Saudi Crown Prince Aiming to Reinvent Himself?
Caught in the act red-handed, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) likely wants to change the subject, shifting attention away from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder he ordered.
As de facto Saudi ruler, the buck stops with him on all kingdom policymaking – Khashoggi’s murder, war in Yemen partnered with Washington, and everything else.
He has powerful US and UK intelligence community opponents – considering him incompetent, reckless and untrustworthy, opposed to him succeeding his father as Saudi king.
His actions speak for themselves. So does the abominable Saudi human rights record, the most egregious among despotic Arab regimes, its horrors exceeded only by Israeli high crimes against Palestinians – except for Washington’s wars of aggression on humanity.
The kingdom under MBS, his father, and their predecessors are notorious human rights abusers, notably:
• torture and physical abuse;
• political imprisonments under appalling conditions;
• arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detentions;
• denial of due process and judicial fairness;
• severe restrictions on speech, media, assembly, association, movement, and religious freedom;
• corruption and lack of transparency;
• gender discrimination;
• denial of worker rights;
• human trafficking;
• support for ISIS and other regional terrorist groups; as well as public whippings and beheadings, among other lawless actions.
Speech, media, and/or academic criticism of regime policies risks arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death.
Judicial proceedings are rubber-stamp, forced confessions extracted by torture, rendering them null and void under international law.
Human rights and pro-democracy advocates are targeted for elimination. Khashoggi’s murder was a drop in the ocean compared to countless thousands ruthlessly done away with at home and abroad.
The kingdom’s support for ISIS and other cutthroat killer terrorists is longstanding policy. For decades, US regimes and Congress remained silent about the most horrendous Saudi high crimes – complicit with Washington in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
Since king Salman chose MBS as crown prince, making him de facto kingdom ruler, he has blood on his hands multiple times over. His reckless, incompetent policymaking is why the US and UK intelligence community wants him prevented from succeeding his father as king.
He partnered with US war in Yemen, responsible for the world’s gravest humanitarian crisis, millions at risk of death from starvation alone.
Since June 2017, he’s held Qatar hostage to unacceptable demands no ruling authorities anywhere would accept.
He embarrassed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, summoning him like a vassal and detaining him.
He held scores of ruling family members and Saudi businessmen hostage at Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel, extorting billions of dollars in assets and properties for their release.
He consolidated power by eliminating potential rivals, destabilizing the kingdom by his actions.
According to the Middle East Eye (MEE), he aims to reinvent himself by “ ‘seriously considering’ setting up a ‘game-changing’ Camp David-style summit” with Netanyahu and Trump – his key allies other than despotic Arab counterparts.
In response to the international furor over Khashoggi’s murder, he established an “emergency task force…to deal with the fall-out.”
He aims to try transforming himself into a swan. His hands are too blood-drenched to wash clean.
Yet he hopes a prominent photo-op with Trump and Netanyahu can be an image-changing event for him – enough for the incoming Congress to be less hostile toward him than the current one.
Perhaps he hopes effective PR and time can heal his damaged persona. According to MEE, his inner circle and damage control task force “agreed that without a major stunt, there is a real danger of a series of decisions from Congress that would fundamentally set back the Saudi-US relationship, which is key for the crown prince.”
An unnamed Saudi source said “MBS is keen on the” PR stunt. So are most task force members, wanting “more time to prepare public opinion” for what apparently is coming.
Throughout many decades of US/Saudi relations over most of the past century, no kingdom ruler was vilified like MBS.
According to MEE’s source, “(t)he aim of the ‘Deal of the Century’ is to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel” publicly.
Ties already are strong and growing, mostly covertly. A tripartite public display featuring Trump, Netanyahu and MBS sounds like Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo aiming to change their image from tyrants to good guys during WW II by a prominent photo-op stunt.
All the gimmickry earlier PR geniuses might have tried to cook up wouldn’t have worked.
The current US, Israeli, Saudi axis of pure evil may not fare better. Once a tyrant, always one.
MBS is damaged goods. Restoring normal US/Saudi relations may depend on replacing him as crown prince.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”