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The Coming Fracture Of Saudi Arabia

Salman bin Abdul Aziz

The Bible’s book of Galatians, VI teaches, «as you sow, so shall you reap». And for Saudi Arabia, which has overtly and covertly supported rebellions in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Lebanon that have led to civil wars and inter-religious strife, the day of reckoning may soon be at hand. The present Saudi king, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is the last of the sons of the first Saudi king, Abdul Aziz al Saud, who will ever sit on the Saudi throne. After Salman dies, Saudi leadership will pass to a new generation of Saudi royals. But not all the descendants of the first Saudi king are happy about how the future succession may turn out.

Salman named his nephew, Mohammed bin Nayef, as crown prince after firing his half-brother, Mugrin bin Abdul Aziz, as crown prince after the death of King Abdullah in 2015. For good measure, Salman also named his son, Mohammad bin Salman, who is little-known outside the kingdom, as deputy prime minister. The 30-year old Mohammad bin Salman is seen by some as the eventual crown prince after King Salman figures out some way to ease Mohammad bin Nayef, the Interior Minister and close friend of the United States, out of the position of heir apparent to the throne.

More and more power has been concentrated into Mohammad bin Salman’s hands, including control over the Defense Ministry, the Council of Economy and Development, and the Saudi government-owned Arabian-American oil company (ARAMCO). The deputy crown prince and defense minister is the architect of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen and continued Saudi support for jihadist guerrillas in Syria and Iraq, as well as military support for the Wahhabist royal regime in Bahrain in its bloody suppression of the Shi’a Muslim majority population. Mohammad bin Salman is also the major force in Saudi Arabia seeking a military confrontation with Iran.

There is a schism within the Saudi royal family that has created a real-life «Game of Thrones» within the kingdom. The first Saudi king had between 37 and 44 sons from a harem of 22 wives. One of these sons, 85-year old Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, also known as the «Red Prince» for his support for a national constitution and Western-style rule of law separated from Muslim sharia law, is suspicious about the concentration of power in the hands of Salman’s family, which comes at the expense of the other princes with a political claim inside the monarchy. Prince Talal is not alone.

Related: Erasing The Glut: Is 1.8 Million Bpd Enough?

Power in Saudi Arabia has generally resided with the seven sons of King Abdulaziz and Hassa bin Ahmed, which include present King Salman. These sons are commonly known as the «Sudairi Seven». They included the late King Fahd; the late Crown Princes Sultan and Nayef; the former deputy defense ministers Abdul Rahman and Turki and Interior Minister Ahmed, all removed from succession; and King Salman. In addition to the families of the other sons of the Saudi founder, the families of the «Sudairi Six», minus Salman’s family, are intensely jealous of the power being conveyed to deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. When Salman dies, many observers of secretive Saudi royal politics expect to see a succession battle that might even result in a royal civil war.

And a civil war among competing Saudi royals can easily become one between various Saudi regions. Thus, the fracturing of Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen brought about by Saudi adventurism may come back to haunt the Saudis in a major way.

The first Saudi region that can be expected to take advantage of a Saudi royal family split is the Eastern Region, which is known formally as the Eastern Province and is ruled by Saud bin Nayef, a son of the late Crown Prince Nayef from the provincial capital of Dammam. When King Abdullah died in 2015, Saud bin Nayef was passed over for Crown Prince by his younger brother, Mohammad bin Nayef. Although both brothers are nephews of King Salman, Saud may still harbor a resentment against his uncle for stripping him of the chance to become king. A full-blown Saudi civil war may begin in the Eastern Region, which is not only the center of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry with thousands of expatriate workers, but also the home to what may be either a slim majority or very significant minority of Shi’a Muslims.

The Saudi government has never wanted to conduct a religious census of the country because it might not like the results, especially in the Eastern Province. In 2009, popular Shi’a leader Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was arrested by Saudi authorities for advancing the idea that the Eastern Region should secede from Saudi Arabia. In 2015, amid an international outcry of condemnation for its action, Saudi Arabia executed al-Nimr. Expect the Eastern Region to the first to openly revolt against the Saudi government in the event the current «Game of Thrones» turns into a «War of Thrones».

The next region to revolt against the monarchy would be Asir, the southwest area that borders northern Yemen, in addition to two neighboring Saudi regions. Asir is the home to a significant minority of Zaidi Muslims. The Saudi regime has been waging a genocidal campaign against the Asir Zaidis’ cousins on the Yemeni side of the border, the Houthi rebels, who are also Zaidis.

Houthi rebels have launched several military attacks, including missile barrages, on Saudi targets in Asir, as well as the Saudi border regions of Jizan and Najran, in the hope that they might ignite a Zaidi uprising in the southern Saudi regions. There have been reports during the Yemeni civil war that Houthi forces seized, at least temporarily, a few Saudi villages in Asir, Najran, and Jizan. Open rebellions by Zaidis in Asir, Najran, and Jizan, along with a Shi’a rebellion in the Eastern region, may be too much for the Saudi armed forces to handle, especially if it is split along competing allegiances to rival princes and throne claimants.

Related: Can OPEC Send Oil To $70?

Intervention in a Saudi civil war by the United States and NATO would be guaranteed to result in a costly outcome for the West in terms of body bags, sabotage of oil installations, and a multi-billion-dollar financial drain. The probability that Yemen would see the restoral of an independent South Yemen and a battle for control of northern Yemen between Houthis and remnants of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government would entail Western troops also engaging in a protracted civil war in another huge chunk of the Arabian Peninsula. Even the most-warlike members of the Donald Trump administration would likely not want to become mired in a major Arabian imbroglio.

Widespread conflict in Saudi Arabia might also result in the regions of Mecca and Medina becoming an independent entity with the primary responsibility of protecting the Islamic holy places and ensuring safe access for Muslim pilgrims. The Organization of Islamic Conference and other non-Wahhabi influenced Islamic organizations may become vehicles by which the two holy cities are governed as a «neutral zone» unaffected by Saudi turmoil and Wahhabist religious radicalism.


Other regions of Saudi Arabia that would likely spin off include the Northern Borders region adjacent to Iraq and Tabuk, which lies along the southern Jordanian border and the Gulf of Aqaba. Tabuk might seek some form of security protection from both Jordan and Israel to remain aloof from armed confrontation between Saudi factions. The Northern Borders region might seek a similar accommodation with Iraq.

The real battle for control of Saudi Arabia would be mostly centered in Riyadh province, for the keys to the kingdom, or what remains of it, would be found in control of the Saudi capital city of Riyadh. In any event, a Saudi civil war would be best left to the regional actors to sort things out. Any outside intervention would certainly make matters much worse and could develop into a wider regional or world war.

By Zerohedge

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  • Bill on December 15 2016 said:
    If oil gets disrupted from Saudi Arabia, the world will be experiencing the Second Great Depression within a year.
    NATO, the USA, and possibly China, would have to invade, and seize the oil fields no matter how many thousand troops or civilians get killed. They would need to reach an agreement to allocate the production. If Putin and Iran team up to try and take it all, get ready for global thermonuclear war, after which, there will be no demand for oil for a few hundred years, if ever.
  • Sonny on December 17 2016 said:
    Iran and Russia should get bussy and train and arm the shia southern part of Saudi Arabia as a payback to Syria , they already successfully armed the houthis in Yemen now they should sow trouble in the kingdom to split it up otherwise get ready for more and more bloodshed across the region as long as the islamic terrorist state of Saudi arabia remains strong and rich .
  • haha on December 18 2016 said:
    your are just hateful of saudis, you wish it happens as it is mentioned here, but it is just a dream, wake up. Don't be more smart than enough, that is dumm
  • MoreFreedom on December 18 2016 said:
    You can't have freedom and the prosperity that comes with it, unless you are first willing to give freedom to others. And it seems there are few in Saudi Arabia that are willing.

    Zerohedge also doesn't mention the Saudi budget and the impact of cutting it, raising domestic prices for gasoline, electricity, natural gas and water. Or how that affects their citizens willingness to support the government. Raising prices for Saudi citizens won't help, but they've really no choice.

  • Saba on December 18 2016 said:
    The burn will reach all including the outside snakes plotting their evil plans. Above all, God is on control, like it or not.
  • John on December 19 2016 said:
    ZH has been totally wrong for years. They have predicted disaster for years and its their trademark nonsense that drives traffic to them. Anyone who buys and sells based on their "expertise" has lost big time on...US stocks, gold, interest rates and oil.
  • ali on December 28 2016 said:
    its a poor report and based on false information's, I believe that the writer has not visited Saudi Arabia as he said about Asir and Zaidi people who are living there which is totally wrong and there is nothing called Zaidi in Asir, I wish that the writer can be more neutral .
  • James Mooney on December 30 2016 said:
    And about time. Horrible country - the Real source of global terrorism with their rotten Wahabbism. And besides being a hotbed of terrorism, a woman without a veil can be legally raped for not having one, then whipped for being raped. Our wonderful "allies." Every Saudi "Prince" should have been strangled in the cradle.
  • James Mooney on December 30 2016 said:
    We mustn't assume a Russia/US conflict if KSA fragments. The current Neolib admin is pushing the Red Scare to excuse its dismal electoral showing, but the incoming admin does not want the war with Russia the neolibs were hot for. It would make more sense for Russia, China, and the US to seize the oil fields from these rotten Saudi princes, who have used oil money to terrorize the world and oppress their own people. Probably the first Justified intervention in the Middle East.

    Besides, in Syria, the Russians have shown themselves to be Much more effective than the US in battling an insurgency.
  • Eddie on December 31 2016 said:
    I support this article. KSA is facing unprecedented challenges. The high oil price has not led to a kingdom that has prepared for its future without massive oil revenues. The very large royal family of over 5,000 royals plus the large Saudi population have been fed largely by government generosity.

    Appointing a young prince without much experience does cause tension with many others in the royal family. There are many who have more experience.

    2017 will show more of what is going to happen to KSA.
  • Joseph Westphal on January 01 2017 said:
    While KSA is indeed in a very precarious point, the article is a pastiche of superficial ideas, as well as conjecture. The author has cobbled together a number of thoughts which appear in various articles, but the author has not him/herself actually done any independent thinking. How can anyone trust an author who uses a pen-name? If the author had any scholarly training, s/he would use a real name and there would be solid education to back it up.
  • Julie Deadman on January 01 2017 said:
    I am shocked at the thirst for blood on this board. All over oil. Children are already dying in Syria and all the comments on this board thirst for more. I am disgusted the USA provides the mighty weapons of war to such folk, the sons of Abraham, who have been fighting with each other over the last four thousand years.

    I like to freak my father out theorizing the oil we are burning now is the remains of our long dead ancestors. We shall melt back into such pools of black gold, ourselves, one day, and perhaps, millions of years in the future, some far distant posterity will also fight over oil, once again.

    On the other hand, it is interesting to watch the firmament possibly rebuild itself as the Arctic ices melt away.

    The love of oil is the root of all evil, and it sure creates a whole bunch of genocide.
  • Bond, James on January 01 2017 said:
    The destruction of the west has begun, when OPEC begins reducing supplies by millions
    of barrels of oil.
  • A. Jailani Basha on January 02 2017 said:
    A biased report carrying an anti islamic tinge, be a pleasing music to westerners. The fact that a successful regime , defying all ill bodings may be an embrassment.
  • alex on January 03 2017 said:
    Saudi oil unneeded in world market ,no economic disruptions.current Hashemite king of Jordan is legitimate heir to Saudi throne.saudi behind terror being taught in Islamic schools ,the world will be better off without them,good riddance.
  • Bond, James on January 03 2017 said:
    Turkey must close Kurdish oil pipelines that send Iraqi oil to Turkey.
  • DripDrip on January 07 2017 said:
    Death from below rising drip by drip, released in the air drip by drip, the rain returns it drip by drip. Humanity is poisoning its self drip by drip. I am not asking for your belief, it is not required nor desired. I am simply stating what is being done. As we feed off the blood of earth we being the mosquito deserve the slap that ends us. No deity You pray to will save us. It is the death we deserve
  • Dr. Dan on January 08 2017 said:
    The unidentified author appears to flaunt a knowledge of KSA.
    Unfortunately, his/her biases show through when referencing KSA actions in Yemen (aka another Obama's success story) as genocide. The Kingdom is indeed surrounded by hostile Iranian proxies that endanger KSA. But, no one can know how a KSA succession will play out. They are America's best ally in the Muslim world and need our support as they battle to keep the animals at bay.
  • Harry Newman on January 09 2017 said:
    With the global oil glut, spiraling deficits, plunging economy and horrendous population bomb, KSA is not in a great place. A good time to pull the plug and flush the "narrative". And the West should look the other way. In terms of global economic and political distortion, the KSA has been the elephant in the room for the the past century. The Saudi elitists have messed in their nest and the world will be a much better place when the whole disaster is gone.
  • Elaine on January 12 2017 said:
    The best news in a long time. The Saudis helped Hitler. A chaotic civil war that would rid the world of these stone age relics (Saudis), and unrepentant muslims is just fine with me. Any group of people that consider woman as chattel should be completely and utterly destroyed
  • Bond, James on January 12 2017 said:
    To Zero Hedge.......
    The coming fracture of US, NATO, EU is proceeding on time.
    The evil empire is coming to an end.
  • Ayesha Ali on March 10 2017 said:
    Amazing, You are a wealth of information, and this article will help many people. Thanks Very useful information.
  • Jawwad jamil on August 12 2017 said:
    Nothing as such is going to happen, get your sources and assumptions right, and stop wishful thinking, ur one of them who should be blamed for spreading wrong news....appart from may happen and might happen you know nothing.
  • Sheikh Al About on December 08 2017 said:
    Trouble ahead .... for sure .

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