Thursday, January 22, 2015

Saudi King Abdullah- Dead- A Wily King?

 Sorry for the fuzzy post- Something very 'earth shattering' occurred! Sure caught me by surprise. What will happen now?
Power struggles in Saudi Arabia?- The oil prices?- Supporting fanatical jihadists in partnership with NATO? Yemen?

Or, will the status quo remain?

Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the sixth king of Saudi Arabia, who has died most likely at age 90, was a master politician who gained a reputation as a reformer without changing his country’s power structure and maintained good relations with the United States while striking an independent course in foreign policy.(?)

King Abdullah pumped billions of dollars into modernization of the Saudi educational system, opened up the Saudi economy, ushered his country into the World Trade Organization, curbed the authority of the religious police, pardoned some victims of an unforgiving judiciary, met with then-Pope Benedict XVI and espoused interfaith tolerance, cracked down on extremism, reached out to women and offered a plan for Arab peace with Israel.

Yet the cumulative effect of his policies was to reinforce the House of Saud’s absolute power over the country. His embrace of reform did not extend to politics. Dissenters who went too far were jailed or silenced, and he scrapped a brief experiment with elections.

At the end of his reign, Saudi Arabia was a different country from the one in which he came to power — much more open to economic entrepreneurs, more receptive to public discussion of its many problems, and even courting tourists. But in another sense, the country was unchanged: All power ultimately lay with the royal family, supported by a compliant religious establishment, and ordinary citizens still were disenfranchised.
When human rights and social justice advocates sent King Abdullah a petition in the spring of 2003 seeking an elected parliament, term limits on princes holding government positions and public access to the trials of accused terrorists, most of the signers were jailed briefly, and the king granted none of their requests. After seven decades of al-Saud rule, it would have been astonishing if he had.

The country’s Basic Law of Government, promulgated by Fahd in 1992, stipulates that the country is a monarchy and that it is the duty of citizens to obey their king. The government did not waver from that mandate during King Abdullah’s years on the throne.

His reputation as a progressive and generally benign monarch lay in the creation of new institutions that appeared to empower the Saudi public, such as the forums of the National Dialogue and a government human rights commission that occasionally allowed people to sound off without actually challenging the king’s power.
 A promoter of illusory freedom. Sounds like any corrupt western government!

And inside the royal family, King Abdullah’s adroit maneuvering largely neutralized the dissatisfaction and resentment of powerful half-brothers who had been his rivals for power

Before King Abdullah, the greatest threats to the al-Saud regime were domestic: a rising tide of religious extremism supported by al-Qaeda;(that’s nonsense) and a restive citizenry energized by global information networks and unhappy with domestic corruption.
 The populace was likely not the biggest threat to the al Saud regime- Perhaps a  distant threat to be sure, but, one that was kept in check with illusory rights. Other nations were likely a bigger threat- Israel. US. UK. The threat that kept the Saudi monarchy in it’s place.

King Abdullah protected his flank by shoring up his country’s long-standing alliance with the United States.
 Alliance/allegiance/fealty

King Abdullah could not resolve the fundamental paradox of Saudi foreign policy — that the regime is dependent for its security on its alliance with a country viewed with disfavor by much of the population. But he obscured the problem by boosting relations with China, Russia and other countries outside the American sphere of influence

Under King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia strengthened its security cooperation with the United States, as the two countries reached agreement on a long-term U.S. commitment to train a new armed force to guard vital Saudi oil installations

King Abdullah was perhaps best known to the world for his introduction of the so-called Abdullah Plan for Arab Peace With Israel, which he first floated in a 2002 conversation with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. That plan calls for a full peace between all Arab states and Israel if Israel returns to the borders that defined it before the 1967 war — that is, if Israel gives up the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

Yet the cumulative effect of his policies was to reinforce the House of Saud’s absolute power over the country. His embrace of reform did not extend to politics. Dissenters who went too far were jailed or silenced, and he scrapped a brief experiment with elections.

His reputation as a progressive and generally benign monarch lay in the creation of new institutions that appeared to empower the Saudi public, such as the forums of the National Dialogue and a government human rights commission that occasionally allowed people to sound off without actually challenging the king’s power.

On the contrary, the steps King Abdullah took to limit the power of the Muslim religious establishment and to institutionalize the process of royal succession, combined with the government’s relentless campaign against homegrown jihadists who began a campaign of domestic terrorism in 2003, left the House of Saud stronger than it was before he took the throne.

And inside the royal family, King Abdullah’s adroit maneuvering largely neutralized the dissatisfaction and resentment of powerful half-brothers who had been his rivals for power. He opposed the decision by Fahd and the powerful defense minister Prince Sultan to invite U.S. troops into Saudi Arabia after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, for example, but avoided a public breach that could have weakened the family.

Before King Abdullah, the greatest threats to the al-Saud regime were domestic: a rising tide of religious extremism supported by al-Qaeda; and a restive citizenry energized by global information networks and unhappy with domestic corruption.

As a result, U.S. Ambassador James B. Smith could say with some justification in October 2009, shortly after taking up his post in Riyadh, that “the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States has never been stronger; it has also never been more multifaceted or important. The United States values greatly the cooperation we have had with Saudi Arabia on a wide range of issues.”

Those issues include terrorism inspired by Islamic extremism, which Saudi Arabia nurtured for years for domestic and international reasons. After the onset of terrorist bombings inside the kingdom in 2003, Abdullah, then the crown prince, and other senior members of the royal family realized that the monster they had helped create had turned against them, and their response was swift and firm.

By the time President George W. Bush left office in January 2009, senior officials of his administration had concluded that the Saudi regime was no longer part of the problem but part of the solution to this global threat.

King Abdullah, whose official title was Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was also prime minister, as is customary in the Saudi system. Domestically, he pumped billions of dollars into new industries and the creation of new cities, but his most enduring legacy besides the coed university may turn out to be the institution known as the Allegiance Council, which he created to resolve uncertainties about the line of succession.

The council consists of 35 senior princes, all sons or grandsons of the first king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who are to meet in secret each time a king dies or is incapacitated to choose the next in line, much as the cardinals of the Catholic Church elect a pope.

If the Allegiance Council had existed in earlier decades, it is doubtful that King Abdullah would have become king, because he was never fully in harmony with the powerful clique of princes known as the “Sudairi Seven,” all sons of Abdul Aziz and his favorite wife, Hassa bint Ahmed al-Sudairi.
 The man who should have/would have never been king? Interesting. Perhaps that's why the WaPo called him the Wily King?
 From earlier today!

16 comments:

  1. It's excerpted from a larger article, needs tidying, but I just couldn't resist!
    good night

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amerikas/Britain's bitch is dead and will be replaced the new bitch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was doing some reading between coughing and sneezing and it seems the new guy is not 'with it' as in he's senile or something already?
      If that's the case this guy is in charge of nothing, but then it is America guarding the oil fields??? Which says a whole lot!

      Delete
  3. "Something very 'earth shattering' occurred! Sure caught me by surprise."
    I guess you're being ironic but I'm not sure.



    Penny, with your interest in Laurel Canyon and suchlike I think you'll find this blog of interest-
    http://anolen.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi gimlet eye- earth shattering means "big news" something that factors into the geopolitical game
      I knew he was ill, but, didn't realize he was death bed ill

      But there is too a sense of irony, because much of this falls under that illusion of power I despise so...

      And thanks for the link to this interesting blog, I am going to bookmark for further reading :)

      Gimlet Eye; interesting name does it mean anything?

      Delete
    2. He's been on his death bed for years, so about as earth shattering and surprising as Sharron finally being declared dead (I don't mean that to sound sarcastic). I doubt we'll notice the change.

      for example from may 2013-
      http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/26/305584/saudi-arabias-king-clinically-dead/


      Gimlet eye-
      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=gimlet+eye
      :p)

      Delete
  4. A few interesting things:
    1. Nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, as Deputy Crown Prince. Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah was the other contendor. he was just in DC a few weeks ago allegedly seeking support for the Saudi fight against AQ.
    2. The Saudi FX pegs have been blowing out for months, including the jolt which local media attributed to capital flight? The Saudi stock market is set to be floated in 2015/6
    3. Saudi King Salman is also rumored to be infirm which means Muqrin, who was replaced by none other than Bander, will run the show. (see his anti democracy comments below)
    4. Ongoing social media crackdown in the kingdom going back to the Blackberry demands in the run up to the spring launch - note the stock charts of Blackberry vs Apple and the subsequent leaks. The aramco hack, the snooping software, the Saudi moves inside the GCC to call for stand alone defense networks etc. And the obvious women driving issue being used used as a wedge.
    5. The recent fallout with Qatar (its financial and .mil links + recent soft coup) and spate of western deaths in and around the Kingdom and UAE

    Considering the below summary of the reshuffle back in May, it would appear Nayef has taken pole position (his father of course dying mysteriously (or was he died ?) which buried his hatred of the MB):

    "Through the royal decrees, the king has managed to push his sons further to the forefront of the Saudi political scene, as he appointed his son, Prince Turki, as an emir of the Riyadh region, in a move observers say it may provoke confusion in the ranks of the ruling family. A few months ago, the king also appointed his son Mishaal as emir of Mecca. In addition to this, Prince Mutaib is the head of National Guard in the capacity of a minister. His other son, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, is deputy foreign minister and is known for his calm diplomacy and regional openness, and many consider him as the likeliest candidate to become a foreign minister as a successor to Saud al-Faisal. At the same time, the “Bandari line” is being disposed of by removing Prince Salman bin Sultan, the half-brother of the deposed Prince Bandar bin Sultan, from his post as deputy secretary of defense, only one month after removing Bandar himself from his position as head of intelligence. A few months ago, the Syrian file was transferred to Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, as it has turned out that terrorism in Syria is turning into an uncontrollable Saudi problem, which is seen as part of Bandar’s unrestrained policies. Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal announced suddenly openness toward holding a dialogue with Iran. The Saudi king made an important move at the end of last March, when he announced the appointment of his brother Prince Muqrin as deputy crown prince. "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CIA killed Omar Suleiman and Saudi’s prince Nayef: Fareed Zakaria

      "A prominent US-based Journalist, Fareed Zakaria says the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is behind the death of former Egyptian vice president and the country's long-time spy chief Omar Suleiman, and Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Speaking in a TV program called Al-Haghigheh in an Arabic satellite channel, Zakaria said that Omar Suleiman made a phone call to him few minutes prior to his death claiming that his life was in danger and the CIA had targeted him with a laser radiation. Zakaria added that Suleiman revealed to him in the same telephone conversation that the Saudi crown prince was also assassinated with a similar laser radiation by the US spy agency. "
      http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/09/18/262275/cia-killed-suleiman-and-prince-nayef/

      Nayef's conservative policies to outlive him (from the article):
      Salman tends towards political conservatism. In a 2007 US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, he argues against introducing democracy to Saudi Arabia because of regional and tribal divisions. “He [Salman] said that the [kingdom] is composed of tribes and regions, and if democracy were imposed, each tribe and region would have its political party,” the cable said. Nayef initially refused to believe that the September 11 attacks were carried out by Saudis.He described the attacks as a Jewish plot, and held a news conference in which he announced that Saudi Arabia was "being framed". Mohammed was targeted by a suicide bomber in Jeddah in 2009.). After Sultan’s death, Nayef took responsibility for much of the kingdom’s policy in Yemen, where it supports the central government and buys the support of tribal sheikhs via a vast patronage network. "He (Nayef) said in 2002 that radicalisation ... that all of our problems, came from the Muslim Brotherhood. He was very, very much suspicious and skeptical of the Brotherhood."

      http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/06/2012616185546905427.html

      So does the apple (now dep crown prince) fall far from the tree?

      As a curious aside the Saudi National Guard is referred to as the White army, which can't help but analog to the Russians...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabian_National_Guard

      Delete
    2. Blackberry banned in UAE / Saudi / India 2010
      BlackBerry faces ban in UAE, Saudi Arabia, to cooperate in India
      http://exchangepedia.com/2010/08/blackberry-faces-ban-in-uae-saudi-arabia-to-cooperate-in-india.html

      June 2011 the Wapo editorial blasting USA Palestinian policy
      From a Saudi prince, tough talk on America’s favoritism toward Israel
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/from-a-saudi-prince-tough-talk-on-americas-favoritism-toward-israel/2011/06/13/AGAkPhTH_story.html

      "Turki — and by implication all of Saudi Arabia — has had it with the United States. The kingdom will not be lectured to. It is sick and tired of American favoritism to Israel — the exuberant congressional reception for Binyamin Netanyahu, for example — and the administration’s decision to oppose any effort in the United Nations to create a Palestinian state. In this matter, America is doing what Israel wants. "


      Saudi social crackdown 2013
      Social media crackdown: Saudi Arabia may spy on Twitter users
      http://rt.com/news/saudi-arabia-twitter-control-084/

      July 2013:
      Saudi Arabia 'targeting Iran and Israel with ballistic missiles'
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/saudiarabia/10172463/Saudi-Arabia-targeting-Iran-and-Israel-with-ballistic-missiles.html

      May 2014:
      Saudi missile parade a signal to Iran, Israeli defense expert tells ‘Post’
      http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Saudi-rocket-parade-a-signal-to-Iran-Israeli-defense-expert-tells-Post-350975

      July 2014
      Saudi Arabia Sends 30,000 Troops to Iraq Border: State-Owned TV
      http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/iraq-turmoil/saudi-arabia-sends-30-000-troops-iraq-border-state-owned-n147186

      Delete
    3. anonymous 6:39 to 6:51
      thanks, some of those news items are familiar to me, some not so much
      but they help fill in the back story to SA- what's been going on etc
      I appreciate all the effort you have made to leave them here, thanks :)

      Delete
  5. Hey, Penny, been really busy the last month or so but have been keeping up with your excellent work.

    I just read this really important article that sheds A LOT of detailed light on how the CIA et al directly created and financed Google, Facebook et al from the very beginning. I know that many of us knew this but the article is very well researched and I think should be disseminated as widely as possible. Cheers.

    https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks JSorrentine- I shall give it a read, I am behind the times the past couple days, have to get back to some other commenters
      google and the cia like facebook and the cia
      I always think of hand meet glove when I think about both google and facebook- and yes I know I am on google blogger.
      but would I be spied on less somewhere else, not likely

      Delete
  6. Hi Penny,

    There has been very heavy fighting in the Donbass during the past few days.

    The militia have launched multiple offensives in various sectors of the front, especially the Debalcevo pocket, Donetsk airport and west, plus Mariupol in the south.

    Very heavy casualties have been reported, for example, close to 600 Ukranian dead counted around Donetsk airport a couple of days ago, but the militia also reported heavy losses, including about 50 dead with more wounded and taken prisoner when a militia column was ambushed close to Avdiivka to the north east of Donetsk.

    Despite all the action there relatively little movement on the front in terms of territorial gains, although some major strategic objectives were taken, including Donetsk airport and several Ukraninan checkpoints. The Ukranians seem to have panicked and thrown in reserves to hold the line, but finally today there have been signs that the Ukranian front is crumbling in critical areas.

    Most significantly, the Debalcevo pocket (which is very big) seems to be close to being sewn up. I don't know how many Ukranian soldiers are in there, but it must be several thousand with lots of equipment. The supply line to Debalcevo has been precarious for months and this was a disaster in the making, but the Ukranians with typical arrogance felt that they would encircle Gorlovka/Horlivka which has been heavily shelled.

    One of the clear aims of the milita is to push Ukranian artillery from Donetsk and Gorlovka, but if momentum continues to build then who knows where this offensive might lead. The militia leadership have rejected calls for a ceasefire, which would only be in Ukranian interests.

    The city of Mariupol with almost half a million inhabitants, would be a massive coup for the militia. There has been heavy shelling of civilian areas in the east of the city, with the Ukranians and western media blaming the militia while the militia claims that the Ukrnanians are responsible.

    I've been following developments on Military Maps as the old map site Military Marker doesn't seem to be maintained anymore (at least it doesn't work for me).

    Anthony

    http://militarymaps.info/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anthony for the updates, I had seen some of the news and my hubby had been following it too- but, I was trying to get over my cold etc and just didn't feel up to blogging on it
      so I really appreciate the updates :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Penny,

      The figure of 8000 Ukranians in the Debalcevo pocket has been quoted. The pocket doesn't appear to have completely sealed and the town of Troitsky which was showing as held by the militia now shows the symbol for no control.

      The militia appear to be having success in their push north of Gorlovka, both in sealing off the Debalcevo pocket to the north east and east, as well as moving towards Dzerzhsynsk in the north west.

      The first sign of a Ukranian counter attack is south west of Donetsk where there is a battle reported at Elenovka including Ukranian tanks.

      The Orkranians have continued their terror against the civilian population with indiscriminate shelling as well as looting and probably much worse as they take out their frustrations on the civilian population. There have been reports, including videos, showing indiscipline in the Ukranian army with alcohol and drug influenced soldiers.

      The situation around Mariupol seems to have quietened down,

      Anthony

      http://militarymaps.info/

      Delete

TROLLS & SPAM WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT HESITATION
KEEP IT RELEVANT. NO PERSONAL ATTACKS