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Issue #1715      January 20, 2016

Towards the collapse of Saudi Arabia

In one year, the new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman, 25th son of the founder of the dynasty, has managed to consolidate his personal authority to the detriment of other branches of his family, including the clan of Prince Bandar ben Sultan and that of the old King Abdallah. However, we don’t know what Washington has promised the losers in order to dissuade them from making attempts to regain their lost power. In any case, certain anonymous letters published in the British Press lead us to believe that they have not abandoned their ambitions.

Forced by his brothers to nominate Prince Mohamad ben Nayef as heir, King Salman quickly isolated him and restricted his powers to the advantage of his own son, Prince Mohammed ben Salman, whose reckless and brutal nature is not restrained by the family Council, which no longer meets. De facto, he and his father govern alone, as autocrats with no counter-power, in a country which has never elected a parliament, and where political parties are forbidden.

In terms of its interior policy, the régime favours only the Sunni or Wahhabi half of the population, and discriminates against the other half. Prince Mohammed ben Salman advised his father to have Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr decapitated because he had dared to defy him. In other words, the state condemned to death and executed the leader of the opposition, whose only crime was to have formulated and repeated the slogan – “Despotism is illegitimate”. The fact that this leader was a Sheikh of the Shia movement only reinforces the feeling of apartheid against non-Sunnis, who are forbidden a religious education, and also forbidden to enter into public service. As for non-Muslims, about a third of the population, they are not allowed to practise their religion and can not hope to receive Saudi nationality.

On the international level, Prince Mohammed and his father, King Salman, are implementing policies based on those of the Bedouin tribes of the kingdom. This is the only way of understanding both their continued financing of the Afghani Taliban and the Lebanese Movement of the Future, the Saudi repression of the Revolution in Bahreïn.

Incidentally, we should note that the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr follows the creation of a vast anti-terrorist Coalition of 34 states led by Riyadh. Since we know that the victim, who always stood against the use of violence, was convicted for acts of “terrorism”, we may conclude that this Coalition is in fact a Sunni alliance against all other religions.

Prince Mohammed took it upon himself to launch the war against Yemen on the pretext of helping President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who had been overthrown by an alliance between the al-Houthi movement and the army of ex-President Ali Abdallah Saleh. In reality, the war was waged in order to seize the oil fields and exploit them with Israel. Predictably, the war went wrong, and the insurgents launched incursions inside Saudi Arabia, where the army fled, abandoning its equipment.

Saudi Arabia is therefore the only state in the world which is the property of a single man, governed by this autocrat and his son, who refuse any form of ideological debate, who will not tolerate any form of opposition, and who accept only tribal serfdom. What has for many years been considered a residue of the past called to adapt to the modern world has thus progressively congealed until it has become the very definition of an anachronistic kingdom.

The fall of the House of Saud may be provoked by a reduction in the price of oil. Incapable of reform, the kingdom is borrowing hand over fist, to the point that according to financial analysts, it will probably collapse within two years.

The decapitation of Sheikh al-Nimr will have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The fall of Saudi Arabia is now inevitable because there is no hope left for the people who live there. The country will be plunged into a mixture of tribal revolts and social revolutions which will be far more murderous than the previous Middle-Eastern conflicts.

Far from acting to prevent this tragic end, the US protectors of the kingdom are awaiting it with impatience. They continually praise Prince Mohammed’s “wisdom”, as if encouraging him to make even more mistakes.

The US objective is now to divide the country into five states. Wahhabism is the state religion, but the power of the Saud family, both interior and exterior, depends exclusively on Sunni tribes, while it subjects all other populations to apartheid. King Salman (80 years old) leaves the exercise of power to one of his children, Prince Mohammed (30 years old.) The Prince has seized control of the country’s major companies, has declared war on Yemen, and has just executed the leader of the opposition, Sheikh al-Nimr.

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