Wheels And Deals: Trouble Is Brewing In The House Of Saud, by Pepe Escobar

The first returns on 32-year-old Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman are not promising. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Saudi women being allowed to drive is a smokescreen – Salafi-jihadism is alive and well inside the Kingdom. What’s more, another coup may be along shortly

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on September 20, 2017, shows King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud speaking during a ceremony welcoming the Saudi national football team to the Royal Palace in Jeddah. Photo: AFP / Saudi Royal Palace

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on September 20, 2017, shows King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud speaking during a ceremony welcoming the Saudi national football team to the Royal Palace in Jeddah. Photo: AFP / Saudi Royal Palace

Suddenly, the ideological matrix of all strands of Salafi-jihadism is being hailed by the West as a model of progress – because Saudi women will finally be allowed to drive. Only next year. Only some women. And still subject to many restrictions.

What’s certain is that the timing of the announcement – which comes after years of liberal American pressure – was calculated with precision, arriving only a few days before House of Saud capo King Salman drops in for a chat at Trump’s White House. The soft power move was coordinated by the 32-year-old Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, the Destroyer of Yemen; the king merely added his signature.

The diversionary tactic masks serious trouble in the court. A Gulf business source with intimate knowledge of the House of Saud, having held a number of personal meetings with members, told Asia Times that “the Fahd, Nayef, and Abdullah families, the descendants of King Abdulaziz al Saud and his wife Hassa bin Ahmed al-Sudairi, are forming an alliance against the ascendancy to the Kingship of the Crown Prince.”

No wonder, considering that the ousted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef – highly regarded in the Beltway, especially Langley – is under house arrest. His massive web of agents at the Interior Ministry has largely been “relieved of their authority”. The new Interior Minister is Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 34, the eldest son of the governor of the country’s largely Shi’ite Eastern Province, where all the oil is. Curiously, the father is now reporting to his son. MBS is surrounded by inexperienced thirty-something princes, and alienating just about everyone else.

To continue reading: Wheels And Deals: Trouble Is Brewing In The House Of Saud

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