Coup de Grace of the Old System in Saudi Arabia
While the courts of justice were functioning in Saudi Arabia, the crackdown in the name of corruption, in the absence of judicial process is nothing but a Coup de Grace, establishing full control of Crown Prince Mohammed over the three security services – the Military, National Guard, Internal Security and the Powerful Wahabi clerics. Thus the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has concentrated absolute power in his own hands that no other Saudi ruler ever attained. The old system of “distribution of the four power bases” amongst the ruling family and the clerics now stands dismantled, and at the mercy of the young ruler with ambitions such as:
• Control on the Kingdom and the press for a more open brand of Islam.• Taming the religious establishment in quest of modernization and toleration. In so doing he is betting the Kingdom’s large youth population, which cares more about entertainment and economic opportunities than religious dogmas.• To contain and curb the rising power of Iran.
The great purge appears to be a pre-emptive strike by the Crown Prince “who saw the wall coming down and managed to hurdle it.” This move has also been welcomed by President Trump and Israel, who look at it favourably, as it is a part of the alliance with Gulf States and Egypt, who have declared Ikhwanul Muslimeen as terrorists. At the same time Saudi Arabia finds itself in a suffocating situation of siege, with their arch rival Iran, extending its influence and hold over the arc – Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Saudi Arabia considers it a dangerous situation which may prompt America and Israel join Saudi Arabia, to contain and curb the rising influence of Iran. Thus it may escalate into an open conflict, which would be calamitous for the whole of Middle East – worst than the 9/11 Crusade, which has destroyed more than half a dozen Muslim countries. The recent US$ 350 Bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia adds meaning to the conspiracy. Crown Prince Mohammed is reported to have visited Israel last September, where he was briefed about the impending revolt.
Internally, Saudi rulers now would be facing a dual threat from the marginalized royal family and the die-hard Wahabi clerics, with whom the Saudis formed alliance late 19th century, and joining hands with the British succeeded gaining control over the Arabian Peninsula early 20th Century. This alliance stands dismantled and the Wahabis now pose greater threat to the Kingdom. They formed the third largest group of Daēsh after Iraq and Syria – approximately 10-12000 under Ahmad Kheshgi. Now, they are scattered, with most of them driven under-ground, drawn to violence within the country and outside. The breaking of the alliance with the clerics and the royal family which dates back to the founding of the Saudi dynasty governed with guidance from the clerics who legitimized their rule, is sure to create shock waves within the country, and likely to became dangerous with the involvement of America and Israel.
At this critical juncture Pakistan seems to be riding on two boats. General Raheel is in Saudi Arabia working for the “forty-nation military alliance” and General Bajwa is in Tehran, to forge unity on matters of common security interests. Astute diplomacy therefore is needed to play a balancing role between Riyadh and Tehran, ensuring that US-Israel design of initiating open conflict, between the two rivals is prevented at all. Pakistan enjoys a privileged position with both the countries, to achieve the purpose of peace in the region and the Muslim World, as a whole.