The world can't forget the fight for the Saudi crown amid virus panic: The political landscape is changing as the Covid-19 outbreak undermines Donald Trump and his allies, such as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The world can't forget the fight for the Saudi crown amid virus panic: The political landscape is changing as the Covid-19 outbreak undermines Donald Trump and his allies, such as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

by Patrick Cockburn, theindependent.uk.co

The political consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are already vast because its advance, and the desperate measures taken to combat it, entirely dominate the news agenda and will go on doing so for the foreseeable future, although it is in the nature of this unprecedented event that nothing can be foreseen.

History has not come to a full stop because of the virus, however: crucial events go on happening, even if they are being ignored by people wholly absorbed by the struggle for survival in the face of a new disease. Many of these unrecognised but very real crises are taking place in the Middle East, the arena where great powers traditionally stage confrontations fought out by their local proxies.

Top of the list of critical new conflicts that have been overshadowed by the pandemic is the battle for the throne of Saudi Arabia: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), whose dwindling band of admirers describe him as “mercurial”, this month launched a sort of palace coup by arresting his uncle, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, and his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, whom he displaced as crown prince in 2017.

The new purge of close relatives by MbS may be motivated by his wish to eliminate any potential rivals for the crown who might step forward upon the death of King Salman, his 84-year-old father. This need to settle the royal succession has become more urgent in the past few weeks because the US presidential election in November might see the crown prince lose an essential ally: Donald Trump, a man who has become increasingly discredited by his shambolic response to Covid-19, and who faces Joe Biden’s emergence as the likely Democratic candidate for the presidency.

Trump has been a vital prop for MbS, standing by him despite his role in starting an unwinnable war in Yemen in 2015 and his alleged responsibility for the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018. MbS has denied personal involvement in the killing, but told PBS last year: “It happened under my watch. I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch.”

The record of misjudgements by MbS after he established himself as the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia five years ago makes Inspector Clouseau seem like a strategist of Napoleonic stature by comparison. Every one of his initiatives at home and abroad has stalled or failed, from the endless and calamitous war in Yemen to the escalating confrontation with Iran that culminated in Tehran’s drone and missile attack on Saudi oil facilities last September.

The latest gamble by MbS is to break with Russia and flood the market with Saudi crude oil just as world demand is collapsing because of the pandemic’s economic impact. In living memory in the Middle East, only Saddam Hussein displayed a similar combination of hubris and erratic performance that inspired disastrous ventures such as the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980 and of Kuwait in 1990.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OK, Patrick; let's not forget one very critical factoid,which you painfully and awkwardly attempted to camouflage by omission, in that last bit regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait:

[Congressional Record: January 26, 2011 (House)]
[Page H503]
HOW THE 20-YEAR WAR STARTED

The article went on to state: " Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, how did the 20-year war get started? It had
been long assumed that the United States Government, shortly before
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, gave Saddam Hussein a green
light to attack. A State Department cable recently published by
WikiLeaks confirmed that U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie did indeed have
a conversation with Saddam Hussein one week prior to Iraq's August 1,
1990, invasion of Kuwait. Amazingly, the released cable was entitled,
``Saddam's Message of Friendship to President Bush.'' In it, Ambassador
Glaspie affirmed to Saddam that ``the President had instructed her to
broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq.'' As Saddam Hussein
outlined Iraq's ongoing border dispute with Kuwait, Ambassador Glaspie
was quite clear that, ``we took no position on these Arab affairs.''
There would have been no reason for Saddam Hussein not to take this
assurance at face value. The U.S. was quite supportive of his invasion
and war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s. With this approval
from the U.S. Government, it wasn't surprising that the invasion
occurred. The shock and surprise was how quickly the tables were turned
and our friend, Saddam Hussein, all of a sudden became Hitler
personified.
The document was classified, supposedly to protect national security,
yet this information in no way jeopardized our security. Instead, it
served to keep the truth from the American people about an event
leading up to our initial military involvement in Iraq and the region
that continues to today.

{time} 1440

The secrecy of the memo was designed to hide the truth from the
American people and keep our government from being embarrassed.
This was the initial event that had led to so much death and
destruction--not to mention the financial costs--these past 20 years."

This is something which can no longer be ignored by either the American people, or the world, sir.

And to President Trump, sir, a word; your proclivity for liking the company of dictators who can "get away with" murder (literally, like Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman, and never having to face the consequences), is something of which the American people are growing painfully tired.

Getting US troops out of Yemen, where they are enabling Saudi war crimes in that country, would be one of the most practically intelligent things you could do right now, but I am betting you won't, simply because of what could be characterized by "Imperial Hubris."

Please, have someone look up the words I have just typed, and break them down for you, simply.

Between the stock-market selloff, coupled with your lackluster Covid 19 scare response, your re-election, which seemed a safe bet several months ago, is now thrown open for question, and the challenge by your would-be Democratic contender, Joe Biden, whose mental faculties seem to be sorely, and publicly, tested by this campaign, is gaining pace.

And while there are moments when I worry about your desire to throw weapons at the bad guy (whoever the "bad guy du jure" is), I cringe to think that it might possibly be a President Biden with his hands around the nuclear football.

Comments

SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA