Thursday, June 29, 2017

MBS vs. MBN: Big Trouble Brewing in KSA-USA Deep State

It is important to remember that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is inseparable from the United States. The succession crisis currently underway in the House of Saud will have direct impacts on the U.S. national security state.

Ben Hubbard, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti report in "Deposed Saudi Prince Is Said to Be Confined to Palace":
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The recently deposed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef, has been barred from leaving the kingdom and confined to his palace in the coastal city of Jidda, according to four current and former American officials and Saudis close to the royal family.
The new restrictions on the man who until last week was next in line to the throne and ran the kingdom’s powerful internal security services sought to limit any potential opposition for the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, 31, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize relationships with Saudi royals.
It was unclear how long the restrictions would remain in place. An adviser to the Saudi royal court referred queries to the Information Ministry, whose officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday. A senior official in the Saudi Foreign Ministry reached by telephone on Wednesday night described the account as “baseless and false.”
The Saudi monarch, King Salman, shook up the line of succession last week with a string of royal decrees that promoted his favorite son, Mohammed bin Salman, to crown prince and removed Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, from the line of succession.
But the restrictions placed on the elder prince suggest fear that some members of the sprawling royal family are upset with the change, and that public appearances by him could exacerbate such sentiments.
“It’s an indication that M.B.S. does not want any opposition,” a senior United States official said. “He doesn’t want any rear-guard action within the family. He wants a straight elevation without any dissent — not that M.B.N. was plotting anything anyway.”
The official said the United States government was in contact with the Saudi Interior Ministry, but that American officials had not had any formal contact with Mohammed bin Nayef and were monitoring the situation closely.
“M.B.N. has been such a great friend and partner of the U.S., we would not want to see him treated inelegantly or indecorously,” the senior American official said.
Since Mohammed bin Nayef’s removal from the line of succession, several veteran American counterterrorism and intelligence officials who had strong relationships with him have privately expressed outrage at his treatment. But they were wary of speaking publicly given the strong support for King Salman and his son from President Trump and other top aides, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.
MBS's palace coup, backed by Trump and his son-in-law, has to be seen in terms of the blockade of Qatar. The demands leveled by the Saudi-led bloc expire Monday. According to Peter Symonds in "Gulf confrontation worsens as deadline looms for Saudi ultimatum to Qatar":
The public divisions in Washington over the US stance toward the Gulf dispute highlight the reckless, incoherent and crisis-ridden character of American foreign policy in the Middle East and internationally. A quarter century of US-led wars in the region has left millions dead, destroyed entire societies and profoundly destabilised the nation-state system imposed by French and British imperialism after World War I.
The standoff between the Saudi-led bloc with Qatar adds another potentially explosive trigger to the existing powder kegs, particularly in Syria and Yemen, that could set off a region-wide and international conflict involving all the major powers.
Huge cataclysmic change ushering in collapse of the hegemon always seems impossible until it happens. Then it appears inevitable.

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