khasoggi was dismembered?
 

Hillmanhunter1

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ITs not america’s Issue. Let the Saudis do what they want in their country and one murder of one journalist isn’t enough to screw up an international relationship. Business is business, oil for money/arms . Trump is correct on this.
I don't agree with the idea that what goes on within national boundaries is their own business (genocides have been committed within national boundaries) but in the case of Saudi Arabia we are talking about egregious behavior abroad on so many fronts, e.g.:

  • The pursuit of a war of aggression in Yemen, including allegations of War Crimes;
  • the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon;
  • The murder of Khashoggi in Turkey;
  • The overthrow of the democratically elected (like it or not) President of Egypt, replacing him with a military dictator;
  • The suppression by military means of the rights of Bahrain's Shia majority;
  • The spiriting out of the USA of Saudi citizens bailed and awaiting trial.

The Al Sauds are a law unto themselves. Saudi Arabia is not a state along the lines of the Westphalian model. It is an absolute monarchy ruling by divine right. As constituted, it will never be a normal country.
 
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toughbutfair

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I don't agree with the idea that what goes on within national boundaries is their own business (genocides have been committed within national boundaries) but in the case of Saudi Arabia we are talking about egregious behavior abroad on so many fronts, e.g.:
  • The pursuit of a war of aggression in Yemen, including allegations of War Crimes;
  • the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon;
  • The murder of Khashoggi in Turkey;
  • The overthrow of the democratically elected (like it or not) President of Egypt, replacing him with a military dictator;
  • The suppression by military means of the rights of Bahrain's Shia majority;
True, However:
(1) Yemen is extremely Islamic, no friend of ours.
(2) I don’t know enough to comment
(3) one person isn’t worth the upheaval of energy supplies
(4) Egypt is no friend and of no strategic importance
(5) I don’t know enough.

Let Saudi and Iran fight over that part of the world. Our only concern is that neither get nuclear weapons.
 


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