Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Indians Seeking Saudi Citizenship?

From Indian Express, Indians rush to get Saudi citizenship. This is a regime that kills innocent people and kills them viciously. Why these Indians want citizenship of this civillizational desert is beyond our comprehension?

Perhaps these myopics should read the following from Stratfor:

Rumors swept through Kuwait on Tuesday that King Fahd bin Abdel-Aziz al Saud had died. Fahd has not truly governed Saudi Arabia for several years because of his deteriorated physical condition -- Crown Prince Abdullah manages daily affairs -- and his health had been reported as declining for several weeks. The rumors were not properly denied by the people you would expect to deny them. Throughout the day, we were left with the impression that if death had not occurred, it was imminent.

The succession to the top is fairly clear. Abdullah, a half-brother to the king who also heads the National Guard, will become king upon Fahd's death. Prince Sultan, the head of the Ministry of Defense, is the King's full brother and will dominate the Sudairi clan of the Sauds. Abdullah and Sultan are personal and institutional rivals. Sultan is expected to be named crown prince after Fahd's death and Abdullah's elevation. The Sudairis must be concerned that Abdullah will weaken their power.

There is no question but that Abdullah will ascend to the throne, and Sultan is by far the most likely to become crown prince at that point. But likely is not certain: The al-Faisal branch of the royal family -- descended from King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975 -- would like to make a comeback. The key to that is holding the position of crown prince. If the crown prince is not a Sudairi, the political balance of power in the royal family would shift dramatically. A fight for the position of crown prince, should it be intense, would be destabilizing as well.

The royal family has a vested interest in not permitting instability to break out, of course. The recent confrontation with jihadists in the kingdom, the tremendous instability in the region and the need to use high oil prices to stabilize and improve the kingdom's economy make it rational for the princes to work this out. And they might well succeed in doing that. But it should be noted that the heirs of King Fahd are themselves not young men. Most are in their 70s. That means that there is a massive generational shift coming soon, and that stability at that point likely will be much more difficult to maintain.

It must be remembered that Saudi Arabia remains the key oil supplier in the world and a key player in the Arab and Islamic world; therefore, the succession has global implications. It should also be noted that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington has just said that the United States does not, at the moment, have the resources to effectively prosecute a major war outside of Iraq, without a major buildup of forces.

Since a major buildup would require a great deal of time, what is being said is that the United States is in no position to intervene should the situation in Saudi Arabia blow apart. There is little risk of that at the moment, and Fahd's death, by itself, would not trigger instability. But down the road a bit, the Saudis will have to sort things out -- and when that happens, things will get dicey.

Instability in Saudi Arabia certainly would be of global significance, but the cop on the beat is tired.

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