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Serious Saudi king ousts nephew to name son as crown prince

Discussion in 'The Courtyard Café' started by chittychitty, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. chittychitty

    chittychitty Alfrescian Old Timer

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    [​IMG]

    King Salman of Saudi Arabia has ousted his nephew as crown prince and replaced him with his son, Mohammed bin Salman, confirming the 31-year-old as heir and consolidating the kingdom’s move to reassert its influence as a regional power.

    The move was announced by royal decree just after midnight, stunning the Saudi establishment, which has seen Bin Salman’s profile soar over the past three years but regarded the role of the former crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran security tsar, as secure.

    President Trump called Bin Salman on Wednesday to congratulate him on his “recent elevation”.
    “The president and the crown prince committed to close cooperation to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond,” a White House statement said, adding that the two leaders talked about cutting off support for terrorists, resolving Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Qatar, economic cooperation and “a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

    A source familiar with Trump foreign policy and national security said that Bin Salman was seen by the White House as a key ally.

    “The circles who have worked on the bridge between this administration and the Arab coalition, they know each other and they know Prince Mohammed is a solid ally,” the source said. “The consolidation of Prince Mohammed’s influence within the government of Saudi Arabia is going to be seen as a positive development for the administration ... and now there are less risks that there will be opposition to him in the near future.”

    The upheaval follows a dizzying series of moves from the usually cautious kingdom, which in recent weeks has seen it recalibrate relations with Washington and open a diplomatic offensive against Qatar, led by Bin Salman’s office, while pressing ahead with a war in Yemen and an ambitious economic and cultural overhaul at home.

    Bin Salman has been central to the changes, which have helped his profile and powers grow rapidly under the tutelage of an 81-year-old monarch who has given him an almost free hand across most aspects of society.

    By contrast, Bin Nayef, a former interior minister and intelligence chief, and more traditional US ally, had been increasingly marginalised and the decree removed him from all his positions. He had played little role in the reform programme and was given little face time with Donald Trump during the US president’s visit to Riyadh in May, which is widely seen to have precipitated the change in succession.

    Iran’s state television, which reflects the views of Tehran’s leaders, called the Saudi appointment “a soft coup”. The two countries are involved in proxy conflicts across the Middle East and the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar came in part over its conciliatory relationship with Iran.

    More at Saudi king ousts nephew to name son as crown prince
     
  2. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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  3. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    What's your take? Press reports suggest that this guy operates by himself without the involvement of cabinet, ie war with Yemen, holidaying and uncontactable, takes over both external and internal security, etc.?

     
  4. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Its quite broad and there are many movings part all happening quite rapidly so I will try and be succint:

    - MBS ascent: no surprises but the pace at which it happened perhaps took the world by surprise - apparently even the Americans were not tipped off (although during Trump's visit his speech was carried on live television but deemed was incomprehensible to many who heard him in Arabic - it is just a formality now and Bin Salman is now king in all but name.

    - step by step, the last obstacle to bin Salman’s vertiginous rise to power, his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, had been stripped of his power and there was little he could do to stop it, but he fought all the way. First, his royal court went, then a national security council was created over his head. Then his ministry was stripped of its prosecutorial role. Then the operation to isolate Qatar, one of his closest allies, was launched. You can see the pattern. So it had been well-choreographed.

    - he is reportedly currently under the tutelage of Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi so their move to isolate Qatar is part of a bigger initiative to suppress political Islam in favour of the continuance of - he is 31 and given how the royal families tend to rule in the GCC you are looking for a rule of potentially 50 years - so he has a long way to go still and is now taking rapid steps to chart a path where he will be immortalised as a major figure in Saudi (and Islamic history as Guardian of the Two Mosques). With the 13 demands released today upon Qatar it is unlikely that any of those would be met at all (and they are not intended to) so it may even result in the complete ousting of Qatar from the GCC and no end to the blockade - MBS has nothing to lose now

    - MbZ also apparently advised him to diminish the power of the religious authorities in the kingdom - so MBS has reduced the influence of the religious establishment on the daily life of the Saudis and used it to bolster his authority - a series of tweets by the Ulama, the Saudi Committee of Senior Scholars, were unleashed against the Muslim Brotherhood and just demonstrated how religion was easily pressed into the service of the politics of MBS.

    - it has also been said that MbZ urged him to open dialogue with Israel (which was mentioned this week by the Israelis) and he gives the impression that he is sectarian in his outlook and so very hawkish on Iran - note how the Israelis openly suggested this week for trade ties to be established - so this is where his outlook needs to be viewed in the context of his friendship with Kutchner and whatever back-channelling he has been doing - regardless, there is a play now for a joint-front against Iran - in the grand scheme of things the Americans need a war and may just rely on the Saudis and ISraelis to proxy it without committing boots on the ground

    - one last point: even the timing of the last act of this palace coup is significant - Prince bin Salman received allegiance from his family and the public in Mecca on the 27th night of Ramadan, Laylat al-Qadr, the night of power when prayers are magnified in importance a thousand times. This is the most important night in the Islamic calendar so MBS is not a king in waiting who intends to neutralise the role of religion in the affairs of state. He is using it to establish his own autocratic rule and it will probably change the face of the Gulf altogether.

    (I have left out his misadventures in Yemen and also the failures on Syria which had begun under Prince Bandar - it is assumed that he will just abandon those rebels the Saudis so happily armed in the early days of the uprising - note there is no active rhetoric to replace Assad recently)
     
  5. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Thanks, very helpful. You mentioned MbZ link which I was not aware. You must then be aware of Bani Fatima? Do you think we are looking at possible coup?
     
  6. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Yes the Bani Fatima are still a formidable bloc - I don't think UAE is ripe for this but you raise a very interesting possible scenario but it would be disastrous timing-wise because the tribes may not accept such an usurpation of power despite the established factional divide in the dynasty.

    again for ease and to be as succint as possible I'm pulling up one of the better summaries I've come across:

    - after the passing of Sheikh Zayed it had been assumed and predicted that the succession of Zayed's third-eldest son, Muhammad was assured. Muhammad had been appointed by his father to the all-new position of deputy crown prince, a move interpreted by some as deliberately smoothing the way for the succession - however, in accordance with primogeniture, the eldest of Zayed's sons and Abu Dhabi's crown prince since 1966, Khalifa, was quietly proclaimed the new ruler.

    - Khalifa has no full brothers - there is the bloc of six of Zayed's other sons who are full brothers, and most significantly their mother, Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak al-Qitbi, was Zayed's favored wife and continues to be regarded as the UAE's "First Lady." - they have built a cohesive political bloc in an otherwise highly fragmented dynasty and collectively grown in power.

    - the eldest of these Bani Fatima is the crown prince Muhammad.

    - the counter-balance to their ascendancy has been the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa (of the late Khalifa's grandsons) - they have been squeezed, mainly by the rising Bani Fatima, and, although there has been some intermarriage between the two blocs, they remain a completely distinct faction.

    - Crucially, of Zayed's sons, they have always been closer to Khalifa, as he is, of course, not a part of the Bani Fatima and therefore regarded as the best potential balancing force. In addition, Khalifa's mother, Shaikha Hussa, was a sister of the Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa, and most of Khalifa's daughters have been married into this branch, further reinforcing any future Khalifa-Bani Muhammad bin Khalifa link.

    P.S. On Yemen the word is that there has been a major fallout between the Yemeni president in exile, Hadi, who is in Riyadh, and local forces in Aden controlled by the Emiratis. The two major partners in the campaign against the Houthis are backing sides that are at war with each other in southern Yemen - however this is likely to be resolved soon as MBS met Tahnoon bin Zayed, the brother of Mohammed bin Zayed and also his security chief, to tell him to calm the situation down in south Yemen.

    MBS has promised Tahnoon that once he becomes the crown prince (which he now has) he will ditch Hadi and replace him with Khaled Bahah, who is close to the Emiratis - Bahah visited Riyadh recently to reconnect with the new Saudi administration and a full-scale offensive against Islah, the Muslim Brotherhood-related faction in Yemen, is planned to proceed.

    Just expect lots more chaos destruction and proxy wars in Yemen for a long time yet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  7. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Hired gun: Is war with Iran now inevitable under new Saudi crown prince?


    Published time: 22 Jun, 2017 16:19
    Edited time: 23 Jun, 2017 08:16

    Israel and Washington seem to have been instrumental in the rise of Riyadh's new leader, a hot-headed young royal who leaves a trail of havoc behind him. But can they control him?
    In the hilarious novel by Christopher Buckley, 'Thank you for smoking,' the central character, Nick Naylor, works for Big Tobacco as a chief spokesman. The reason why Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using ingenious ploys, was given the job in the first place was due to a blunder he made as a journalist before, where he incorrectly announced live on air the death of the US president.

    His new boss believed Naylor would be brilliant in his new job as he would have so much to prove. Indeed, in one scene Naylor even explains to schoolchildren how smoking isn’t bad for your health.

    It almost seems a fitting description of Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. For those who are only now tuning in to the news from Saudi Arabia, King Salman, 81, gave his court a bit of a surprise when he deposed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef of all his official duties. In his place, the king installed his son, Mohammad bin Salman, 31, as crown prince and heir apparent to the throne.

    By most accounts, the young crown prince was, just three years earlier, an entirely obscure figure whose short period as defense minister was marred by several unfortunate setbacks, including billions of dollars lost in Yemen. Then there was the time he threw his weight behind an oil scheme that resulted in an oil price crash, which has left the Saudi economy decimated.

    The new crown prince really does have an awful lot to prove. But that’s not a good thing.

    Ruthlessly ambitious and an outsider, this makes him dangerous and unpredictable, yet for Donald Trump’s purposes the perfect partner to spearhead his ill-conceived campaign against Iran. Slowly, Trump’s pieces are falling into place in the Middle East, and it is no surprise that the first media in the region to praise Mohammed’s swift takeover of the cherished post was that of Israel.

    Mohammed bin Salman has inherited a country not only at a crossroads in its contemporary history, as it struggles to unshackle itself from oil dependency, but one which appears to be suffocating under its own insecurities, foibles and paranoia. Indeed, the more the House of Saud moves, it seems, the more it appears to be in a permanent state of geopolitical dysfunction. In fact, few analysts, except perhaps for David Ignatius of the Washington Post – who was recently accused of having not an entirely healthy journalistic relationship with the Saudi elite – have failed to notice the country’s blunders in the region. It’s as though almost everything that Riyadh does outside of its borders just turns to ashes. Syria, Yemen and now Qatar.

    Can this absurdly young, aggressive and outlandish new leader, who will take the reigns under an increasingly despondent and frail father as remaining monarch, really help his country? Or is he doomed to push it into the abyss as many regional commentators fear?

    Salman has a reputation as being anti-establishment and desperate to be seen as a reformer. But his haste was his downfall in the past. Despite being hugely popular and very much seen at home as a modernist – who we should remember took away key powers from the religious police and is throwing his weight behind a modernization plan to drag the country into the 21st century – Mohammed’s bold idea to thunder ahead with a military campaign in Yemen was a great error which his adversaries are only too keen to cautiously point out.

    He was also a chief proponent in the 2015 decision to over produce oil in a craven attempt to financially drain US fracking companies – but which in the event failed after a few months and resulted in the oil price crash, which today has taken away much of Riyadh’s clout in the region.

    And it’s that same region where the present king and his son believed would at least provide them with some payback, once Trump came to Riyadh and breathed new life into the kingdom.

    Yet it was Prince Mohammed who led a multi-nation effort to quarantine Qatar over its ties with Iran and support for Islamist groups that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opposed for years.

    Was the Qatar crisis, which is really backfiring on the Saudis, a catalyst for the crown prince to swoop in and take the most powerful job in government or were there other factors?

    It’s not clear at this stage what role the Qatar fiasco played. But what is clearer is that Mohammed bin Salman, who didn’t study in the West like so many of his contemporaries and speaks little English, will take a much harder line both on Qatar and more importantly Iran.

    Consequently, we are almost certainly witnessing both Saudi Arabia and Iran approaching the abyss of a crisis which appears to be almost entirely crafted by Israel, Saudi Arabia and of course America. Indeed, as far as hard-liners go in Riyadh, Trump couldn’t have dreamt up a Saudi leader more suited to his plans to marginalize Iran. Even if it means through military efforts in an all-out war.

    But there are many factors which have rushed his arrival into office as crown prince and heir to his father, King Salman. Many believe his father’s mild dementia might be developing; others point to the catastrophe of Qatar. But most of all, Iran’s perceived threat – which is largely invented to use as a platform to justify a less challenging style of governance and an inflated public image among other GCC states that admire Riyadh’s high defense spending - is at fever pitch.

    Never have the Saudis been so up for a scrap with Iran, but paradoxically, so ill-equipped to execute it. The attack on Iran, although carried out by Al-Qaeda, is believed to have been commissioned by Riyadh. But like almost everything they do, it was also poorly timed and misjudged. The Saudis couldn’t have banked on Iran sending over a bevy of missiles precisely targeting Al-Qaeda groups on the ground in Syria. Said by one Iranian commentator to be a ‘slap’ for Saudi Arabia, the message was clear. We can hit your proxies. And if you persist, we can use the same precision missiles against you on your own soil.

    But the strike must have been music to the ears of those in Riyadh and Washington who actually want a tangible justification to begin a military campaign against Iran.

    Prince Mohammad is not interested in diplomacy with Iran, as he has recently stated quite clearly. And few believe he will change his views on how to deal with the Iran problem.

    It is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts,”said Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH, as quoted by Reuters. “Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies and he [Crown Prince Mohammed] has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.”

    Indeed, his capricious style, which has led his critics to label him as “brash” and one who “starts wars on a whim” is a clear point in his favor to those who helped install him. For it is no accident that a series of bizarre meetings in Washington between Trump’s Middle East experts and Adel al-Jubeir, the highly articulate foreign minister, assisted by officials from the UAE followed by the bizarre provocation in Tehran all point to one thing: his appointment is not solely down to his father’s wishes, but from regional powers – in particular, Israel – which believes that King Salman's son will recognize the Jewish state and open the floodgates of business for the Israelis.

    The crown prince is not merely ambitious. I am told he is ready to do anything to take the Saudi throne when ultimately his father’s health wanes, a claim supported by journalist Jamal Elshayyal of Middle East Eye.

    He is a creation of Washington and Tel Aviv and the recent terrorist attack in Tehran [on June 7, two terrorist attacks were carried out in the Iranian capital, one on the parliament building, and the other at the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomenei, which left 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded], designed to accelerate the process of his passage to supreme power, under the guise of Trump and Netanyahu.

    Qatar threatened to cloud this process of promoting debate, which questioned the fallacious threat of Iran and so needed to be dealt with quickly. Almost certainly the new crown prince will adopt a much tougher strategy against Qatar that may result in a standoff against Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar.

    What we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is not only a cataclysm of rules of dynasty and power, but an intense polarization of the Middle East which is only heading in one direction. Trump’s defense secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis may be alone in warning others in the White House about the perils of fighting Assad’s army in Al-Tanf in Syria, but he seems to have signed off a blueprint for a war with Iranpresumably to garner a wave of military spending from the cabal of Muslim countries, a subject Trump alluded to during a speech in Riyadh.

    But naked ambition, seized upon by other players in the region, might throw the kingdom further into turmoil. There’s a huge amount of gambling going on simply to give the young crown prince his dream of the Saudi throne, which includes a shake up of the intelligence apparatus and a new 28-year-old US ambassador in Washington.

    If you think the Qatar plan was whacky, hold on to your seats for the Iran sequel. We’re all in for a rough ride, and it’s hard to see after Riyadh’s demise both in Yemen and Syria that its own forces will fare well against Iran’s. Even if a coalition of Muslim countries steps up, who is going to lead such a vanguard of its closest allies? Could it be that, like Qatar, there has been a miscommunication between Riyadh and Washington and the new crown prince is expecting US forces to take on the task?

    If that is the case, Mohammed’s dispatch from the corridors of power might be as speedy as his entry, if Trump cannot rein him in and keep him from starting a war with Iran. Otherwise, we may need someone like Nick Naylor to explain to our children what went so disastrously wrong in a movie entitled, 'Thank you for bombing.'

    Martin Jay is based in Beirut and can be followed at @MartinRJay
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  8. The_Hypocrite

    The_Hypocrite Alfrescian (Inf)

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    Uh nephews will always play 2nd fiddle to sons....
     
  9. virus

    virus Alfrescian Old Timer

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    sperm thicker than blood
     
  10. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    From what I gather there has been a paradigm shift in dynamics in matter of weeks. The young turks have gained ascendency in recent years and that should push for others to stake their claim. The region has a history of sons and brothers pushing aside the reigning incumbents in quiet coups so it is on par with the norm. My fascination with Bani Fatima is along these lines. Turkey is now in the mix for the first time and I wonder if the US policy on Kurds and the arming of Peshmerga has pushed the Turks on the road to no return.

    Yemen and the lost of faith for the man they went to war is quite a revelation. For Saudi and UAE, Yemen is core security interest as Cuba is to the US. So it is forgone conclusion it will be long drawn.

    Interestingly I see the the battered and bruised Israeli's economy arising from self-inflicted wounds moving closer to the House of Saud and building bridges.

    The 55 years old Middle East narrative now has to be changed. More interestingly Damascus has moved to its rightful place in history - the centre of each and every Middle East conflict over the centuries.
     
  11. steffychun

    steffychun Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Saudis much clever than a certain family group.
     
  12. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival
    By BEN HUBBARD, JULY 18, 2017

    [​IMG]

    AMMAN, Jordan — As next in line to be king of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef was unaccustomed to being told what to do. Then, one night in June, he was summoned to a palace in Mecca, held against his will and pressured for hours to give up his claim to the throne.

    By dawn, he had given in, and Saudi Arabia woke to the news that it had a new crown prince: the king’s 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman.

    The young prince’s supporters have lauded his elevation as the seamless empowerment of an ambitious leader. But since he was promoted on June 21, indications have emerged that Mohammed bin Salman plotted the ouster and that the transition was rockier than has been publicly portrayed, according to current and former United States officials and associates of the royal family.

    To strengthen support for the sudden change in the line of succession, some senior princes were told that Mohammed bin Nayef was unfit to be king because of a drug problem, according to an associate of the royal family.

    The decision to oust Mohammed bin Nayef and some of his closest colleagues has spread concern among counterterrorism officials in the United States who saw their most trusted Saudi contacts disappear and have struggled to build new relationships.

    And the collection of so much power by one young royal, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has unsettled a royal family long guided by consensus and deference to elders.

    “You may have now such a concentration of power within one branch and within one individual who is also younger than so many of the cousins and sons of former kings that it may begin to create a situation where the family is out of whack,” said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, who studies Persian Gulf politics.

    The insularity of Saudi Arabia’s sprawling and phenomenally wealthy royal family is well known, often leaving diplomats, intelligence agents and members of the family itself struggling to decipher its inner workings.

    But since The New York Times reported last month that Mohammed bin Nayef had been confined to his palace, United States officials and associates of senior royals have provided similar accounts of how the elder prince was pressured to step aside by the younger one. All spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to endanger their contacts inside the kingdom, or themselves.

    In response to questions from The Times, a written statement by a senior Saudi official denied that Mohammed bin Nayef had been pressured and said that the Allegiance Council, a body of senior princes, had approved the change in “the best interest of the nation.”

    The statement said Mohammed bin Nayef was the first to pledge allegiance to the new crown prince and had insisted that the moment be filmed and broadcast. The former crown prince receives guests daily in his palace in Jidda and has visited the king and the crown prince more than once, the statement said.

    The rivalry between the princes began in 2015, when King Salman ascended the throne and bestowed tremendous power on his favorite son.

    Mohammed bin Salman was named deputy crown prince, or second in line to become king, as well as defense minister; put in charge of a powerful economic council; and given oversight of the state oil monopoly, Saudi Aramco.

    Mohammed bin Salman elevated his profile with visits to China, Russia and the United States, where he met with Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, and dined with President Trump in the White House. He has also guided Vision 2030, an ambitious plan for the future of the kingdom that seeks to transform the Saudi economy and improve life for citizens.

    Mohammed bin Salman’s supporters praise him as a hard-working visionary who has addressed the kingdom’s challenges with extraordinary directness. His programs, including increasing entertainment opportunities inside the hyperconservative kingdom, have won him fans among the two-thirds of Saudis who are younger than 30.

    But his critics call him rash and power-hungry, saying he has entangled the country in a costly and so far failed war in Yemen that has killed many civilians, as well as in a feud with Qatar. Neither has a clear exit.

    The prince has risen at the expense of his elder relatives, including Mohammed bin Nayef, 57. As the head of the Saudi Interior Ministry, Mohammed bin Nayef led the dismantling of Al Qaeda in the kingdom after a deadly bombing campaign a decade ago. While he kept a low public profile, even after becoming crown prince in 2015, his work won him allies in the United States and other Western and Arab nations.

    But while his removal struck many as sudden, it had been planned out.

    On the night of June 20, a group of senior princes and security officials gathered at the Safa Palace in Mecca after being informed that King Salman wanted to see them, according to United States officials and associates of the royal family.

    It was near the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, when Saudis were preoccupied with religious duties and many royals had gathered in Mecca before traveling abroad for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. That made it advantageous for a change, analysts said, like a coup on Christmas Eve.

    Before midnight, Mohammed bin Nayef was told he was going to meet the king and was led into another room, where royal court officials took away his phones and pressured him to give up his posts as crown prince and interior minister, according to United States officials and an associate of the royal family.

    At first, he refused. But as the night wore on, the prince, a diabetic who suffers from the effects of a 2009 assassination attempt by a suicide bomber, grew tired.

    Meanwhile, royal court officials called members of the Allegiance Council, a body of princes who are supposed to approve changes to the line of succession. Some were told that Mohammed bin Nayef had a drug problem and was unfit to be king, according to an associate of the royal family.

    For years, close friends of Mohammed bin Nayef had expressed concern about his health, noting that since the assassination attempt, he had experienced lingering pain and shown signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition led him to take medication that some friends worried he had become addicted to.

    “The weight of the evidence I have seen is that he was more injured in the assassination attempt than was admitted and that he then got onto a pain killer routine that was very addictive,” said Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution. “I think that problem got progressively worse.”

    One American official and one adviser to a Saudi royal said Mohammed bin Nayef opposed the embargo on Qatar, a stand that probably accelerated his ouster.

    Sometime before dawn, Mohammed bin Nayef agreed to resign. A video shot afterward shows Mohammed bin Salman kissing his hand.

    “We will never dispense with your instructions and advice,” the younger prince says.

    “Good luck, God willing,” the older prince replies.

    Mohammed bin Nayef then returned to his palace in the Red Sea port city of Jidda, and he was barred from leaving it.

    Also confined to his home was Gen. Abdulaziz al-Huwairini, a colleague of Mohammed bin Nayef who was crucial to the security relationship with the United States, according to current and former United States officials.

    Days later, C.I.A. officials briefed the White House on their concern that the ouster of Mohammed bin Nayef and the possible removal of General Huwairini and other security officers could hamper intelligence sharing, United States officials said.

    The senior Saudi official’s statement said General Huwairini was still in his job and had pledged allegiance to Mohammed bin Salman along with senior officers.

    Mohammed bin Nayef was replaced as interior minister by his 33-year-old nephew, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, who was an adviser to his uncle and who is believed to be close to Mohammed bin Salman.

    The extent of support for the elevation of Mohammed bin Salman in the family remains unclear. Saudi state news media reported that 31 of the 34 members of the Allegiance Council supported the change, but analysts said many royals are hesitant to vote against the king’s wishes.

    Some United States officials and well-connected Saudis say there are rumblings of discontent, and analysts have pointed out hints.

    Neither King Salman nor his son attended the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, even though one of the two men had attended each of the last three meetings. Analysts say that family disputes may have kept the men at home or that they did not want to face criticism for the isolation they and three other Arab states imposed on Qatar.

    The senior Saudi official said King Salman and his predecessor, King Abdullah, had skipped previous Group of 20 meetings.

    Saudis shocked by the changes say they have a lot to lose if splits within the family spill into the open and destabilize the kingdom.

    “It’s not like people are going to go out on the street and say, ‘We want M.B.N.,’ ” said one associate of the royal family, using Mohammed bin Nayef’s initials. “We want this family. We want to preserve them as best we can.”

    Correction: July 19, 2017
    An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the relationship between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Mohammed bin Salman is Mohammed bin Nayef’s cousin, not his nephew.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/...a-mohammed-bin-nayef-mohammed-bin-salman.html
     
  13. JohnTan

    JohnTan Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Thank you.

    This is a huge event because the new crown prince seems like a hawk. When he becomes the next king in a couple of years time, he may even start an outright war with Iran.
     
  14. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Not good at all. The word "impetuous" looms.
     
  15. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    He might not have to wait that long JT - the Israelis are already gearing up because of how entrenched the Revolutionary Guards and their militias are in both Iraq and Syria and if reports are true, MBS has already engaged the Israelis for pre-emptive action although with both the Russians and Americans involved in the ceasefire it makes space to manouevre quite tight for them but their attitude has always been we will act first and then express regret afterwards via their lobbies and proxies in the US, UK and Europe (hasbara):

    Former Netanyahu adviser: Syria cease fire could make Israel-Iran war 'inevitable'
    Joel GehrkeJul 17, 2017, 2:43 PM

    War between Israel and Iran could be "inevitable" by the end of the Syrian civil war, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's former national security adviser.

    Iran is trying to build "an air base in Syria" and provide additional weaponry to terrorists in Lebanon in an apparent effort to threaten Israel from two directions, according to the Netanyahu ally. This fear has been brewing in U.S. and Israeli circles for years, but the Israelis think the terms of a nascent Syria cease-fire negotiated by the Trump administration, Russia and Jordan exacerbates the danger.

    "Israel should take care for its strategic goal and this is to prevent the Iranians and Hezbollah from building launching pads in Syria," Yaakov Amidror, who counseled Netanyahu from 2011 to 2013, told reporters on a conference call hosted by The Israel Project. "If [the Iranians] begin to build infrastructure which might be used against Israel in Syria and will connect this land corridor into Iraq and begin to move materials from this area into Syria, that will make the war inevitable."

    U.S. officials in both parties have raised the same concerns. "A permanent Iranian military base in Syria, potentially near the border with Israel or Jordan, would increase Iran's operational capacity to inflict serious damage against two of our closest allies in the region," Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., wrote in a May letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    Netanyahu lobbied throughout the talks for Russia and the United States to keep Iran away from Israel's border and said Russian forces ought not to be trusted to police the southern Syria safe zone. But Israeli officials say their position was ignored in the final agreement.

    "The agreement as it is now is very bad," an official told Haaretz. "It doesn't take almost any of Israel's security interests and it creates a disturbing reality in southern Syria. The agreement doesn't include a single explicit word about Iran, Hezbollah or the Shi'ite militias in Syria."

    Russia and Iran have fought to protect Syrian President Bashar Assad for years, particularly after then-President Barack Obama declined to attack the Syrian regime in 2013 in response to Assad's use of chemical weapons. Tillerson's cease-fire negotiations may have been influenced by the Trump administration's overall determination to limit U.S. military deployments to Syria.

    "They picked the best small footprint option that they could for the maximum amount of impact," House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told the Washington Examiner in June. "Meaning: small troop numbers, heavy involvement with our partners. But in the long run, I don't know if that's going to be successful."

    Nunes and other lawmakers worry the United States will succeed in defeating the Islamic State in Syria, only to see Iran gain long-term strategic benefits from its decision to partner with Russia in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. Amidror hinted that Israel might tolerate some sort of Iranian presence in Syria that didn't impinge on Israeli security, but emphasized they will use their "military capability" to "destroy "enemy forces too close to their border.

    "If that will not be taken into account by the those who are making those arrangements, the Americans the Russians and others, that might lead the IDF to intervene and to destroy every attempt to build infrastructure in Syria," the retired Israeli military intelligence general said. "We will not let the Iranians and Hezbollah to be the forces which will win from the long and very brutal war in Syria and to move the focus into Israel."
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  16. JohnTan

    JohnTan Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Israel will be on their own.

    For that past few decades, american design making process in their foreign policy have been flawed. They messed up in Cuba, allowed the narco cartels to rise up, screwed up in vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, global war on terror. America has lost many times on the global diplomatic map. But they got away with it each time due to their immense wealth and military, which allows their many mistakes to not turn into a major national catastrophe each time.

    The yankees have already lost iraq, which is now firmly in Iran's orbit. The yanks still don't get it that soft power, especially of religion, plays a far larger role in capturing territory than just raw military might. To the yanks, they are still fighting wars based on people wearing uniforms.

    At some point, israel will have to make painful decisions regarding its own national security, especially with its immediate neighbours brazenly wanting its extermination.
     
  17. gatehousethetinkertailor

    gatehousethetinkertailor Alfrescian Old Timer

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    They already do act on their own...

    Mic blunder: Netanyahu ‘admits Israel carried out dozens of strikes on Hezbollah convoys’

    Published time: 19 Jul, 2017 15:37 Edited time: 19 Jul, 2017 15:44

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that Israel carried out dozens of attacks against Hezbollah arms convoys in Syria, oblivious to the fact that his remarks were being picked up by a live mic and relayed to reporters, Haaretz reported.
    "We blocked the border not only in Egypt but in the Golan Heights," Netanyahu reportedly said during a closed session with the premiers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia in Budapest on Wednesday.

    "We built the wall because there was a problem with ISIS [Islamic State/IS] and Iran trying to build a terror front there. I told [Russian President] Putin, when we see them [Iran/IS] transferring weapons to Hezbollah, we will hurt them. We did it dozens of times," he said, as quoted by Haaretz.

    Netanyahu focused most of his energy during the meeting on bashing the EU, accusing it of "crazy" behavior due to conditions put on its relationship with Israel over the Palestinian peace process.

    “The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” Netanyahu reportedly said.

    Although the remarks were not intended to be relayed to the press, they were accidentally transmitted to reporters through headphones.

    “It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy,” he continued, referring to Brussels' insistence that Tel Aviv must meet certain terms related to the Palestinian peace process for steps to be made with the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

    “It’s not about my interest. I’m talking about Europe’s interest," he said, as quoted by Haaretz.
    Netanyahu went on to stress that Israel has a "special relationship with China," and that Beijing doesn't care about political issues.

    He went on to urge the leaders to use their influence on the EU to persuade the bloc to ease conditions related to Israel, asking them to "help us and help Europe in expediting the EU Association Agreement."

    The Israeli prime minister went on to reiterate that he believes there is "no logic" in the EU's behavior.

    "The EU is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining its connection with Israeli innovation by a crazy attempt to create conditions,” he said.

    At that point, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – who himself has clashed with Brussels on a number of issues, including his decision to build a barbed wire fence to keep refugees out of his country – interrupted.

    “Mr. Netanyahu, the European Union is even more unique. The EU places conditions on the ones already inside the EU, not only the countries on the outside.”

    In response, Netanyahu said he believes "Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear. I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth. Both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel."

    He added that Israel is "part of the European culture," and noted that Israel even manages to have ties with Arab countries.

    “The Arabs speak with us. They speak with us about technology and everything we're talking about here,” Netanyahu said.

    The hot-mic transmission was discovered and shut down “within a few minutes,” Haaretz reported.

    The EU-Israel Association Agreement stipulates that relations between the EU and Israel "shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles," with that point being deemed an "essential element" of the deal.

    The EU-Israel Association Council has not met since July 2012. It was expected that it would meet in March to take steps to advance the agreement process, but those talks never took place. Some diplomats cited by the Jerusalem Post said its delay was tied to EU frustration with Israel over settlement activity.
     
  18. scroobal

    scroobal Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Israel has a very clear and long standing deterrence and pre-emptive policy that has not even been nuanced over 70 years. No matter which party, coalition or PM is in power, the playbook is the same. There is no such thing as "imminent" in their lexicon. When the World reacted over the invasion of Kuwait, the first thing the World did was to contain Israel with assurance and weapons to stop a second front even been contemplated by its enemies or Sadam.

    And what is however in their language is "strange bedfellows".
     
  19. mojito

    mojito Alfrescian Old Timer

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    What about sinkie king? Will he oust nephew in favour of son too? :confused:
     

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