Is US trying to overthrow Bin Salman
This heading by itself is incredulous. One of the basic tenets of US and western control of Middle East is the US, Saudi relationship. This relationship is the corner stone of US policy and control in Middle East. This relationship has existed since 1920s when Saudi Arabia was established. This relationship meant that US supplied sophisticated weapons and intelligence to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia in turned pumped oil according to US and western needs. It controlled OPEC. In addition western companies embarked on massive phantom projects in Saudi Arabia and milked back the oil wealth. Saudi regime in turn made sure the majority of middle east toed its line . It controlled other Arab and Muslim countries by its stipends from oil wealth and control of Islamic holy sites Mecca and Medina . Occasionally it used its oil power to achieve certain "concessions" from US such as Israeli- Egyptian peace treaty which actually served US interests. Saudi's main strategy is to protect western interests in middle east and keep nationalist Arab leaders such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein at bay. Saudi Arabia has cooperated with US in every efforts to topple nationalist leaders in middle east. In addition Saudi Arabia Israel safe from nationalist leaders. Saudi Arabia paid lip service to Palestinian cause. So how did this incredulous situation arise?
First of all was the emergence of two leaders in both US and Saudi Arabia who do not fit in to the category of normal US or Saudi leaders. Trump believes in achieving foreign policy goals by threatening and open attacks. Mohamed Bin Salman on the other hand believes in moving Saudi Arabia from its traditional dependency on oil and Wahabi Islamic control. Bin Salman knows that to survive in the 21st century , Saudi Arabia has to be modernized and its educated unemployed has to get jobs. Furthermore the oil prices crashed in 2007.. due to oil glut generated by US shale companies. US was at that point was on course to become world's largest oil producer. This led to Saudi Arabia establishing relationships with Non OPEC countries such as Russia. At the same time internally Bin Salman consolidated his power. Previously Saudi Kings were like CEOs of a business with princes as share holders. They paid off hundreds of princes with hefty stipends. But this changed with Bin Salman. He got rid his rivals such as former interior minister and crown prince Nayef and Prince Miteb the commander of National guard with tacit Trump support. Traditionally interior ministry and national guard were the US counterweights to the King. US suddenly lost all its bargaining chips within Saudi Royal Family and became totally dependent on Bin Salman and his father Kind Salman. Trump was promised a Saudi- Israeli peace treaty and business opportunities and IPO for Aramco. Aramco which is the Saudi oil company is worth trillions of dollars.
However Bin Salman along with Russia slowly stabilized the oil price at the level which helped Saudi Arabia to balance its budget. Internally Bin Salman became the absolute leader. Other princes who were a threat to Bin Salman were detained and large amounts were " shaken" out of them. Prominent among them is Prince Alwaleed who is the richest person in middle east. Alwaleed has extensive business relationship with US and Western multinationals. In addition Saudi Arabia built relationship with Russia and China which were historically considered atheists and enemies. Young princes were appointed to key positions instead of old pro US princes. Trump tolerated these actions even though they hurt US interests in the hope of realizing Bin Salman's promises.
But Bin Salman has not kept his promises. Aramco IPO has been shelved. Trump went ahead with sanctions on Iran and Saudi Arabia did not replenish the markets.. Oil price remains high to the extent of even damaging Trump's mid term elections. In addition Shale production has gone down and many shale companies have gone bust. Although US benefited by supplying arms to Saudi Arabia for its Yemen war , now Saudi Arabia is looking at producing it's own armaments with the help of South African companies. In addition Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia to buy S400 defense system instead of $15 billion THAAD system produced by US Lockhead Martin. Purchase of the THAAD system was allegedly promised to Trump along with an alleged promise to be part of New NATO in middle east. Trump went and boasted that Saudis are buying $100 billion worth of arms. Along with Pakistan, Saudis are involved in China's silk road project. King Salman has promised Palestinians that Saudis will not sign a separate peace treaty with Israel. Basically , Bin Salman has diversified economy and military from dependence on US and Western countries. Other projects such $200 billion project with Soft bank of Japan has been shelved. Saudification of jobs has led to thousands of western expatiates losing jobs. Quarrel with Qatar and Yemen war have shown US and Western countries impotence in influencing Saudi policy. In other words Saudi Arabia under Bin Salman is no longer a US or western vassal state. It has it's own foreign partners and policies.
US and Western countries considered Saudi Arabia as a vassal state which pumped oil whenever they wanted. Current situation is untenable. Losing control of Saudi Arabia is a red line for US and West. Reaction started with western media attacking Bin Salman as a dictator although there are many other dictators or unsavory leaders who are friends of west. West through UN started attacking Saudi policies in Yemen war. These policies which have led to famine and killing of children are abhorrent. But it is US and Western intelligence provided to Saudi air force which led to the attacks on children. One could suspect that US and West are deliberately giving false intelligence to Saudis to undermine them or to become more dependent on West. Now Trump has started openly attacking Saudi King for not pumping more oil. Khashgoggi case is another case where Trump administration is openly attacking Saudi leaders. Khashgoggi is not just a journalist. He was an intelligence peddler working as a journalist. He had intelligence on every leader in middle east and US and Western leaders involved in middle east. US media is even stating that US intelligence picked up communication which shows that Saudi top leaders ordered the kidnapping of Khashgoggi. US will never release intelligence on it's allies unless it has turned against the ally and prepared to overthrow the regime. Saudi government has stated that Khashgoggi was killed by a rogue unit. It is becoming more clear that many intelligence agencies were aware of and were monitoring this operation. They did not protect Khashgoggi. Turkish intelligence had Saudi consular office wire tapped and monitored the conversation. But did not intervene. US and possibly British MI6 were aware of the plan and did not intervene. It looks the whole operation was being allowed to happen so that Bin Salman can be blamed or compromised.
Attacks and threats by Trump administration are a classical sign of a regime change is prepared. Immediate objective is to persuade King Salman to remove crown prince mohammed bin salman. Failing that an assassination attempt to be blamed on ISIS or even a military coup. There are many Saudi generals trained by US and princes close to US. Khashgoggi was very close to Prince Turki bin Faisal and former intelligence chief. There is of course the possibility of Salmans paying off Trump to survive. But the current situation has gone beyond normal business of US criticism and normal case of paying off.
22nd of October 2018