Beyond the Cusp

January 26, 2015

Immediate Ramification of the Death of King Abdallah


Saudi Arabian King Abdallah died this weekend placing his half-brother Crown Prince Salman into the position as Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman and elevated his brother to the role of Crown Prince Muqrin. The new King Salman was born on December 31, 1935 making his age to be seventy-nine with less than optimal conditions of health as are all those who are in the immediate line to the throne. The new Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin was born September 15, 1945 making his age to be sixty-nine. Reports on both of the Saudi Royals’ health are poor or worse making one of their chief immediate duties to soberly choose from amongst the children and grandchildren and seek out which ones are to be groomed further and placed, once their attributes and attitudes have been referenced, cross-referenced, thoroughly parsed, dissected, itemized, examined and everything verified are they to be placed in line for grooming to be the next rulers of the kingdom. This will take a matter of years despite the evident necessity to find the likely path the leadership will take so as to make such explained and verified by the religious hierarchy and all others whose input will have been sought and those whose positions make their acceptance more important and necessary. The next generations of monarchs will need training in governing, budgeting, foreign policy, Koranic knowledge and the other necessities of ruling. They will be required to prove their worth and will likely be thrown into position to rule provinces or cities, be placed in liaison positions with the religious leaders of Saudi Arabia with an emphasis on the leading Wahhabi Imams, proper military training and service, and knowledge of the ins and outs of the oil industry and its use in international diplomacy. All of these are items which will have many in the nation concerned and a select few outside of Saudi Arabia. Still, there will be some ramifications which many will find affecting their daily lives and others which Middle East experts will dwell upon for hours if permitted the time during interviews. We will try to hit some of the immediate ramifications and hope we are sufficiently accurate or at the least no more inaccurate than the average expert despite being amateurs by comparison.


We can expect to expect little if any changes initially, especially the price per barrel of oil as the new monarchs were likely included in many of the planning, diplomatic events, implementation and OPEC preparations as well as the reasoning and diplomatic and foreign reasoning for keeping their production at such a high rate driving the price down below fifty dollars a barrel. We will probably witness a more conservative series of actions initially as the change in the Saudi Arabian leadership will force the new leadership to be security conscious and very concerned with intra-national as well as extra-national security with both having heavy dependence on the military. There will be the potential that Saudi Arabia will intervene should the continuing situation in Yemen threatens their southern border or should Iran move to impose their influence or should either the al-Qaeda or the Houthis take control and threaten the shipping lanes to and from the Red Sea and threaten the shipping lanes into and out of the Red Sea as well as the Suez Canal and its access with the Mediterranean Sea, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, Saudi Arabia will become more introverted and keep much of the rulings of the new Royal Family members addressing exactly what their expectations within their lands, especially concerning women and other matters which can be tied to Islam and the interpretations of the Quran and how it will affect their rule. So, what can be expected is for those outside of Saudi Arabia are similar to what the world has witnessed for the past year or so when Saudi Arabia was ruled by King Abdallah as the new monarch will not be straying far from his policies and giving some time to pass before stepping out on their own paths.


Formerly King Abdallah had taken a path not previously traveled and was very slowly but inexorably liberalizing the Islamic strict restrictions against women. He permitted women to leave the house and shop unescorted and to vote in some local elections provided they were escorted by a male family member. These relaxed societal laws may not be considered to be lessening restrictions for women under Western societal standards but they were very extreme for anywhere under the strict Sharia interpretations by the Saudi government. We can pretty much forget the idea of permitting women to drive in Saudi Arabia in the foreseeable future. New King Salman is considered to be quite more security conscious and libel to use force of arms rather than the subtle force of diplomacy or the using of the price of oil to bring adversaries to their knees or even play a part if bringing the Soviet Union to its timely end and thus assist in liberating all of Western Europe. Using a similar low pricing of a barrel of oil is strangling Russia and bringing many of the fracking and other costly methods from pumping because it has temporarily become unprofitable in the United States. Still, there is one more target which is being affected by this low oil price, and that entity is Iran as it is being forced to sell oil at next to no profit over taking it out of the oil fields, whether refining it or shipping it out as crude. This lowering of the price for oil by Saudi Arabia has been their only real weapon they have by which they are able to drive any competition out of business or deny an adversarial threat such as Iran of the funds to continue any development of arms or to end any adventures such a threat may have planned. This use of driving the price of oil down through production at capacity by Saudi Arabia was necessitated by the lack of resolve by the Europeans and the United States to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons or stepping up efforts to curtail ISIS as well as al-Qaeda on their northern and southern borders respectively. It will remain to be seen if the new leadership will continue this assault by way of oil prices as it also has required the Saudi Royal Family to utilize their reserves of funds to sustain efforts within Saudi Arabia to maintain funding which prevents the population from becoming unstable as well as funding the Wahhabi institutions worldwide.


The change of leadership through succession has been fortuitous as Iranian adventurism has not been stamped out as of yet by the Saudi Arabian oil war which has been their use of monetary sanctions by another means which they have utilized to replace the sanctions lifted by United States President Barack Obama. Iran was still capable of arming the Houthis in Yemen which just this week completed their push to topple the government. One might have expected that the United States would have been more proactive in preventing this blatant coup by the Iranian armed rebels as Yemen is one of the United States allies and refueling ports for the United States Navy despite the incident of the attack by al-Qaeda on the USS Cole in October 2000. Yemen has now become another failed state where the main governing forces are rebel groups or terrorist entities. This adds Yemen to the list of Lebanon, Somalia, and Libya.


Additionally there are the nations in north and central Africa which are currently fighting for their survival against terrorist entities which include but not limited to Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, South Sudan, Chad, Cameroon and Central African Republic. A number of these nations are facing threats from Boko Haram which is an entity similar to ISIS and one that had identified with al-Qaeda but has recently claimed allegiance with ISIS. ISIS is another threat which has Saudi Arabia concerned especially since recently there have been fighting between ISIS forces and the military of Saudi Arabia in the northwestern province. These assaults have been more of a test of resolve and with the recent death of King Abdallah and the ascension of Crown Prince Salman into the ruling role, his somewhat more militant attitude could be exactly what may be necessary in Saudi Arabia considering the threats on its northern and southern borders as well as the reassertion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sinai Peninsula and their threat against Egypt, a crucial and necessary ally of the Saudis and a traditional supporter of the Royal Family. The changes in Saudi rulers will still require a period of time to fully understand the coming changes and will need to be watched before coming to any lasting and necessary changes in policies. This was something which was expected though it still happened fairly rapidly which often makes such changes problematic but the Saudis have handled such changes in their ruling structure better than others. For the meantime any of the changes which may have been in the planning will likely be terminated until the changeover is complete and then all will see. Until then the world will need to necessarily simply wait and see and be lenient though in trying times as the present lenience is a luxury which one may not have the necessary time to wait.


Beyond the Cusp


October 7, 2013

When Iran Turns Nuclear

United States President Obama has been predicting the Iranians would produce a nuclear weapon within the next year to  year and  half  since early in 2009 and he appears to still be stuck on the at least one more year prediction. Many European leaders take an even more troublesome and distressing approach claiming that Iran has assured them they are only producing electricity and other peaceful uses with their nuclear program and even if they were making a bomb, what business is it of ours is their mantra. It has been so long that Europe has been almost completely unable to protect their own borders that they now seek to hide from any potential confrontation and hope that they are eaten last. Many of the members of the non-aligned movement of developing nations hold the Iranian efforts to develop advanced nuclear weapons as proof that they too will soon be able to have the ultimate weapon for themselves and then the world will take note of their grievances and demands. And then there are those whom everybody points to as the crazies who pound the podium to emphasize their point, hold up near comical pictures of a cannonball bomb with a red line near the top and a lit fuse claiming that the red line is soon to be crossed demanding actions and ending the period where words and diplomacy could have sufficed. Among the crazies is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who may be channeling Winston Churchill from the early 1930s warning of the war machine being built and the army being massed by Herr Hitler. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu does appear to be selling the same dire warnings of a perceived threat which is imminent and already on the horizon only requiring a small amount of time before their efforts come to fruition and their weapons will be bared against the world and the tumult begins.


With the Europeans all but sleeping through the Iranian nuclear drive and President Obama steadfastly sticking to his diplomacy must be given time to work and even if Iran were to get nuclear weapons produced, they can be controlled much the same manner that the Soviets were contained during the Cold War. Never mind that Iran is not the Soviets or that unlike the Russians, who hold human life, at least their own, as precious and not exactly being big fans of martyrdom, the Iranians believe that by instigating a nuclear conflagration they can usher in the end-times and force the return of their Mahdi who will establish an Islamic paradise on Earth where everybody lives in the peaceful bliss of their commitment of total surrender to Allah. Believing that the Iranian leadership believes in a similar manner as Western Judeo-Christian society is a dangerous misconception and for proof of the differences we need only look back a few decades to the Iraq-Iran War. The Iranians were having difficulties with the defenses utilized by the Iraqis, especially the fields of landmines. The Iranians did not have modern mechanized mine clearing vehicles and had attempted numerous solutions among which sending herds of goats, sheep and other herd animals all of which responded erratically at the first explosion and were uncontrollable as far as having them clear a path through the minefields. The solution they came up with utilized young preteen boys who were given some minimal training mostly in marching in a formation and then were taken to the front to clear paths through the minefields by marching through them resulting in the majority being killed. The Iranian military leadership purchased thousands of plastic keys from China and hung one around the neck of each child telling them they would use the keys to open the gates to Heaven upon their arrival. The families of these youthful “volunteers” were not ignored but instead were praised for their sacrifice for the revolution and were paid for their son’s volunteering. When the families complained about the state of their child’s corpse noting that they were often incomplete, the Iranian military responded by wrapping each boy in a heavy and wet blanket which served to keep the body parts together to be returned whole to the families for burial. Thousands of young boys’ lives were snuffed out clearing the Iraqi minefields for the Iranian military. There were other youths which were used to mass rush machinegun emplacements and once the Iranians discovered that if they charged hundreds of poorly or unarmed youth at the Iraqi regular army that rather than mow down innocent children the Iraqis often abandoned their positions and retreated. This only served to encourage the Iranians to utilize this method.


This is the mentality that many in the world claim will act rationally and logically and thus can be reasoned with and deterred. Will the Iranians act rationally? The honest answer is yes. Will the Iranians decide things with logic? Again the answer is yes. Does this mean we can work with them because we are both being logical and rational and as two honest rational peoples we can work together to reach a peaceful resolution? Unfortunately, this is not possible. Before any decisions can be made on how to approach the Iranians we must first understand what they hold as precious, we need to research their definitions of terms so that when we refer to something as seemingly obvious as peace we both are referring to the same concept. These two simple and what should be obvious steps have been omitted from the dealings thus far between Western nations and the Iranians. Using peace as our example, when Western leaders say peace, they refer to a state lacking in violence and contention, a coexistence and harmony. When the Iranians refer to peace, they mean the lack of opposition to Islam, the complete surrender to Allah, a state where there is no longer any opposition where Islam has been victorious over all other faiths and systems of governance. To the Iranians there cannot be peace as long as Israel exists, as long as the United States is governed under its Constitution and not by Sharia or as long as anywhere on Earth Shiite Islam does not reign supreme. What Western leaders call peace does not exist for the Iranians and the closest term they have to peace is a Hudna which is a state of temporary non-belligerence which is allowed to exist until the Islamic forces are powerful enough to defeat their enemy at which point the Hudna may be broken and hostilities resumed by the Muslim side, the other side is not allowed to reinitiate hostilities as with a Hudna as with almost everything else when defined under Islam, the Muslims must have every advantage and nobody else matters, only Islam.


One of the reasons that Prime Minister Netanyahu is so animated and strident is because he has learned through difficult lessons of life experience the different perspective that animates the Islamic way of thought. The same can be stated about the Saudi Royal Family who are as panicked as are many Israelis because they also understand the mindset of their Iranian foes and they fear for what carnage and destruction not only to their Saudi Arabia and neighboring nations of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) but quite literally the entire world as they too realize that once the Iranians decide their time has come there will only be one outcome, either the world will have succumbed to Shiite Islam as the Ayatollahs define it or Iran will have been laid waste and utterly destroyed. There will be no halfway measures in the end. When Prime Minister Netanyahu states that Iran becoming a nuclear power is not just an Israeli problem or a Saudi Arabian problem or any half measure but it will be an entire world problem, he is neither grandstanding nor exaggerating, he is simply stating fact that can be ignored at the world’s peril. The Saudi Royals have already given up on President Obama who they view as a simple minded fool who is pretending to be a world leader but is actually buffoon who is totally unaware that all his adversaries, enemies, and even too many of his friends are either laughing at or pitying. The problem is the fool is the only one who holds the keys to preventing a great and horrible disaster which will lay waste great swaths of our Earth and he doesn’t even know how to turn the switch on.


Beyond the Cusp


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