It appears that Yemen has gone back to North and South Yemen again. All along ethnic lines. Saudi Arabia (and the US) don’t want this and we can expect some more atrocities from heavy bombing. The blockades that prevent food and humanitarian aid continue. Is there a reason why we won’t allow for the local people to decide how they want their country run?

In a two-part analysis of the recent and ongoing revolutionary developments in Saudi Arabia instigated and executed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Asia Times editor Uwe Parpart and roving correspondent Pepe Escobar recount the details and background of the recent MBS power grab and attempt to ascertain whether it will last. In a matter of days, MBS may ascend to the throne, leaving to his father, King Salman, the ceremonial role of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The November 4/5 MBS power play was a prelude. What does it portend? Who masterminded it and drove it? Who will benefit? What does it mean for the world’s most volatile region? Below, part 1.

The young prince and chosen future king of Saudi Arabia might be smarter than many give him credit for. For decades Saudi Arabia has used its wealth to try and change the Middle East. It’s cost them their wealth. It looks like he’s consolidating power and cutting back on the meddling. The US and Russia have colluded to help influence him.

The middle east has more intrigue than most places. Folks that should be enemies sometimes aren’t. Folks that should be allies sometimes aren’t. The three big players for many decades have been Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Other countries in the region have always been played by these three. Despite these three being enemies, all of them are smart enough to make temporary alliances in order to go after the one. It looks like Israel and Saudi Arabia are continuing the alliance they made to eliminate Syria. This time the target is Iran. And we’re falling for it again.

Whatever their plans, the stakeholders in the Middle East must remember that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces. Tension is increasing all across the Middle East and the United States is again falling into a trap set up by its so-called allies to act against its own interests by getting deeply involved in what might turn out to be an escalating conflict. The recent victories by the Syrian Army and its Russian allies, which suggest that the active phase of the Syrian civil war will soon be drawing to a close, means that the perennial unrest in the region will be shifting gears and possibly leading to new conflict in areas that have until now been quiet. The lack of any real American policy for the region will enable the Saudis and Israelis, who have hegemonistic dreams of their own, to manipulate a casus belli, quite likely starting in Lebanon, where Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recently resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was fearing for his life due to his resistance to Iran’s influence over his country.

What’s really going on in Saudi Arabia right now? To the average American who knows nothing about foreign affairs (and doesn’t really care), what’s going on right now, goes back to strategies used over and over again for decades in coordination with the US. We’ve “used” the Saudis to manipulate the price of oil in attempt to “influence” foreign policy. It worked for decades. In 2014 it was tried one more time to punish Russia. It failed miserably for the Saudis, to the point where in the past few years they’ve had to dip into their reserves just to exist. They’ve had to fight off foreign invasions from the north. They invaded Yemen and are losing. They lost in their efforts in Syria. They hate the idea that Iran could become the influential player in the region. And they are going broke. Right now they are fighting for the future of their country.(1 comment)

A long and detailed analysis of what is going on in Saudi Arabia. It looks like the Prince is either a genius or a fool. The round-up of Saudi Princes which took place on 5th November 2017 is simply the latest in a succession of purges initiated by Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, as he tries to consolidate his position by getting his hands on all of Saudi Arabia’s levers of power. As is often the case in purges of this kind, a large number of people have been rounded up on ‘corruption charges’ (the standard pretext used to conceal power struggles of this sort) in order to conceal the identity of the true target of the purge.(2 comments)

At the end of the day, it appeared that Saudi is politically less stable than Lebanon, something that has hardly ever been the case in modern history, let alone at a time when one would assume it is Lebanon that is about to be plunged into new chaos, not the formerly predictable Wahhabi regime. This is a very good analysis of both the Saudi Arabia and Lebanon actions in the past few days. As is all too often the case in the Middle East, the US has its fingerprints all over it. The authors present some possible outcomes.(1 comment)