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Thread: Saudi Arabia Under Siege: Is the Kingdom Quietly Crumbling?

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    Saudi Arabia Under Siege: Is the Kingdom Quietly Crumbling?

    Something is rotten in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also known as MbS, was once the promising young face of the Arab monarchy. Now he’s racking up foreign-policy defeats abroad—and facing disturbing murmurs at home.

    Over the weekend, Houthi rebels took down a Saudi-mechanized column along the border with Yemen, capturing hundreds of soldiers. Then, the mysterious murder of a royal bodyguard set off alarm bells inside the kingdom.

    With his problems closing in, the crown prince may try one last gambit: a pivot from Washington to Tehran. But it’s risky, and he doesn’t have much room to maneuver.

    “Various Saudis I've spoken to raise the possibility that what is happening could be at the hands of elements inside the Saudi government that want to embarrass MbS because they see him as putting Saudi Arabia in a corner,” said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute. “If you were a Saudi, and you were concerned about the future of your country, I don’t think it’s difficult to draw the conclusion that MbS is your first obstacle.”

    MbS began his reign with an ambitious foreign policy. He pushed President Donald Trump to escalate against Iran, ramped up the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and launched a dramatic blockade against his rivals in Qatar. Now, his policies are blowing up in his face.
    The Houthis claim to have destroyed 3 Saudi National Guard brigades. How credible is this?

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    We will know more with time. So far i've understood those brigades had Pak involvement and their incompetence is being seen as the cause of the embarrassment.

    Royal guards are Paks too. There are 15,000 princes to protect as the loyality of the locals cannot be relied upon.

    Saudis will just have to find a different set of mercs to depend on.

    I find the mention of a pivot away from Washington to Tehran a bit far fetched. Why ?
    Last edited by Double Edge; 03 Oct 19, at 09:07.

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    From the BBC. Houthi rebels video fails to prove Saudi troop capture claim: //www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-49866677

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    There are 15,000 princes to protect as the loyality of the locals cannot be relied upon.
    I can't say I know any Saudi personally. But my impression is that if they held free elections, they'd vote in the current leader of al Qaeda, i.e. the royals are moderate, as Muslims go, whereas the population is pretty amped up on religious zealotry. What's your take - is the loyalty, or the lack thereof a question of differences in religious views? Or is it simply the region's lack of any particular tradition of the divine right of kings, meaning that it's the same reason that dynasties don't generally last very long there, and the reason that the Saudis don't particularly want their indigenous armed forces to become too proficient, lest they become kingmakers in the way so many military leaders have done in the past.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithridates View Post
    What's your take - is the loyalty, or the lack thereof a question of differences in religious views?

    Or is it simply the region's lack of any particular tradition of the divine right of kings, meaning that it's the same reason that dynasties don't generally last very long there, and the reason that the Saudis don't particularly want their indigenous armed forces to become too proficient, lest they become kingmakers in the way so many military leaders have done in the past.
    Tribal affiliation i think.

    Saudis don't want military that is competent because almost every where this happened in the region a coup occurred. Jordan is one exception.

    The Gulf monarchs with the mineral resources want to preserve their hold even if it means pandering to religious zealots. So the Saudi king's role as protector of Mecca is safe.

    The word pivot is incorrect, maybe rapprochement is closer. This feeling the Americans are less interested started with the Iran deal and the shale oil success in the US. So Trump's first trip abroad was to KSA would be to address those concerns. To some extent he succeeded and then things took a dive after the Khashoggi affair. So another reset is necessary.

    In a sense, the Gulf states and Asian nations are in a bind. The United States may no longer be reliable but despite the various calls for a new security arrangement few realistically see an alternative.
    That is the crux of it.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Interesting blog writeup as to why Saudis are considering a non-military solution

    Why Iran’s Strategy Of Reversible Escalation Is Working | Lobe Log | Sept 05 2019

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