Reprinted from Asia Times
It's fascinating to watch the vast, well-rewarded western army of Saudi lobbyists/stenographers singing the praises of a "traditional and conservative institution," a.k.a., the House of Saud, now embarking on a new, "assertive foreign policy."
As this concerns the ideological matrix of all Salafi-jihadi variations in the demented galaxy of Wahhabi extremism, I'd rather call it a Mob rule update. Not nearly as entertaining as Coppola's Godfather saga, but certainly more sinister.
Imagine the outrage, broadcasted to distant galaxies, if this was taking place in certified opponents of the Empire of Chaos such as Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Russia or China. But as the House of Saud are "our bastards," complete with a minister, Ali al-Naimi, capable of saying that Allah should set oil prices, they can get away with literally anything.
New House of Saud capo di tutti I cap i, King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, must have been brushing up on his Al Pacino to learn how to be swift as a dagger. Lesson learned; with a single move, he achieved the following:
He got rid of his half-brother and sitting Crown Prince, Muqrin. Muqrin duly pledged allegiance to the new boss.
He promoted his nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, from No. 3 to No. 2 in the House of Saud succession line.
He promoted his own son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to No. 3.
He got rid of the former, eternal, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and placed a Washington darling, the non-royal Adel al-Jubeir, who as ambassador to the U.S. has been the voice, in English, not lost in translation, of the (illegal) Saudi war on Yemen.
He gave the entire military and security forces a bonus of one-month's pay.
He separated the Saudi Oil Ministry from ARAMCO, the state-owned oil company. Gotta try to balance the books -- especially with the Saudi-instigated oil price war going nowhere; the ridiculously expensive war on Yemen; and all those huge bonuses to content the subjects; after all, virtually everyone in the oil hacienda works for the House of Saud. It was Salman's son, Mohammed bin Salman, who came up with the oil ministry/ARAMCO scheme.
Married to the Mob, remixed
Here's what the world needs to know about the Mob rule update.
Let's start with the "youthful" Prince Mohammed bin Salman (What's not to like? Fawning western hagiographers gleefully speculate over his age like he's a precious damsel in distress, not a black-bearded hunk. Anything goes, but not upwards of 35.)
The Royal Youthful "wields enormous power" and as defense minister has been prosecuting the (illegal) bombing/war/"kinetic operation" on Yemen. The king himself vaunted his "massive capabilities." Saudi sources tell me he's been a (incompetent) cross of Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, with no Austin Powers to save his day. Although he's a pop star and a TV celebrity inside the Mob hacienda, he's convinced absolutely no one -- from Egypt to Pakistan -- to send troops to "his" war.
For his new No. 3 role, according to the official spin, he gained "support from the vast majority of members of the Council of Allegiance." The operative word here is "vast majority." This implies Muqrin's people were a tad uncomfortable. The Council of Allegiance is a group of 35 descendants of the Mob founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud.