Saudi Arabia is toast. We asserted this over a year ago as Saudi Arabia moved Pakistani troops into her eastern quarters, who is her only ally as neither nation is liked by the rest of the Middle East.
The two great powers in the Middle East are and have always been Turkey and Iran.
Turkey is an international power. Iran is a regional power.
Turkey makes empires that go beyond its borders. Iran makes a stable presence and influences her neighbors but does not generally invade them.
Turkey is a mixed culture formed from the union of Turkic migrants with the Caucasian, Greek, and Slavic peoples of Anatolia. Iran is recognized as the ancient homeland of the Aryans that constitute the peoples of Europe as well as the conquerors of India.
Turkey and Iran, while they are enemies, are both great cultures and are both Muslim. Saudi Arabia, however, is NOT a great culture.
With all respect to the Saudis, the only relevance that she has is her significance as a site of religious pilgrimage for Sunni Muslims. While Mecca and Medina are important to the Shia, their major sites of pilgrimage and veneration are the cities of Iraq and Iran such as Kerbala, Najaf, and Qom.
Historically speaking, Turks and later the Ottoman Empire was the custodian of the Islamic sites of Mecca and Medina. In her eyes, protecting those cities is her “duty”. The Saud family, which appeared in the 18th century, was viewed by the Ottomans as a band of terrorists who sought power and while being Muslims did not respect the “sacred” nature of Mecca and Medina. It was not until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and formal intervention by the British that the Saud family was established formally in power over what then became “Saudi Arabia,” and they have ruled since, and this was done due to Anglo-American economics over oil politics in the region. Basically, the UK and later, USA would protect the House of Saud in exchange for cheap oil.
The lavish riches, indulgent lifestyle, tyrannical behavior, and blatant hypocrisy of the Saudi royal family over their practice of Islam and claims of guardianship of Mecca and Medina is viewed by the Turks as an insult against Allah and their history. Turkey views them as insolent losers and usurpers, and is looking forward to the day they can run a khazouk through the collective backsides of the members of the House of Saud.
The Iranian hatred of the House of Saud comes from a combined racial hatred of the Arabs as well as the historical abuse of the Saudis to fellow Shiite Muslims.
Persia and Arabia have been enemies from ancient times, and the hatred is so great it is expressed by the language itself. Persians have viewed Arabs as uncivilized, wandering bands of good-for-nothing barbarians except for stealing, raiding, and destroying civilization. Arabs view the Persians as haughty, strange, foreigners with a prejudice to those who they think are “beneath” them, and hence why the word for “strange” or “weird” in Arabic (‘ajeeb) also means “Persian”. While the Persians are Muslims, many still resent the conquest of Persia by what were Arabian armies, and there is still a desire to hurt and destroy the Arabs based on this.
Persia was a Sunni Muslim nation for most of its history, but embraced Shia Islam under Shah Ismail I in 1501 after Shia missionaries from Lebanon visited him. The House of Saud, which allied with the zealous followers of Hanbali Islam, views the Shias as heretics and wants to not only exterminate the people, but also any memory of their existence. Beginning in 1801, the House of Saud began attacking Shia pilgrimage sites in Iraq and massacred thousands of Shia Muslims, as they viewed them as infidels. This has continued unabated since albeit assuming different forms throughout the past two centuries. Interestingly, while the Persians and Ottomans have a long-standing rivalry with each other, the Turks have historically helped Iranian Shias rebuild mosques destroyed by the House of Saud. However, the House of Saud has remained unmoved, and so callous have they treated the Shia that even as recent as 2010, they have been ordering the destruction of Shia mosques and pilgrimage sites, including what is believed to be the birthplace of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, to put in shopping malls, luxury housing, and fancy restaurants:
The site in Mecca where the Prophet Mohamed is said to have been born is about to be “buried under marble” and replaced by a huge royal palace. The work is part of a multibillion-pound construction project in the holy city which has already resulted in the destruction of hundreds of historic monuments.
The project, which began several years ago, aims to expand the al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque, to cater for the millions of pilgrims who make their way to the holy city each year for the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are obliged to make at least once.
Mecca is the holiest city in Islam because of its link to the birth of the Prophet, and because it is the site of the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building made from black granite and said to have been built by Abraham. The Grand Mosque is built around it, and Muslims face towards it when they pray.
Many have looked on aghast at the destruction of hundreds of historic buildings and monuments to make way for the Grand Mosque’s expansion. According to the Gulf Institute, based in Washington, up to 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been destroyed, to be replaced with luxury hotels, apartments and shopping malls.
Last week, the remaining 500-year-old Ottoman columns, commemorating the Prophet’s ascent to heaven, were destroyed, Dr Irfan Al Alawi of the UK-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told The Independent.
He said that the House of Mawlid, thought to be where the Prophet was born in AD570, is likely to be destroyed before the end of the year.
The new royal palace is to be built for King Abdullah, the formal custodian of the mosque, for his visits to Mecca. Plans for the building, seen by The Independent, include the site of the House of Mawlid, which has recently been closed to pilgrims.
The plans have been verified by an independent source who added that many critics of the construction process are unwilling to speak publicly for fear of being punished by the regime.
Saudi Arabia is ruled by the strict Wahhabi version of Islam, which prohibits the worship of any object or “saint”, a practice considered “shirq”, or idolatrous.
The destruction of historic sites was defended recently by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah al-Sheikh. According to Press TV, Iran’s English-language news organisation, he said the demolitions were necessary and that the nation should thank the government for the work, which is increasing the capacity of the mosque.
The rooms of the House of Mawlid are under the ground, and in 1951 a library was built over them to preserve them. This has now been closed to pilgrims. Signs on the building warn worshippers against praying. “There is no proof that Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) was born in this place, so it is forbidden to make this place specific for praying, supplicating or get blessing [sic],” it says.
Dr Al Alawi, one of the few voices to publicly oppose the destruction, claimed that religious police are posted outside the library to prevent worshipping. “The site of the Prophet’s birthplace has again come under imminent threat of being permanently forgotten under concrete and marble,” Dr Al Alawi told The Independent.
“Now that Hajj is finished, the 24-hour construction work has started again. They have finished the expansion on one side of the mosque. The royal palace, which will be five times bigger than the current royal palace, is to be built into the side of a mountain and will overlook the mosque.
“Between now and December the library and the rooms of the House of Mawlid are likely be built over. It’s inevitable that it will happen.
“It will be history. It will be gone. We are saying, ‘Let us excavate that house and preserve these rooms that are still there’.”
In September  The Independent revealed that even the tomb of the Prophet – which is in the holy city of Medina in the al-Masjid al-Nawabi mosque – was not off-limits for some hardline Wahhabis.
The article, which revealed that calls for the removal of the tomb had been made in a 61-page consultation document, caused an outcry in the Middle East, and forced a denial from the Saudi authorities, who had previously refused to comment on the construction works.
Details of that plan, obtained by a leading Saudi academic, Dr Ali bin Abdulaziz al-Shabal of Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, were circulated to the Committee of the Presidency of the Two Mosques. Several pages of the consultation document were published in the presidency’s journal.
The Independent has made numerous attempts to contact the Saudi authorities for a comment without success.
However, in a previous statement the authorities said: “The development of the Holy Mosque of Makkah al-Mukarramah [Mecca] is an extremely important subject and one which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as custodian of the two holy mosques, takes with the utmost seriousness. This role is at the heart of the principles upon which Saudi Arabia is founded.” (source)
This action has naturally enraged the Shias, and while the Turks are not Shias, they are equally outraged at the destruction of what is ancient Islamic history and culture. Even for a non-Muslim, the actions of the Saudis from a historical perspective are highly destructive of world history. Such actions are similar to destroying the birthplace of Christ and putting up a shopping center in its place.
The Turks and Persians may fight, but there is a mutual admiration they have for each other. The Persians respect Turkish power and are influenced by them. The Turks readily embrace Persian culture and likewise are also influenced by them. Both of them hate Arabia and in particular, the House of Saud that they see as a disease upon the Muslim world that needs to be exterminated.
Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia has been in a crisis of leadership since the death of King Abdullah in 2015. While King Salman bin Abdulaziz has been King of Saudi Arabia since then, the heir apparent as of 2017 is Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. At 34 years old and known as MbS, he is very young (comparatively speaking) and as evidenced by his 2017 “corruption purge”, desires to strip power from the “older” members of the House of Saud and concentrate it for himself.
Saudi Arabia is in a very bad position. She is desperately in need of reforms in so far as it pertains to improving her image before the world and within the Middle East, and she is absolutely dependent on the Americans for her survival both in terms of economics and politics, and she knows that the Americans have the option of jettisoning her at any time if they so choose. She also has to balance her relationships with Iran and Turkey, not so much as to “appease” them, but to place themselves into a position that will not justify “intervention” by either and ideally to place Iran against Turkey as much as it is possible to. Internally, the “younger” members of the family are vying for power against the “older” members of the family.
So what is Saudi Arabia to do?
The answer can be found with the Khashoggi murder.
Consider the following story from Middle East Eye, where suddenly in the middle of a leadership crisis with MbS over the Khashoggi murder, one of the royal family members and the uncle of MbS, Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, has appeared and is offering to take charge of the country:
Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, has returned to Saudi Arabia after a prolonged absence in London, to mount a challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or find someone who can.
The septuagenarian prince, an open critic of bin Salman (MBS), has travelled with security guarantees given by US and UK officials.
“He and others in the family have realised that MBS has become toxic,” a Saudi source close to Prince Ahmad told Middle East Eye.
“The prince wants to play a role to make these changes, which means either he himself will play a major role in any new arrangement or to help to choose an alternative to MBS.”
The source said that the prince returned “after discussion with US and UK officials”, who assured him they would not let him be harmed and encouraged him to play the role of usurper.
Apart from those western guarantees, Ahmad is also protected by his rank.
Last November, bin Salman conducted a sweeping purge of dissident royals, yet was not able to touch any sons of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the modern Saudi state, who are regarded as too senior a target for him.
The 33-year-old heir to the Saudi throne’s dominance in the kingdom has come under intense scrutiny following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October, leading to speculation that he could be replaced.
MEE understands that while Prince Ahmad was in London he held meetings with other members of the Saudi royal family who are currently living outside the kingdom.
Prince Ahmad also consulted figures inside the kingdom who have similar concerns and have encouraged him to usurp his nephew.
MEE also understands there are three senior princes who support Prince Ahmad’s move, who cannot be named for fear of compromising their security. All have held top positions in the military and security forces.
Meanwhile, in Washington disquiet grows.
Writing in the New York Times, former national security advisor to the Obama administration and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: “Looking ahead, Washington must act to mitigate the risks to our own interests. We should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammed continues to wield unlimited power.
“It should be United States policy, in conjunction with our allies, to sideline the crown prince in order to increase pressure on the royal family to find a steadier replacement,” she added.
Prince Ahmad’s return will only increase the pressure on bin Salman, who is at the centre of a standoff between Saudi Arabia and Turkey after Khashoggi was murdered in his country’s consulate in Istanbul.
The Turkish authorities are demanding the Saudis tell them where Khashoggi’s body is, and the Saudis are insisting that Turkey hand over the audio tapes of the execution, details of which have routinely been leaked to the media.
In a thinly veiled attack on the crown prince, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused the Saudis of protecting the person responsible for the murder.
“A game to save somebody lies beneath this,” Erdogan told reporters following a speech in parliament on Tuesday. “We won’t leave Khashoggi’s murder behind.”
The Turkish president, who outlined some of the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder in an address last week, has promised to reveal more details about the killing but has so far refrained from doing so.
Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mujeb has met Istanbul’s chief prosecutor Irfan Fidan twice in the last two days, but no progress has been reported.
The Saudis are continuing to refuse Turkish investigators access to the well in the grounds of the consul-general’s home, which is 500 metres from the consulate.
After first denying that Khashoggi had been murdered in the consulate, the Saudis now say they have arrested 18 suspects, 15 of which were members of a death squad sent to kill the prominent critic of the crown prince.
Bin Salman has repeatedly denied knowledge of the operation, which included five members of his personal security detail, three of whom accompanied him on high-profile trips to London, Washington and Paris.
On Monday Mujeb offered Fidan the suspects’ testimony. Turkey, though, demands their extradition, so they can stand trial and give evidence to a Turkish court. Saudi Arabia is refusing this.
Before the Khashoggi affair, Prince Ahmad’s opposition to his nephew was a matter of public record. He has challenged him openly on three occasions:
First, in the summer of 2017, when the king’s brother was one of three members of the Allegiance Council, a body of senior royals tasked with choosing the succession, to oppose bin Salman’s appointment as crown prince.
Prince Ahmed pointedly did not give an oath of allegiance to his nephew when he was made King Salman’s heir.
Second, when Prince Ahmad and King Salman’s brother, Abdelrahman bin Abdulaziz, died last year. Only two pictures were hung at the reception given by Prince Ahmad, that of King Abdulaziz and the current monarch. The crown prince’s portrait was notably missing.
Third, last month, when Prince Ahmad approached Yemeni and Bahraini protesters outside his London home who were calling the al-Sauds a criminal family.
He told them the family as a whole does not bear responsibility for the war in Yemen, only the king and crown prince do.
“They are responsible for crimes in Yemen. Tell Mohammed bin Salman to stop the war,” Prince Ahmad was recorded as telling them in Arabic. (source, source)
Ahmad bin Abdulaziz
Ahmad bin Abdulaziz has been Deputy Minister of the Interior since 1975 and since 1979 has managed a secret security force throughout the country. He also is very respected among the Shias as he has advocated for their rights and supported their existence in Saudi Arabia in spite of actions taken against them by other members of the House of Saud. He was and still is also regarded as one of the most likely figures to rule Saudi Arabia in the future.
Note the reference in the above story to “stop the war” in Yemen. As we have reported, the Saudis are at war against the Houthis in Yemen, who are Shiites. Tens of thousands of people have died of hunger, let alone military violence, and the nation, which is already poor, is in a miserable state and the Saudis do not care. This has severely angered the Iranians and many other nations, who have turned away from Saudi Arabia because of this, isolating her more than what she already is.
According to a recent article from the Washington Post, MbS told Jared Kushner that Khashoggi was a “dangerous Islamist”:
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days after his disappearance in a phone call with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion.
In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.
The attempt to criticize Khashoggi in private stands in contrast to the Saudi government’s later public statements decrying the journalist’s death as a “terrible mistake” and a “terrible tragedy.”
“The incident that happened is very painful, for all Saudis,” the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto leader, said during a panel discussion last week. “The incident is not justifiable.”
The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, described Khashoggi last month as a “friend” who dedicated “a great portion of his life to serve his country.”
In a statement released to The Washington Post, Khashoggi’s family called the characterization of the columnist as dangerous Islamist inaccurate.
“Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years,” the family said. “Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.”
A person familiar with the discussion said Bolton did not signal he endorsed the crown prince’s characterization of Khashoggi during the call.
A Saudi official on Wednesday denied that the crown prince made the allegations, saying “routine calls do exist from time to time” with the young leader and top U.S. officials, but “no such commentary was conveyed.” (source, source)
Khashoggi is not a “dangerous Islamist”, but he comes from a family known as being a US asset for arming Islamic terrorists going back to his uncle Adnan Khashoggi. Muslim or not, people do not like the Khashoggi family because they made their money as agents funneling weapons to western-trained terrorist groups for western military operations in the Middle East that are merely sub-plans of Operation Gladio. He is basically the equivalent of a drug kingpin in a war between gangs- he has no allies and no friends, sells to all, and is hated but needed by all.
Now, while details are lacking and there is much that is yet to be explained or revealed, we know that:
-Turkey wants to khazouk the entire Saud family
-Iran is mad at Saudi Arabia for slaughtering the Shiites
-There is a fight between the old and the young for power within the House of Saud
-MbS is young and still has much to learn
-MbS believed, from some source, that Khashoggi was a threat
-MbS is slaughtering the Shiites
-Abdulaziz is a major contender for rule of the nation
-Abdulaziz headed a secret security force for the last four decades
-Abdulaziz is beloved by all of the Shiites
I am not saying this is what happened, but consider the following scenario.
+Let’s say that Abdulaziz or one of his associates intentionally made sure that MbS believed with absolute conviction that Khashoggi was a threat and needed to be eliminated.
+MbS takes the advice in the name of consolidating his power and keeping Saudi Arabia together, he goes out and has Khashoggi murdered.
+Turkey explodes with anger, and as it has shown in the news, directs said anger at Saudi Arabia and especially MbS.
+As the story shows, MbS actually believed that Khashoggi was a threat, and evidence shows it was most likely that Saudi Arabia gave the order for the assassination.
+Now all of a sudden, Abdulaziz shows up- a well-known, respected, powerful figure in the Kingdom with a favorable reputation with the Shiites and many common people -and says he wants to fix the problem and apologize for what happened. He uses his position within Saudi security forces to boost his position, and promises to continue “reforms” started by MbS.
+He apologizes to Turkey, and says that in the name of “security” and making sure things such as this do not happen again, he orders more American weapons, closer ties with the USA in the name of “preventing corruption,” and a more integral role of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East with other Muslims, especially the Shia, and in politics.
What appears to be happening here was a calculated wager taken by Abdulaziz against MbS to protect the House of Saud as well as settle an internal family dispute in the most peaceable way possible. Abdulaziz wanted power for himself and he also knew that a fight with Turkey was inevitable, and in order to get into power as smoothly as possible while setting up Saudi Arabia to be in the best possible shape for the future, he wagered the future of Saudi Arabia by risking a war with Turkey now to hopefully stop, delay, or have as minimal as possible a war with Turkey in the future in the name of consolidating his own power and the long-term rule of the House of Saud.
Nobody liked Khashoggi. Even Turkey, who is “demanding” an investigation into his death, could most likely care less about him except that he is a political lever which they want to use to justify anti-Saudi policies and eventually realize their goal of khazouking the House of Saud.
Abdulaziz would know that murdering Khashoggi would be a risk, but given how the Khashoggi family has an infamous reputation, he was a “major” figure enough to draw attention from the world but also hated enough because of his family’s known crimes that he could likely get away with the murder without causing too much unnecessary blowback- less than, for example, murdering a Turkish diplomat with a clean past.
Abdulaziz used the Khashoggi murder to destroy any credibility that MbS had in the Middle East or the Saud family and with that strip him of his power and move in to take his place, bringing with him his reputation of good will towards the Shia and by default, the Iranians. Improving relations with the Shias improves relations with Iran and muddles any joint Turkish-Iranian desires or plans to destroy Saudi Arabia. His actions also allow him to invert the threats of MbS to refuse to buy American weapons. In theory, he is now in a position to say that he not only does he want US weapons, but MORE than before and that he will want a closer partnership with the Americans.
The Saudis come out looking great, like they had a “bad apple” they disposed of and are trying to make a better nation (when in reality they are not, just to have the appearance of it) before the world, Iran is forced to say something nice about Saudi Arabia, America gets to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and put more troops in the Middle East for cheap oil, and a major internal family dispute is settled. The biggest loser is Turkey, who is going to rant about what Saudi Arabia did but now cannot criticize her for failing to address the matter because she made “reforms” to deal with the “problem” (even though it was all a staged show). Turkey already hates Saudi Arabia so the Saudis could care less about her reaction if she wants to talk so long as they cannot give her a justification for military action, which Turkey hoped to use this for but was tricked by the Saudis as it appears to have been all planned out.
In short and using common language, it is looking like Turkey got cucked by Saudi Arabia before the entire world while settling a family dispute.
But do not think this is the end, because Erdogan has an Ottoman Dream he wants to realize, and he will look for the nearest opportunity to place Saudi Arabia into a position of weakness so he can strike.
The Saudis know this. The question is, will Saudi Arabia be ready when Turkey does strike?