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Chitchat What happened in Saudi Arabia in the last 3 days ?

Discussion in 'The Courtyard Café' started by scroobal, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. yinyang

    yinyang Alfrescian (Inf)

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    In a nutshell..

    Here's Who Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
    Purged to Pave the Way to Power

    By Ian Bremmer
    November 10, 2017

    Pulling off a successful political purge is no easy feat—particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the lines dividing royalty, politics, security, media and business are indelibly blurred. Here are five different groups targeted by soon-to-be-king Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS) this week as he prepares to ascend the Saudi throne:

    1.
    His family
    Family comes first—even in purges.The Al Saud family, the namesake of the country, spans 6 family tree branches and approximately 15,000 royals; all told, the House of Saud is believed to be worth upwards of $1 trillion. And while the 32-year old crown prince has been heralded across Western media as an ambitious and reform-minded upstart, not everyone in the royal family shares that view, particularly its more conservative members. Hence, at least 11 princes were rounded up over the weekend, many of them among the kingdom’s most powerful royals.

    Complicating matters is the ever-changing Saudi line of succession. The current King Salman is the son of Abdulaziz ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. For the last six decades, the crown had been handed off between Abdulaziz’s sons; MBS will be Abdulaziz’s first grandson to ascend to power, a long-delayed generational jump that was always bound to pack drama.

    2. Government ministers
    It’s true that MBS is a genuine reformer, but practical concerns have forced his hand as well. The Saudis have spent decades lavishing its citizens with welfare benefits to keep political dissent to an absolute minimum. That’s no longer possible with oil prices hovering around the $60 mark. But MBS has a plan—Vision 2030, penned with the help of management consultants from McKinsey and other firms. It’s an ambitious overhaul of the world’s 20th largest economy, and the diversification away from oil includes a 5% sale of Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state oil giant that’s valued by Riyadh at $2 trillion. The hope was that the sale would raise $100 billion, but that’s always been seen as overly optimistic estimate—the figure is likely closer to $65 billion.

    Now even that is thrown into question with the arrest of State Minister and Aramco board member Ibrahim Al-Assaf. Minister of Economy and Planning Adel bin Mohammed Faqih was also taken into custody this weekend. In total, at least 38 past, current and deputy ministers have been detained in what’s been framed as an anti-corruption drive (though it’s still too early to tell if that’s actually the case). If you’re going to overhaul an entire economy, you may as well start with a clean slate.

    3. Military leaders
    It’s entirely possible that the ministers controlling key parts of the Saudi economy were arrested less because they posed a direct threat to MBS and more because they disagreed about the direction of economic reforms. There’s no question that the arrests of Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed al Sultan, commander of the Kingdom’s naval forces, and Prince Mitaab bin Abdullah, Minister of the National Guard, were intended to ensure a monopoly of power for MBS.

    The crown prince has been defense minister of the Kingdom since 2015, and the National Guard was the last security force that remained outside his control. Mitaab was the one person inside the government who could’ve posed a serious challenge to MBS. That’s no longer a worry.

    4. The religious establishment
    Taking on military leaders is the most traditional component of the crown prince’s purge. But taking on the religious establishment is the most radical.

    The Saudi Kingdom has a rather complicated relationship with Wahabism, a fundamentalist version of Islam. Briefly, the al Saud tribe needed the followers of Muhammed ibn al-Wahhab to help transform them from just another regional tribe on the Arabian peninsula to the dominant force we know today, first to fight alongside them and then to help create and maintain a Saudi civil society.

    But the relationship has always been uneasy—whereas Saudi rulers had wanted to engage with the world, Wahhabists shunned modernity as heretical. That became a particular problem once Saudi oil made the kingdom a magnet for foreign investors. For decades, it was an uneasy peace.

    That’s about to change. It began with MBS’s announcement two months ago that the Saudi Kingdom would begin issuing driver’s licenses to females. He’s gone further, forbidding the Saudi religious police from arresting Saudi citizens, and he has begun to modernize the Saudi Council for Hadith rulings, which regulates the daily behaviors of devout Muslims. He was also sure to sweep up dozens of hardline clerics in this week’s purge.

    5. Business leaders
    Of course, a successful purge doesn’t mean just removing those with formal powers. As with all political power plays, there’s a crucial PR component involved. And if you’re going to control the narrative, you have to control the ones telling that narrative—hence the arrests of Waleed al-Ibrahim, chairman of the MBC media group. Relatedly, the former CEO of the Saudi Telecom Company, Saud al-Dawish, was also detained over the weekend.

    But there was no more surprising arrest than that of billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal — a cousin of MBS who is perhaps Saudi Arabia’s most renowned international investor, with significant stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup. It was particularly surprising given Alwaleed support of MBS’ general reform push and moderation of Islam, both in private and in public. It’s that last part that may have been his undoing—in 2017 Saudi Arabia, there’s only one mouthpiece for liberalizing social, culture and religion in Saudi society, and that’s the one about to ascend the throne.

    If nothing else, the purge shows MBS has the ambition necessary to transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a modern, diversified 21st century economy. Now comes the hard part—executing on those ambitions.

    http://time.com/5018012/saudi-purge-mohammed-bin-salman/

     
  2. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  3. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    They have a way of making even the staunchest anti-Hezbollah Lebanese rise up against the disgusting rhetoric they’re throwing at us, the insults they’re hurling our way, and the utter disregard to the sanctity of Lebanon as a country in everything they do. It is high time we stand up as a country to being bullied and say that will happen no more. Give us back our prime minister, fight your proxy wars elsewhere, and leave us the fuck alone. We’re a country of 4 million strong who have been through hell and back, whose skin is thicker than yours will ever be, and who are sick of your bullshit in their daily lives for the past 30 years.

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  4. yinyang

    yinyang Alfrescian (Inf)

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  5. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  6. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  7. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  8. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Robert Fisk article is penetrating and insightful. Looking very serious for Lebanon in nearly every front. They are no position to move in any direction let alone negotiate from any position of strength.
     
  9. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Here is a look back on moves by Saudi Arabia

    1. 23rd Jan 2015 - King Abdullah dies, Salman his brother takes the throne, Salman's son Mohammed (MBS) becomes youngest Minister of Defence.
    2. 29th Jan 2015 - MBS named economic Czar
    3. April 2015 - MBS given full control of Saudi Armco

    1st Front
    4. 26th Mar 2015 - 3 mths Saudi leads a 9 country coalition and enters Yemen conflict. Its full military operation.

    2nd Front
    5. 5th June 2017 - Qatar boycott commences with Saudi led 4 country coalition imposes blockade
    6. 21st June 2017 - MBS is named Crown Prince

    3rd Front
    7. 4th Nov 2017 - Internal purge begins with arrest of 49 in the first wave including 11 Princes.

    4th Front
    8. 4th Nov 2017 - Lebanon PM announces his resignation from Riyadh

    Looks like we have a 32 year kid who is playing the board game Risk for the first time. Opened 3 separate fronts in 5 months and 2 on the same day. His father is either over confident of his son or has lost his marbles. And he is driving the Saudi Aramco IPO.
     
  10. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    More detailed:

    09 November 2017: The US refuses to reveal details of a meeting held between its chargé d’affaires in Saudi Arabia and former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

    09 November 2017: The United Arab Emirates planned to wage a financial war against Qatar by targeting the country’s currency ‘using bonds and derivatives manipulation’, leaked emails revealed by the Intercept show

    09 November 2017: Saudi Arabia advises its citizens against travelling to Lebanon and asks those in the country to leave as soon as possible, the Kingdom’s official news agency (SPA) reports

    09 November 2017: Lebanon believes Saad Hariri is held in Saudi Arabia and unable to return. Lebanon’s former prime minister, said to be worth $1.1 billion has not left the Kingdom since he resigned from there on Saturday

    09 November 2017: Saudi Arabia’s attorney-general says 208 people have been called in for questioning in a sweeping anti-corruption investigation, and seven of them have been released without charge, ‘we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement’

    08 November 2017: Princess Reem, daughter of Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal who was detained on Saturday, becomes the first female to be arrested

    07 November 2017: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman personally bribed Donald Trump with $1 billion during the US president’s visit to Riyadh in May, an anonymous Saudi commentator, who uses the Twitter handle Mujtahidd, claims

    07 November 2017: Saudi Arabia bans Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, his two sons, ministers and military personnel from returning to Aden due to ‘bitter hostility between Hadi and the UAE’ which setup the Southern Transitional Council in the south of Yemen in opposition to Hadi’s rule

    07 November 2017: The UAE releases a song called ‘Tell Qatar’, a collaboration between a number of high profile Emirati artists and those who live in the country

    09 November 2017: News emerges that earlier this week the UAE instructed its banks and finance companies to provide information on the accounts of 19 Saudi citizens detained by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. They were not ordered to freeze the accounts

    08 November 2017: The number of accounts frozen rises to 1,700 including the assets of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef are amongst those frozen in the government’s ‘anti-corruption’ crackdown

    08 November 2017: Billionaire businessman Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi is found to be one of those arrested. Al-Amoudi is the main foreign investor in Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam. Thought to be worth $10.9 billion, he gave the government $88 million to start the project

    08 November 2017: The Wall Street Journal reports that Saudi Arabia’s ‘anti-corruption’ crackdown may see the government seize up to $800 billion in cash and assets

    07 November 2017: Yemen’s Houthi armed group offer asylum to anyone affected by Saudi Arabia’s ‘anti-corruption’ campaign. ‘We are ready to offer sanctuary to any member of Al Saud family or any national that wants to flee oppression and persecution,’ they have said

    07 November 2017: Sources reveal that helicopter carrying Saudi Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin and seven other people was deliberately targeted by state forces because it is believed Bin Muqrin opposed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s succession to the throne

    07 November 2017: Saudi’s ‘anti-corruption’ drive will boost sustainable development in the Kingdom, the Saudi Cabinet says

    07 November 2017: Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visits the UAE

    07 November 2017: Saudi Arabian banks freeze more than 1,200 accounts belonging to individuals and companies in the Kingdom, bankers and lawyers say

    06 November 2017: News is released that a no-fly list has been drawn up and security forces in some Saudi airports were barring owners of private jets from taking off without a permit

    05 November 2017: Deputy Governor of Saudi Arabia’s southern Asir province, Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin, and seven other people including senior government officials and a mayor are killed in a helicopter crash near Yemen. The Prince is said to be a critic of Bin Salman’s leadership

    05 November 2017: Saudi Arabia denies that the princes and former ministers who were arrested are receiving special treatment because of their titles as news emerges that they are being held at the five star Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh

    04 November 2017: During a trip to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigns citing an assassination attempt against him and accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world

    04 November 2017: 11 Princes and four current ministers scores of officials are arrested as part of the new ‘anti-corruption’ drive; they include international investor Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal who is worth nearly $17 billion according to Forbes magazine

    04 November 2017: Head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, and Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Bin Mohammed Fakeih, are both sacked as part of a Cabinet reshuffle.

    04 November 2017: A royal decree is issued calling for the formation of an ‘anti-corruption committee’ headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salam. The new body has the power to seize assets of suspects at home and abroad before the results of its investigations are known

    28 October 2017: Saudi Arabia launches a $500 billion mega-city to encompass 50 islands on the Red Sea called NEOM which it hopes will be a tourism hub24 October 2017: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman vows to eradicate Wahabism in the Kingdom and encourage ‘moderate Islam’

    03 October 2017: Somalia receives $50 million in new aid from Saudi Arabia

    26 September 2017: Women in Saudi Arabia will legally be allowed to obtain driving licences from June next year, following a decree issued by King Salman

    18 September 2017: Al Jazeera Media Network’s denounced Snapchat’s decision to pull the plug on its channel at the request of the Saudi government. The social media giant’s ‘alarming’ move sent a message that countries could silence dissenting views by pressuring social media and content distribution companies, Al Jazeera says

    11 September 2017: Prominent Saudi religious leader Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda becomes the second cleric to be arrested by Saudi authorities after Awad Al-Qarni is held. No reason is given for the arrested and neither is charged

    4 September 2017: Saudi Arabia’s Rotana record company releases a song called ‘Teach Qatar’, a collaboration between a number of high profile Saudi artists and those who live in the country

    22 August 2017: Qatar slams Saudi as despite granting Qatari pilgrims the rite of Hajj, they are only permitted to use Saudi airlines

    17 August 2017: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman offers to host Qatari pilgrims at his expense

    17 August 2017: GCC cancel Gulf volleyball championship as they were to be hosted by Qatar

    17 August 2017: Qatar welcomes Saudi decision to open borders to pilgrims

    16 August 2017: Saudi Arabia to open Salwa border point to Qatari pilgrims for Hajj

    16 August 2017: Saudi state TV sparks outrage after producing a video saying it can ‘shoot down Qatari passenger flights’

    31 July 2017: Qatar filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organisation to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s WTO representative Ali Alwaleed Al-Thani told Reuters

    31 July 2017: Qatar slams ‘false’ reports from Saudi that it is preventing its citizens from completing pilgrimage this year

    31 July 2017: Qatar is trying to politicise the Hajj pilgrimage according to Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir

    30 July 2017: The head of Iraq’s Shia Sadrist Movement, Moqtada Al-Sadr, visits Saudi Arabia for the first time in 11 years

    22 July 2017: Saudi Arabia pays $138,000 for anti-Qatar adverts to be aired in the US in an attempt to alter public opinion

    19 July 2017: Gulf boycott countries abandon their 13 demands in favour of six principles in order to end the crisis with Qatar

    17 July 2017: Qatar felt ‘obliged’ to join the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, but its troops only patrolled the Saudi-Yemen borders and did not partake in any strikes in Yemen

    10 July 2017: Saudi Arabia allows the Qatari officials who used to serve in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s Secretariat General to return to the Kingdom

    9 July 2017: News reports reveal that Saudi Arabia tried to pressure Iraq to join the boycott of Qatar

    4 July 2017: Kuwaiti sources reveal Qatar’s response to the list of demands saying Doha has agreed to reduce its relations with Iran ‘if all the Gulf countries commit to doing so’

    2 July 2017: Saudi Arabia and its allies give Qatar a further 48 hours to respond to their demands

    29 June 2017: A Saudi official denies a New York Times report that Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef has been confined to his palace and barred from travelling after he was replaced by the King’s son as next in line to the throne.

    27 June 2017: Kuwait bans religious leaders which were included on a list of terrorists – as designated by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt – from entering its territory

    26 June 2017: Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he would block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other members of the GCC pending progress in resolving a simmering dispute with Qatar

    25 June 2017: Turkey says demands by Saudi Arabia and three other nations are ‘an attack to Qatar’s sovereignty right’

    24 June 2017: Qatar says demands made by Saudi and the UAE to end the Gulf rift are not realistic and are ‘unacceptable’

    22 June 2017: A list of 13 demands are handed to Qatar in order for the boycott to end and negotiations to begin. They include shutting down Al Jazeera and a number of other news sites, and handing over members of the Muslim Brotherhood

    21 June 2017: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is promoted to crown prince, replacing his cousin in a sudden announcement that confirms King Salman’s 31-year-old son as next ruler of the Kingdom

    20 June 2017: US says it is ‘mystified’ by the actions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE against Qatar as no demands have yet been made

    19 June 2017: The state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) assigned the London-based law firm Carter-Ruck to file an official complaint with Ofcom, UK’s broadcasting and communications regulator, against the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel and Sky News Arabia for ‘violating impartiality code and accuracy in news’ sourcing’

    16 June 2017: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain affirm that their recent moves to diplomatically isolate Qatar are within their rights to protect their ‘national security’

    12 June 2017: Somali President, Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo, refuses $80 million offered to him by Saudi Arabia to partake in the boycott of Qatar

    9 June 2017: Saudi Arabia threatens hotels and tourism centres with $27,000 fines if they air Al Jazeera

    9 June 2017: The Saudi-backed Muslim World League announces the suspension of Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi’s membership in its Islamic Fiqh Academy

    9 June 2017: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt release a list of people and organisations with alleged links to Qatar which they designate as ‘terrorists’, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef Al-Qaradawi

    7 June 2017: The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas both reject claims by Saudi Arabia that they are ‘terrorist organisations’

    7 June 2017: Qatar begins using Somali airspace after Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring countries ban its national carrier, Qatar Airways

    7 June 2017: The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC received nearly $270,000 as part of the Saudi government’s payments to lobby groups which work to further Riyadh’s interests in the United States

    6 June 2017: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, says Qatar must end its support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to restore ties with other Arab states

    5 June 2017: For the first time in history, a Saudi journalist is interviewed on Israeli TV and says: ‘There is no place for Hamas in the Middle East’

    5 June 2017: Saudi Arabia shuts Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel’s office in the Kingdom

    5 June 2017: The Yemeni government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi severs ties with Qatar. The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting to restore his power over the country since 2015.

    5 June 2017: Qatar says it is the victim of “incitement… based on lies”

    5 June 2017: Saudi expels Qatar from its coalition leading the war on Yemen

    5 June 2017: Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt announce they will sever ties with Qatar. Qatari diplomats are given 48 hours to return to their country while Qatari nationals and visitors are told to pack up and leave within two weeks

    3 June 2017: UAE ambassador to the US Yousef Al-Otaiba’s email account is hacked revealing links between Al-Otaiba and a pro-Israel think-tank in Washington. The official is found to be urging the US to move its military base out of Qatar which he says sponsors ‘terrorism’

    25 May 2017: Ministers from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agree to extend the existing production cuts to nine months, from the six months which had previously been approved

    24 May 2017: Saudi, Egypt and UAE block sites belonging to Qatar including Al Jazeera

    24 May 2017: Qatari News Agency hacked and remarks attributed to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani published which criticise US foreign policy

    22 May 2017: US President Donald Trump takes the first official direct flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Tel Aviv, Israel

    20 May 2017: The US and Saudi Arabia reach a $110 billion-plus arms deal, the White House announces

    5 December 2016: Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives in Doha in an attempt to strengthen ties between the two countries

    1 December 2016: The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to curb production for the first time since 2008 the bulk of the cut will be shouldered by Saudi Arabia, while Iran has been allowed to increase its output to levels before it was hit by Western sanctions

    2 January 2016: Saudi Arabia announces the execution of 47 people, including prominent Shia cleric Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr, over terrorism charges

    March 2015: Qatar joins military intervention launched by Saudi Arabia in Yemen to reinstate President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and push back military advancements from the Iranian-backed Houthi group

    September 2015: Qatar deploys 1,000 ground troops to fight in Yemen, including 200 armoured vehicles, and 30 Apache helicopters to Maarib province
     
  11. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  12. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Patriarch Beshara al-Rai heads the Maronite church, which has a presence in Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus and follows an Eastern rite of the Roman Catholic church. Maronites number about 900,000 in Lebanon, around a quarter of the population.
    An official visit to Saudi Arabia by such a senior non-Muslim cleric is a rare act of religious openness for the kingdom, which hosts the holiest sites in Islam and bans the practice of other religions but says it wants to open up more to the world.



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  13. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  14. yinyang

    yinyang Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Lebanese PM Hariri's tense and tearful TV interview aiming to put to rest the widespread belief that he is being held against his will in the Saudi capital after quitting as Lebanese Prime Minister last week. o_O

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  15. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    I am beginning to wonder with the historical invite to Maronite Prelate and the move to moderate Islam together with what has transpired in recent months and days is driven by a sense of urgency in view of King Salman's age. It is unlikely as the son of the Ibn Saud that forces within will depose him.

    MBS is first of the grandson to eventually take the throne and same anchors that kept the previous Kings who were all sons are not strong enough.
     
  16. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    I would like to see this guy in Lebanon in the next 2 days as he suggested. I have my doubts.

     
  17. Kotekbengkok

    Kotekbengkok Alfrescian Old Timer

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    In all this, is MBS underestimating the potential of the Saudi clergy to come alive and derail his plans, even though he may think he has them under control? The Muslim clergy have shown in history to have this resilience and innate ability to revive themselves just when everyone thinks they have been sidelined . It reminds me of the Shah of Iran in 1979. He too thought that the USA and allies had his back. He too thought that clergy had been tamed. The swiftness with which the Ayotollah and the clergy took power caught many by surprise. My layman view is that the potential of this happening in KSA is more real. After all, that's where the seat of Islam is and MBS is moving far too quickly with his supposed "modernisation" program. Just like how USA unwittingly created the path for the Ayotollah's return, USA's open support for the new regime in KSA; could there be a similar, charismatic clergy figure lurking in the shadows to join forces with the many enemies MBS recently created, to turn the tables and make the triumphant return to save KSA from the infidel MBS! It will take the KSA back to square one and the USA in the same position it was in 1979 with Iran.



     
  18. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    A very poignant and valid observation but the manner in which this has unfolded suggests that it has already been factored in - don't overlook that as much as MBS harks onto how the 1979 revolution led to their counter-reaction, the other significant event is the seizure of Mecca which occurred during November and December 1979 when extremist insurgents calling for the overthrow of the House of Saud took over Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The insurgents declared that the Mahdi (the "redeemer of Islam") had arrived in the form of one of their leaders – Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani – and called on Muslims to obey him. For nearly two weeks Saudi Special Forces, assisted by Pakistani and French commandos,fought pitched battles to reclaim the compound. The seizure was led by Juhayman al-Otaybi, a member of an influential family in Najd (still regarded as one of the strictest observers of Islam in KSA) said that his justification for the siege was that the House of Saud had lost its legitimacy through corruption and imitation of the West, an echo of his father's charge in 1921 against former Saudi king Ibn Saud. Unlike earlier anti-monarchist dissidents in the kingdom, Juhayman attacked the wahhabi ulama for failing to protest against policies that (he believed) betrayed Islam, and accused them of accepting the rule of an infidel state and offering loyalty to corrupt rulers in "exchange for honours and riches."

    The movement against the Shah had started in Aug 1978 and he left Iran in January 1979, Khomeini returning in Feb 1979 and the referandum for the establishment of the Islamic Republic taking place in April 1979. The Iran-Iraq War then broke out in Sep 1980.

    Arguably it is moot that the Saudis adapted a stricter view of Islam as a reaction to the Islamic Republic because the turning point really seems to be the seizure of Mecca.
     
  19. JohnTan

    JohnTan Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    While Mecca is the symbol of islam, it is by no means the heart of islam in arabia. In a deeply centralized country like KSA, the heart of the country is in city hall, its capital city. Take that, and the entire country is yours. That's how coups work in every third world country, from chinkland to iran to any banana republic in africa.

    The radicals in Dec 1979 were better off trying to take over riyadh than mecca. All they did was to gain their 15 minutes of fame while the central saudi government gained enough time to rally enough troops to have them encircled and eventually prised out of the shrine.

     
  20. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Not really - they needed the French commandos to do that.. symbolically as the Ruler is the Guardian of the Two Mosques and their fight was based on religious themes primarily, it was a much more potent than Riyadh which always has had bad traffic...

    In fact the militants, who numbered close to 500, were well armed, their weapons, hD been stashed gradually in the days and weeks before the assault in small chambers beneath the Mosque. They were prepared to lay siege to the mosque for a long time.
    The siege lasted two weeks, though it did not end before a bloodbath in underground chambers where militants had retreated with hundreds of hostages. In Mecca, Saudi authorities considered attacking the hold-outs without regard for the hostages. Instead, Prince Turki, the youngest son of King Faisal and the man in charge of reclaiming the Grand Mosque, summoned a French secret service officer, Count Claude Alexandre de Marenches, who recommended that the hold-outs be gassed unconscious.

    A team of three French commandos from the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN) arrived in Mecca. Because of the prohibition against non-Muslims entering the holy city, they converted to Islam in a brief, formal ceremony. The commandos pumped gas into the underground chambers, but perhaps because the rooms were so bafflingly interconnected, the gas failed and the resistance continued.
    With casualties climbing, Saudi forces drilled holes into the courtyard and dropped grenades into the rooms below, indiscriminately killing many hostages but driving the remaining rebels into more open areas where they could be picked off by sharpshooters. More than two weeks after the assault began, the surviving rebels finally surrendered.



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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017

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