by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 12, Rabi' al-Thani, 1437)
What is going on with Bani Saud? The Najdi Bedouins have indulged in some pretty bizarre conduct that has surpassed even their own idiotic behavior of the past. While their history is filled with treachery, pillage, rape and murder, they have acted in such outlandish manner in recent months that some observers believe they have lost their collective mind. Bani Saud seem to be emulating the behavior of lemmings going over the cliff with equally disastrous consequences.
Let us zero in on the date, January 23, 2015, when the current king, Salman, ascended the throne upon the death of his half-brother ‘Abdullah. He immediately launched a demolition spree dismissing people from important posts and replacing them with his own sons and favorite nephews. Every ruler does that to some extent in order to facilitate the smooth functioning of state because he wants to have trusted people in charge of affairs, but Salman’s actions were highly unusual. The results soon became obvious.
His son, Muhammad bin Salman, barely 30 years old, seems to be the de facto ruler because the king is virtually incapacitated, suffering from dementia and prone to forgetfulness. He often does not know where he is or what he said a few moments ago. There are reports that doctors have told his children to keep him out of public eye lest people become aware of the real state of his health leading to more instability in the Kingdom.
Bin Salman (BS for short) is the one calling the shots in the Kingdom. As defence minister, he launched the illegal war on Yemen resulting in the total destruction of the poorest country in the region. What was billed as a two-week operation to “restore order” and reinstall the Saudi puppet, ‘Abdo Rab Hadi Mansour back in power as president, has continued for nearly a year with no end in sight to the conflict or the Saudis realizing any of their goals.
While the war on Yemen was in full swing, Bani Saud’s gross incompetence and callousness led to the death of more than 4,700 pilgrims in Mina, the highest ever recorded death toll in history. The court preachers immediately dubbed it an “act of God.” Why is it that not a single Saudi was killed when it led to the death of 464 Iranian pilgrims in addition to hundreds of pilgrims of other countries? The Mina stampede was the direct responsibility of that other mass murderer, Muhammad bin Nayef, the sword wielding butcher-in-chief of the Kingdom.
One would have thought that with disasters breaking out all around them, they would have enough sense to desist from further provocative acts. Perish the thought; they have indulged in more idiotic acts that have only made their situation worse. Internally, there are rumblings of revolt not just from the disgruntled masses and human rights activists, thousands of whom are languishing in various prisons, but also from within the ruling family. The takfiri terrorists they unleashed in Iraq and Syria, far from achieving their objectives there, are now threatening Bani Saud’s grip on power.
Amid this turmoil, the Najdi Bedouins took the unprecedented step of executing 47 people in a single day on January 2. This was the highest number of executions in two decades. Among those executed was Shaykh Nimr al-Nimr, a respected alim and human rights activist. Bani Saud tried to create the impression that they are equal opportunity executioners. Along with Shaykh al-Nimr and three of his fellow Shi‘is, the Saudis also executed 43 members of al-Qaeda that had been on death row since 2003.
Why are Bani Saud — or more precisely the decision-makers among them — acting in such irrational manner? Various theories have been advanced; all contain elements of truth: (1) intense internal rivalry between the two leading contenders for the throne — Muhammad bin Nayef and Muhammad bin Salman — to prove who is more ruthless; (2) send a message to the increasingly restless population that the regime will not brook any opposition or criticism, however mild; and (3) that the regime is out to provoke Iran and somehow scuttle the nuclear deal that it has entered into with the P5+1 group of countries.
In this last objective, it has the active support of the Zionist occupiers. Indeed, the Zionist-Saudi alliance has come out into the open with the two now being on kissing terms with each other. Bani Saud and the Zionists have concluded that their common enemy is the Islamic Republic of Iran and they must join hands to undermine it. Saudi agents, please note!
The Zionists have dictated this policy of disruption, aided and abetted by the neocons in Washington. There is a long history to the Zionists acting totally irrationally to get attention and, therefore, get what they want. In the past, this approach yielded results. Successive American governments succumbed to such pressure. Things may be changing because their irrational acts are not having the desired effect in Washington; at least not with Barack Obama who is in the final year of his presidency and, therefore, feels somewhat freed from Zionist blackmailing tactics.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress bypassing Obama did not sit well with the administration. Even Obama critics were appalled at Netanyahu’s tactics. He addressed the US Congress last March in a desperate attempt to sabotage the deal with Iran. He failed, although the Republican dominated congress, which is virtually in the Zionists’ pocket, applauded each of his outlandish claims. He failed miserably in his objective but in the process exposed the true nature of the members of the US Congress. It was this reality that led Pat Buchanan, a former speechwriter for President Roland Reagan and TV commentator, to quip that the US Congress was Zionist-occupied territory!
Far from achieving their objectives, Saudi actions betray their extreme fear. They are aware that events are moving in a direction that will short-circuit their tortuous existence. Their shelf life is expiring and they know it. That was the reason for their military invasion of Bahrain in early-2011 to frustrate the Bahrainis’ legitimate demands for freedom and rights. The same fear in an even more extreme form was at work in their undermining of the Ikhwan-backed government headed by Mohamed Mursi in Egypt and Bani Saud’s support of General ‘Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s July 2013 coup. Behind all these is the Saudis’ perennial fear of the rise and consolidation of Islamic Iran.
Their paranoia about Iran actually exposes their fraudulent claim to being champions of Islam even if they have illegally occupied the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. True, simple-minded Muslims are taken in by this fraud but Bani Saud’s real nature is becoming exposed. Even their paid agents are unable to defend their actions in public, regardless of how much hatred they may try to spew against the Shi‘is in general and Iran in particular.
To its credit, Iran did not fall for the provocation during last July’s massacre of hujjaj in Mina — yes, it was a massacre since responsibility for the safety of the pilgrims lies squarely on the shoulders of the Saudis and their henchmen. Their obfuscations and lies could not hide the ugly reality that the Saudis are totally incompetent and grossly unfit to be in control of the Haramayn, the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. They also failed in provoking the Iranians to break off diplomatic relations despite killing more than 464 Iranian hujjaj, including several diplomats among them Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi (on November 19, 2013, two Saudi-backed suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy in an attempt to assassinate ambassador Roknabadi; he miraculously survived in Beirut but they finally got him in Mina during Hajj!).
The Saudis are thrashing about like a wounded beast in a desperate attempt to survive. Yet the more they thrash about and wriggle, the deeper they dig themselves into a hole. Their two-pronged policy — extreme oppression including mass executions at home and destabilization abroad of governments in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as well as the subversion of the legitimate rights of the Yemeni people — has totally failed. Instead, such failures have deepened fissures in the ruling family. These have exploded into the open.
Further, while trying to undermine the revolutionary movement led by Ansarallah in Yemen, the Saudis have actually strengthened the terrorist group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This group has been responsible for a number of terrorist acts in the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, far from defeating the Ansarallah fighters, the Saudis have given them confidence because the Yemeni revolutionaries have managed to fight a coalition of dozens of countries to a standstill. At the same time, the Saudis have opened the floodgates of hell by strengthening the takfiri terrorists in Syria as well as in Yemen.
Once these monsters are driven out of Syria and Yemen — they are on the verge of being defeated, at least in the Levant — they will come to haunt the Saudis. Observers are undecided as to whether the old sick, one-foot in the grave king (Salman) will drop dead first, a civil war would break out in Saudi Arabia, or the takfiris will strike at the heart of one of the most oppressive regimes in the Muslim East. Whatever happens first, the Saudis have signed their own death warrant. They are toast!