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05 November 2017


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Cleaning house in the name of corruption by a 32 year old member of the lucky sperm club who has spent nearly a billion dollars on homes, yachts, cars, planes and other lavish spending alone. Perfect opportunity for the Shias to preempt his next move, though the Iranians are probably more amused by the opportunity MBS’s delusional thinking holds for them.

ancient archer

This consolidation of power was bound to come when the time came for the old guard to give way to the new. As luck has it, it is Mohammad bin Salman not Mit-ab Abdullah who is the next king. It could very easily have been the other a few years ago. And as is the norm with successions of this sort, other potential claimants to the throne either go to the prison or to the netherworld. Nothing special here.

The worry here is that everyone seems to be gearing up for war. Israel, after seeing their whole campaign against Syria breaking down, making statements that it will go into Syria to protect a Druze village. Saudi making threats about cutting off the Iranian hand. Lots of visits of middle east potentates, from King Salman to Netanyahu to Moscow where they were politely told to f*ck off (I suppose). All this along with the war in Syria winding down with lots of ex-ISIS gently changing their side to the US supported SDF (can't think of a more oxymoronic name, neither Syrian, nor democratic and not much of a force either without US air support)

The situation in the middle east seems very similar to what it would have felt like in Europe before world wars I and II. Alliances being formed and everyone just loading their guns and waiting. We might still yet avoid the big one - Israel + Saudi + allies (maybe with the US, maybe not) against the Iranians and their allies (including SAA and Hezbollah but most probably with the Russians not taking a side).

It benefits the Israelis and the Saudis to push this to the brink and let the war start now. The other side would prefer to wait, patiently as they have done for the last many years. The key player here would be the US. Trump is the only one who can pull back barking Netanyahu from his mad dog war by not playing along. But will he?

Babak Makkinejad

He is utilizing the same play book as Xi Ping of China.
In regards to his grand ambitions, he will fail since the material, organizational, and intellectual elements for their realization do not exist in Saudi Arabia. But the Faranji will stoke him and take his money, laughing and joking about this new Ifi Ami.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

"...his follow up move will probably be to purge the Shia clergy..."

Isn't it more likely that it will be the Sunni clergy he'll purge first?

Pacifica Advocate

What will a purge of the Eastern Province's Shia clergy look like?

And please forgive me for asking--beyond oil politics, I am utterly ignorant about anything within Saudi Arabia--but what power do the Eastern provinces' Shia clergy wield? Do those have any kind of political recourse within the house of Saud, or are their only choices violent rebellion / utter subjugation?


FB Ali

it could go either way but he probably sees the Shia clergy as Iranian subversives. pl



They have no recourse except rebellion. pl

Babak Makkinejad

It is a grudge match that will not alter the strategic situation.
As per usual, Arabs will be losers in any case; reprising their history since 1945.
I do feel sorry for the Arab people, and those non-Arabs dragged by them into these fruitless policies.

Babak Makkinejad

Not even that, which would be suicidal.

Pacifica Advocate

God bless them.

Babak Makkinejad

The whole world is in the situation analogous to what obtained in Europe between 1886 and 1914, with the Middle East being the Global Balkans.
The danger, in my opinion, lies mostly amonh the Olympians of the Western Gortress - they are clearly vety prone to miscalculation.


I think Kushner's trip gives this a US meaning as well:


The Arabs have a recourse - some are exercising it now by streaming into Europe. I have some new Syrian neighbors from a few years back as well. The only voting that matters is with your feet, your wallet or your rifle (knife, sword, spear?). And somebody always has a bigger or more guns, so that vote is always the most risky to cast.



My reference was to the Shia Arabs of the Eastern Province. They have no recourse other than rebellion. pl


Things just got a whoooole lot crazier.


Prince Bin-Muqrin was the descendant of the Prince who was replaced by Bin Salman. If this was a staged incident it was an incredibly stupid one. Nobody's going to believe it was an accident without 100% proof positive.


in historical monarchies that followed primogeniture this was common practice upon a change in succession.

the saudi, might be one of the only (if not the only) major monarchy in history that has had several lateral succession among brothers. rather than continuously from father to son.

while the timing is indicative, and "cleaning house" would be a prerequisite for starting any major conflagration, i see it as far less telling than the harari show for instance.

and on top of the MBS does not have a very good tract record of making good decisions and planing and executing them well.



So they are going to enjoy European freedom that they did nothing to earn but show up with a bag of money or a refugee story? How's that currently working out for the Europeans? I've seen read that plenty them don't like that open border policy at all.

robt willmann


I just saw the report about the helicopter crash involving Saudis shortly ago. The New York Times newspaper plugged it into an article near the bottom about the shakeup in the Saudi ruling family--


Surprisingly, fairly near the top, the article quotes Chas Freeman, probably because the article originated out of the Times' London bureau. Here in the states in the mass media, Mr. Freeman's exceptional knowledge and experience is not welcome--

"It is the coup de grâce of the old system," said Chas W. Freeman, a former United States ambassador. "Gone. All power has now been concentrated in the hands of Mohammad bin Salman."

Since you never know in a NY Times article where a pertinent sentence might be, here is one further down the page, under the invisible subheading, coincidences--

"Three White House advisers, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner [who were the other two?], returned just days ago from the latest in at least three high-level Trump administration visits to Saudi Arabia this year."

Then, still further down, under the same subheading, the helicopter crash is mentioned, beginning, in classic NY Times fashion, with: "In what appeared to be an unrelated episode…."--

"In what appeared to be an unrelated episode, a helicopter carrying another Saudi royal, Prince Mansur bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir Province, which borders Yemen, was killed on Sunday along with a number of other officials when their helicopter crashed. Al Arabiya, which reported the crash in a brief dispatch, did not identify the cause."

If I am interpreting the chart of the Saudi ruling family correctly, posted by Col. Lang above, the person killed, Muqrin, is the brother of King Salman, and was a former "crown prince".

As'ad AbuKhalil, who grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and teaches at California State University at Stanislaus, wrote some commentary on the situation--


AbuKhalil does raise the issue that if there is a big anti-corruption campaign going on, a name that has not been raised for discussion is one "Bandar Bush" bin Sultan.



IMO what we're seeing are the Saudis and Israelis working in concert to prep the ground for another ME war, this one directed at Saudi's rival Iran and what it sees as Iran's puppet (Hizballah). Saudi will use their influence ($$$$) upon their Muktahr on one side, and the Israelis will use their paid 5th column inside America's religious societies to prep the American citizenry on the other side that it is 'necessary' that there be another ME war, this one at the evil rival of their Hegemony called Iran.

Saudis and Israelis are playing both sides against the middle, and we the American citizenry are what they see as the Oreo creme in the middle to be molded at their whim.

And of course none of the American religious leadership's kids and grand-kids will be spilling their blood, just our kids whom both the Saudis and Israelis see as cannon fodder.



I was in Kenya a few years ago and my guides were telling me that 3 opposition leaders had died in 3 different plane crashes in the last 10 years. Kenyans have much more liberty and ability to protest than the Saudis. The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must - especially in KSA.


Thank you for this analysis Colonel, I don't know anything about the specifics of House Saud and nothing I read from MSM reports since this has happened have told me anything,except summing it up as "anti corruption" or some other BS without any context whatsoever....how deeply in the dark hole of mis/disinformation we are kept.


Actually, succession via a line of brothers, or agnatic seniority, is quite common in the Gulf. While the family tree above is useful, it doesn't really show what you need to look for, which is the potential line of brothers that form up beside Muhammad bin Salman.
Essentially, what we are seeing is the long-expected "extinguishing" of the Sudairi 7 line of brothers, with Salman's descendants maneuvering to form the new line of succession. Salman's older brother Nayef and his sons also gave it a shot, but they were shut out. For now, anyway...



It also appears those with close ties/affiliations with the Bush's and the Clinton's were uprooted.

Dr. Puck

Whose boots hit the ground in war-making against Iran? Not the KSA; probably not any frontline USA infantry or SF? Only an air and cruise missile war?

What would a winnable war look like that would set Iran's overall military capabilities back 'far enough' without causing it to be another ME failed state?


robt, not that it matters.

I read AbuKhalil's 2002 book, but admittedly I am highly hesitant about his BDS position. To the extend it makes me wonder about the guy more generally. I have to admit that I am with Norman Finkelstein in this context. His versus Norman's position seems to plays into the hands of Israel.


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