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Tuesday, February 23

Springtime for Al Saud

"By making these silly announcements the Saudis have made themselves look even weaker,” said Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian analyst. “There’s no way they can send over ground forces to Syria when they’re stuck in Yemen.”

The above quote is from the Washington Post's juicy report filed yesterday from Riyadh by Hugh Naylor, Concerns in Saudi Arabia over signs of more military involvement in Syria. Now that everyone in the world who actually reads the papers knows that Al Saud has been up to its eyeballs in funding terrorist groups in Syria, State and the Pentagon not to mention various Members of Congress and the White House are getting annoyed with the Saudi government's constant whining. The sources Naylor chose to quote reflect this:
"Our economy is really struggling, and yet some leaders come out and say things that could get us caught up in a war in Syria against Russia,” said a prominent Saudi political observer who is close to senior officials.
He was referring to Russia’s intervention late last year in the Syrian conflict to boost Assad, its ally, a move that has changed the tide of a civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced millions.
The Saudi armed forces appear bogged down in Yemen against Iranian-aligned rebels in a drawn-out war that appears to be spilling over into the kingdom. Increasingly the rebels, known as Houthis, have been mounting assaults into southern Saudi Arabia, forcing the kingdom to deploy tens of thousands of troops to defend its border.
And so on in that vein. Meanwhile the International Press is going bananas reporting on Al Saud's huge increase in arms purchases ("Saudi imports up 275% in five years!"); this frenzy ahead of a vote in two days:
Growing anxiety about weapons sales to Saudi Arabia is prompting the European Parliament to consider urging a ban on arms exports to the Mideast country.  European Union lawmakers are gearing up for a vote Feb. 25 on whether to call for an embargo on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, a country with an abysmal human-rights record that faces fresh accusations of indiscriminately bombing civilians in Yemen. ...
Back, briefly, to the WaPo report:
"At all levels in Saudi society, including the royal family itself, there is serious concern about our involvement in all these foreign conflicts,” said the prominent Saudi, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns about retribution. “I think there’s a sense that we’ve lost an ability to look at things realistically.”
His concern reflects broader questions in some Saudi circles over the country’s 30-year-old defense minister and deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman and second in line to the throne.
Some say MbS (well that's what he's called in KSA) wants to be first in line Pundita don't cackle. [looking at a calendar] Reportedly there's supposed to be some kind of coup this month in the kingdom, which doesn't leave much time but we'll just have to see what if anything happens next.

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