October 26, 2015 - San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews.org – In a fascinating piece published by the Middle East Forum [see, David P. Goldman Cheap Oil Puts the House of Saud at Risk] the author details the seismic waves which are starting to rock the Saudi government:
“Saudi Arabia spends money like there's no tomorrow. A new report from the International Monetary Fund suggests that there might not be a tomorrow for the House of Saud. Without massive spending cuts, the Kingdom will exhaust its monetary reserves in five years at current oil prices, the IMF reckons.”
Far from merely being a regional matter, should the Saudi government seriously falter [it would not be the first time] more revolutionary Muslim forces are prepared to exploit the unrest, potentially toppling the government. Towards that end ISIS has already mounted a serious attack in the area, bombing a mosque in the city of Abha [Southern Saudi Arabia, near the country’s border with Yemen] killing at least 15 just 6 weeks ago as a show of force.
As Mr. Goldman states, predictions of the demise of the Saudi kingdom have left more than a few prognosticators red-faced over the years as the government has been able to curb such threats, bribing the malcontents.
But the huge income disparity between the ultra-rich Saudi princes and the desperately poor general population constitute political dynamic which will be difficult to sustain in the face of falling oil revenues because of the current world-wide petroleum glut.
The sectarian nature of Islam is of course an important factor in the equation as the genuine power behind the royal throne rests in the hands of the country’s Wahhabist clerics who extract a heavy price, demanding that the more secularly inclined royal family continue to allow the radical ideology to be spread abroad through the financing of foreign mosques and madrassas as well as funding Sunni insurgencies, some of which are now fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Many are unaware of the threat China faces in at least one province due to Islamist separatists:
“A Chinese official told me recently that the one thing China fears in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, which is funding Wahhabist madrassahs in China's Muslim-majority Western state of Xinjiang.”
Xinjiang Province is the home to a jihadist group the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement which was designated over a decade ago, under President George W. Bush's Executive Order 13224, as an FTO and subsequently added to a similar list maintained by the United Nations.
“The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is an organization that includes components in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and the Xinjiang Province of China. The ETIM's aim is the establishment of a fundamentalist Muslim state to be called "East Turkistan." To that end, from 1990 to 2001 elements of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement have reportedly committed over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries. [source, U.S. Treasury Department, Treasury Department On Addition Of ETIM To Terrorist List ]
Financial links between Saudi Uyghurs and the ETIM have kept that pot boiling to the extent that the Chinese Communist government is reversing its limited policy of relaxing its long time suppression of religious expression with Xinjiang being the lead driver.
ISIS, as is the case with all jihadist groups, continues to threaten the environs in which it operates, but its reach and grasp extends far beyond the borders which make up Syria and Iraq. The real danger is that as the organization further professionalizes and grows stronger, its ability to project force at a distance also increases.
This is bad news especially for Saudi Arabia and Egypt whose governments absolutely require increasing oil revenue to maintain the wobbly status quo. Without the stabilizing effect these nations bring to the region the entire Middle East could rapidly head towards a melt-down, with little to stop the most radical elements in an already extreme movement from lighting that fuse.
©2015 PipeLineNews.org LLC, William Mayer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.