Saudi Arabia: The Clock Has Started Ticking

This is the time when Saudi watchers and analysts show their mettle.  With the official presence of Saudi army troops now in Bahrain what does this mean for the region?  How will it be reshaped?

To begin with, who are the real key players? Although Bahrain is the focal point or should it be said, battlefield, many may view the key players as Saudi Arabia and Iran, the United States a minority player with a large vested interest and Israel watching as alertly as a falcon.

Is the battle truly over democracy or pitted as Sunni versus Shii’a?  Or is it more about tribes, regimes and quest for power?

Even prior to when Iran was ruled over by the Shah and now present day under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s goal has been to dominate the Gulf.  It is to the advantage of Iran to destabilize regions using tactics which combine propaganda and influence to pit Sunni against Shii’a.  Saudi Arabia may have taken Iran by surprise with its quick mobilization of troops in to Bahrain.  But did this movement by Saudi Arabia really surprise the United States? The United States is in opposition to the policies of the Iranian government yet at the same time in favor of democracy and fair elections.  Saudi troops in Bahrain would seem to be contradictory to what the United States government would want…or is it?  If a choice had to be made between the lesser of two evils, perhaps the United States may give an outwardly appearance of disagreement on the Saudi movement but is actually silently endorsed?

What is going to happen next?  Saudi troops are going to clamp down upon the unrest and upheavals in Bahrain.  Their actions in Bahrain also demonstrate the lengths to which the Saudi government will go if there are hints of similar unrest within Saudi Arabia.  In the meantime it is difficult to predict how Iran will counter the Saudi actions.  Bahrain may become the battlefield for a new war between Iran and Saudi Arabia with the United States and Israel on the sidelines yet both poised to react for their own political interests.

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65 Responses

  1. Yes, Iran is provoking trouble. The Friday sermon in Iran encouraged more chaos in Bahrain and demonstrators there in Iran quoted as saying in Farsi, ‘Maag Barg Al Saud’. What business do the Iranians have in other countries?????!!!!!!!; it is like calling the ketttle black! Sorry, I am venting but Iranians are stuck on Operation Ajax yet they are provoking chaos throughout the region–how hippocritical…
    Sorry for the frankness here.
    I do believe it more about tribes. It just happens that Shia population has more Iranian roots than the Sunni minority ( although there are some influencial Sunni Arabs who left Iran to Bahrain a couple centuries ago). There has been tensions, ofcourse not this bad since the beginning.
    I wish I had a crystal ball, but personally, the future looks quite grim there now and I think there is no way of telling the outcome of the recent events.

  2. Agree with most of your analysis. But its not only the Saudi troops, its Qatar , U.A.E and Kuwait to protect oil facilities and other important sites if the sectarian riots try to go there. Otherwise, the Bahraini people of Refa’a and Hamad city, Bedaya and Baharani froces will keep Bahrain safe from the sectarian riots.

    Iran is a big mouth that only use Arab Shites who believe in Khomiene like Hezboallah to pass its plans.

  3. Agree with most of your analysis. But its not only the Saudi troops, its Qatar , U.A.E and Kuwait to protect oil facilities and other important sites if the sectarian riots try to go there. Otherwise, the Bahraini people of Refa’a and Hamad city, Bedaya and Baharani forces will keep Bahrain safe from the sectarian riots.

    Iran is a big mouth that only use Arab Shites who believe in Khomiene like Hezboallah to pass its plans.

  4. I will be the first to confess that I know very little about Bahrain as a country and therefore do not as yet have an opinion on their situation. I do have a somewhat stupid question, though: Isn’t the army of Saudi Arabia quite small and more or less ceremonial? Or am I remembering wrong? Just wondering what sort of impact the Saudi army might have on the country. Thanks!

  5. Saudi Arabia has deep problems and no amount of crackdowns of protest will solve them. The current king is popular (if I can accept what a read), but that doesn’t change the bankruptcy of the system he is the head of. Oil won’t last forever. The ever increasing royal family is simply a bunch of leeches. They are no different that thieves like Qadaffi, except they have slightly better lineage.

  6. @ Jeery

    even though I look froward for reforms in my homeland but with no royal family there is no Saudi.
    Arabia was united by the founder to be Saudi, no Al Saud no Saudi, there is only different regions of Arabia and tribes! Most people know that and this why they are royalists! I really think we need reforms in many aspects but I am against the aggressive language towards the King or the future Kings especially from an outsider or Saudi who chose not to be a Saudi or chose not to live in the kingdom fro ever. And those who were educated in Iran Hoza!

  7. @Saud – I take it you are referring to MoQ… who hasn’t even jumped in here to say anything. Why the jabs when he hasn’t even popped up on this thread. Don’t hold grudges my man. Respect others’ opinions.

    And the royal family is a bunch of leeches. The royal welfare program is a GINORMOUS waste of Saudi money and resources which should be dedicated to the people of KSA NOT a bunch of spoiled princes and princesses whose sense of entitlement is outrageous. Here’s a brief rundown of the program if you (or anyone else) is interested in just how wasteful and ridiculous it is:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/28/us-wiki-saudi-money-idUSTRE71R2SA20110228?pageNumber=1

    I respect how patriotic you feel toward your country Saud, I really do, but I do think that you are highly biased. And even those who “chose not to be a Saudi” can offer valuable insights. You’re taking a lot of what’s being said very personally as if you’re being personally attacked and answering that with personal jabs towards others. Not very nice dear.

  8. @

    I wasn’t refering to the whole royal family but in specif the sons of the founder and their sons, as they are the main line who connected us 80 years ago and still and will. I think the welfare is outrages, it should be reduced but still I don’t accept aggressive towards the royal family in general and The past, present and future kings in specif. I think an outsider have to dig deep into the society. But the Saudis who chose not to be Sadui, have bigger problems with the people and their culture(s) more than the royals and if have no good intentions. Still I hold that most people in Saudi weather born in 88 or in 79 ( the majority ) are royalists .

  9. @ Irritated

    And I wasn’t referring to specific person because it is not my biggest concern. I was reffering to type of people who are not part of the society and try to speck for it and as its voice, weather in Saudi, Egypt or Algeria.

  10. Saud, can I ask you if you think then that the King and his brothers and future kings are entitled to the outrageous amounts of money they receive? I didn’t read any real aggression toward the royal family except calling them leeches which is to say that they squander the money of the Saudi people as if it comes in endless supplies forever while ignoring the state of welfare of most people in your country. It’s not aggression you’re reading Saud, it is criticism, something you freely dole out when you feel it is appropriate for your responses.

    My advice to you is to not try to judge peoples’ intentions or make assumptions about others because truly you do not know. This is dangerous territory dear. Don’t assume you understand MoQ’s background because you have veryyyy little to go off of and you shouldn’t judge another person because that is Allah’s job, not ours. You don’t know MoQ’s history at all. So, with that in mind, I would encourage you to keep your debate free of personal jabs. If you really read past your personal feelings about MoQ you will begin to see an extremely knowledgeable person who is a highly skilled debater. He hasn’t attacked you, so I would encourage you to retract your attacks and keep your personal judgments in check. I’m not trying to be the blog police, but you are being a little childish.

  11. And I don’t really buy your excuse of not referring to someone specifically because you took issue with him about his non-Saudiness on another thread. I can see through that thin veil my man.

    The thing you need to accept is that people all over the world have an opinion about people all over the world. I am SURE you have an opinion about the US even though you are not from there. I am SURE at one point you have offered a great amount of criticism whether it be in a conversation with friends or on a blog or your social media (whatever) you have said something critical of another country… because every single last one of us has. This is a blog about your country. Hence, we talk about your country. It’s natural that there will be friends and foes… support and opposition. This is life dear so play fairly.

  12. I don’t see any personal attacking in my comments anyway. It is simple as that, you can’t evaluate deep current “local” issues if you don;t consider yourself one of them, or immerse your self into that society. Other than that, it is just an outsider analysis that may or may not be in touch with the locals. And most of thime is out of touch, Just like asking for a secular system in Saudi ,for a republic in Jordan or a full democracy in Qatar! I state a Saudi youth opinion.

  13. Saudi Arabia now rule Bahrain and will continue to do so regardless. GCC security forces were designed to defend them from external threats, but now has become a tool to crush their democratic aspiring peoples.

    Iran could have taken Bahrain years ago if that’s what it wanted but had not because of fear of the US not of the absolute, corrupt and illegitimate nomadic dynasties that rule the Gulf are by the sword.

    The Arab gulf tyrannical regimes want to draw the Persians into a war so the US can destroy Iran, their last nemesis in the Muslim World, and when that is done give the US and the West the Middle finger and invite China with whom they share political values, to come in and protect them from their disenfranchised people.

    They invade Bahrain to send a message to their oppressed people and show them what will happen to them if they imitate the courageous Bahrainis.

    Religion and religious people are deadly tools used to legitimize illegitimate regimes and justify their draconian policies against their peoples, especially women, religious minorities and blacks.

    This is why King Abdullah announced hundreds of millions to build new mosques, apartments for religious police and for institutions that force children to memorize the Quran.

    The Gulf autocratic ruling families are ganging on the peaceful majority of Bahrainis not because they have done harm to them, but to send a message to their oppressed people. They are telling them, look what will happen to you if you try to replace us with more humane and forward looking people.

  14. Having an opinion about an issue is one thing, but stating it is the people’s ideas is a different thing, especially if you don’t relate to the people or the land. As I said, an outsider analysis about very local issues, is just her/his views but a local opinion is a reflection of what people in the society think. I see it like this

  15. Saud, you can’t possible claim to represent the entire Saudi population and claim to be the opinion of the entire population. That is ludicrous. Your society is highly diverse. You are of one single opinion and that is ALL you can claim unless you can back it up with authentic facts. For the record, my husband, a Saudi from Riyadh, is highly critical of his government and expresses himself often about his opinions. So your logic here doesn’t hold water. If you have such an issue about the opinions and the people here with whom you are conversing, why are you here??? What do you hope to accomplish. Just like they will not change your mind about your opinions, you will not change theirs. So what is the goal?

  16. Yes we can talk about Bahrain as being a pawn for the larger countries. However, that is only true if the government of the country allows it to be such. The fact of the matter Shiiats will have sympathy and relationship with Iran. Calling any relationship with Iran as submission to it is a baseless charge. Who determines what country should have relationship with others. If a government is truly a representative of its people, why is it anyones business what relationships they have?

    The point Saud and others miss, is most of us do not like Iran. I think the Iranian government has proven its brutality and dark ages mentality. However, we can not keep supporting oppression of people using the excuse that they may make choices we do not like.

    Now for the real proven traitors of their own people. The government of Bahrain invited foreign forces to suppress its people. Some how that is explained as looking for the interest of the country. Interest of any country should match the interest of its citizens. Instituting marshal law on a population, serves only the rulers.

    Regarding talking about royals. Our friend here wants to silence voices that speak the truth. Anyone in a free society can criticize anything they like. Anyone else can debate whether that criticism is valid. Saud made many comments to provide his position, but when tough questions are asked he runs from them as he cannot support his positions with valid argument.

  17. @ Irritated
    s
    In fact I was referring to the old generation who chose not to be Saudi , culturally and as citizens, and yet dare to speck as representative of Saudis eventhough they have no grounds over-there. As one Saudi state a center of Saudi for human rights established in in a foreign country with lectures in Israel and an American citizens proud of his son in the American Army. This is just no acceptable from most people in Saudi, neither what he calls for or they way he specks as representative of the majority of Saudis.

    Saudi youth in K.S.A and students abroad are showing their support to the King and at the same time hoping of the type of reforms they want, not the outsiders want.

    I delivered my views as a Saudi youth from Khobar city for people who wants to know what Saudis who actually from there think.

  18. @ Irritated

    I didn’t claim I represent all Saudis views of course bur for sure I represent A Saudi view not an outsider view.

  19. Saud, I still take issue with you claiming to represent a group of people. Seriously, you can only claim to represent yourself. So, we accept your personal opinion about what you say, but if you claim to represent the youth of Khobar then I don’t think anyone here is going to see your claims as credible.

    Really, what you should write is “I delivered my views as a Saudi youth from Khobar city for people who wants to know what a young Saudi from here think”. Do you see my point here?? You are but one voice so rejecting other peoples’ opinions because they are not from there or choose another path is wrong by claiming that you are the all inclusive Saudi.

  20. *sigh* I give up.

  21. @Saud,

    “I delivered my views as a Saudi youth from Khobar city for people who wants to know what Saudis who actually from there think.”

    That is what you claim that they think. Even if you are trying real hard to know that info, your discussions are not scientific for multiple reasons 1) people do not always tell what they feel if they are scared of the government and its spies 2) you cannot have a large enough sample.

    However, there is a real easy way to get accurate results. Saudi could simply put such questions about their government to a vote. What do you think?

  22. @ MoQ
    Here we go claim and assumptions based on outdated information about group ofpeople you don’t live or talk with in Majles and cafes !!

    I really would like to see this kind of vote you are suggesting. It would be VERY interesting to see the results!

  23. @ MoQ

    As I said many times before, I think much reforms are needed but I am against any call of overthrowing the monarchy or disrespecting any of the previous Kings ( especially including the Founder) or the present King. This is my beliefs about my country

  24. Whatever happens next, it is not going to be pretty – not in Bahrain and not here in Saudi. And no amount of blood money is going to help. The show of force in Bahrain was a clear statement to the folks back home – we will crush you. Throwing more money – and power – to the religious right just adds another dimension to the threat. You can almost smell their desperation and fear. As for Iran, they don’t have the funds to play at the same table as Saudi, tho they sure would like the world to think otherwise.

  25. Saud – how is anyone here disrespecting your king??? I see that people are questioning his policies and his decisions. I don’t see anyone name calling or any other thing like that. How can you equate questioning authority with disrespect????

  26. Oh and just because MoQ doesn’t live with or talk with people in majlis or cafes does not mean he is not entitled to his opinion!!! Your opinion is NOT the only one that matters and just because you are Saudi does not entitle you to the only one with authority to have an opinion about Saudi Arabia. Get over yourself Saud. Again, this is a blog about your country… so we talk about your country! And it’s written by what you would refer to as an “outsider” so what is your deal dude????

  27. Irritated- I wasn’t talking about this post or this blog but about some outsiders or ex-Saudis voices. You can read between the line you will know what I mean by the ” old generation” and calling for unwanted and unrealistic secular Saudi or overthrowing the monarchy while their sons fight in foreign armies and they have no popular ground whatsoever in Saudi. And these voices don’t question policies, they question the people’e love from him and his popular grounds and I think is disrespectful because they don’t take into consideration our local voice when they talk about this issue. Like when the western media took a facebook group of 20,00 members as a sign for unrest in Saudi while at the same time the facebook group of more than 100,000 members that was against protests and was showing support for the king wasn’t talked about it all!!
    Anyway, maybe I am not the best communicator in English but at least I try to make sure that a Saudi youth view is presented in some posts here. I have to have some sleep after a week of work and enjoy my weekend it suppose to be sunny here in Montreal.

  28. “This is my beliefs about my country”

    Saud you can believe what you like, but others do not have the same believes.

    By the way, you can search this blog all you like, you will never see a comment from me about over throwing the monarchy. However, I think no ruler should be free from criticism even the strong type. I also believe that you cannot have true reform if leaders are not criticized. Actually, in my book a person is not a leader, if he cannot accept criticism.

    In the case of Saudi Arabia the leader is presiding over a corrupt and incompetent government. You can blame that on his old age or lack of education and knowledge. All are valid, but it is equally valid to say he is not capable of leadership. Perhaps, a good approach for Saudi is to create a prime minister position and hand it to a more capable and younger person. The King can shed that administrative title and remain as a simple of the country’s unity.

    The issue Saud is the royals hang on to every power and not let capable Saudis run the country and improve its condition. I think that is taking the country in a path that is ruining its future. In 50 years or so, Saudi will run out of Oil. The country is running out of time to provide the type of economy that can support its exploding population. Any patriotic Saudi should look at Yemen and think whether Saudi will be in the same boat 50 years from now, if a change does not happen.

  29. @ Irritated

    did you read mu comments? I said that everyone has an opinion about whatever issue they are interested in. However, an outsider opinion reflects a view that is not from within the current society. On other hand, A local opinion reflects A view from within the society. That is all what I am trying to say. An outsider opinion is how they see issues in Saudi based on their own background while A Saudi view reflects an opinion from within. Also, some ex-Saudis or outsider state social issues as facts and as it applies to all the country while in fact it is limited for example only.

  30. @ MoQ

    In this matter, I actually agree with you in most parts that the prime minister position can be like the Kuwaiti one for example but after learning from their mistakes.

  31. You are impossible to have a conversation with. Your story evolves too much to suit our own agenda. It’s maddening. I did read your comments and I do read your comments and I respond directly to them. You on the other hand respond to mine with an altered version of the original opinion.

    For example, you said to MoQ – “@ MoQ
    Here we go claim and assumptions based on outdated information about group of people you don’t live or talk with in Majles and cafes !! ” You are discrediting MoQ’s opinion due to his lack of presence in these majlis and cafes. This is wrong.

  32. Yes I believe Iran has a role to play.

    The Pearl monument at the roundabout in Bahrain is razed to the gorund. Very sad. In a way, it symbolizes the many lives that this unnecessary situation took. The Pearl died with the people.

    If only people opted for dialog.

  33. let me clear it then, He talked about the people ( their feelings ) while as fas as I know haven’t been to Saudi in while , if he have been then I take it back.
    It is like I talk about what Algerian feel about certain issue because I only talked to some who live in Montreal or without talking or living with Algerian youth in Alger or Wahran. I mean we locals do speck second languages and those who don’t express it in Arabic. We don’t have somebody to say who we feel and they haven’t been there in a while. But when it comes to views , everyone can have their own.

  34. “He talked about the people ( their feelings ) while as fas as I know haven’t been to Saudi in while”

    Saud, these are all assumptions you made. I have never talked about my travels to Saudi (as far as you know I can be in Saudi now preparing for the next protest 🙂 ). Neither do I think it is necessary to support any arguments I say. One of the fallacies in debate is to claim authority on a topic just because you come from a certain background or specific tribe, etc. Such tactics show weakness of argument. Hence, I do not try to support my arguments based on personal heritage, profession, successes or failures in life, etc. I try to make my arguments based on knowledge and logic.

    I think you should consider debating without such crutches and ad hominem arguments.

    Note: I also never said I speak for all Saudi’s. You actually claimed to speak for the youth of Khubar. I said I know many Saudi’s do not like their government. There is a big difference between the 2 words (all vs many).

    Also to be clear, some of the arguments Saud made were about Ali not me. Such as the visit to Israel, the American Army connection, etc. I think those are not valid arguments also, as they were not focused on Ali’s points, but rather on the person (i.e. perfect definition of ad hominem arguments)

  35. So what if Baharain protestors are Shia? Why the hell Saudi should support a non-democratic govt in Baharain?

    There should be free and fair election in peaceful way and choose a leader who will be responsible for the welfare of its citizen with equal treatment to all irrespective of sects, religion, tribes.

    Saudi king is one of the worst monarchic leader ever seen. US is silently supporting all stupidity in the world like Saudi king’s policy, Pakistan’s policy against India, Isarel’s atrocity on palestine people and unlawful occupancy.

    Monarchy is not islamic nor accepted in society. All monarchic govt should go without delay. Even though I m a sunni, I stand for justice and truth and I support Shia protesters of Baharain.

  36. irratated
    Saud, you can’t possible claim to represent the entire Saudi population and claim to be the opinion of the entire population

    are you sure? saud acts like most of the saudi i know at his age. maybe your husband at one time was just like him, but lived out his country and grew older and changed the way he thinks because he is married to a westerner. out of respect, you would think he would at least try to think like you. if he was married to a saudi , maybe his thoughts will change but in a more tolerent way for his country.
    too many western girls grow irritated of saudi for a reason. not there cup of tea. cheers!

  37. irritated. sp>oops

  38. Saud, people can believe a lot of stuff, that doesn’t make it truth. You have no idea what ”people” think, you are not even there at the moment so I bet you haven’t talked to every person in Khobar lately.
    Saudi society being as unnaturally run as it is you will never be able to speak to 50% of Khobar people anyway.

    And what has the Saudi Royal family done which deserves all his respect and adulation?
    Their rule has not yet accomplished anything which deserves respect in my opinion.
    The way I see it they have deranged the minds of their countries people by destroying the indigenous cultures of the different parts their country and replaced them with a super repressive experiment in social engineering which has resulted in a completely dysfunctional society.
    They have taken away most freedoms and human rights from women. (btw, it is fact that no society can thrive and become prosperous without the full participation and freedom of women)
    The fabulous wealth which was thrown into their lap by the discovery of oil in the EP they have kept for themselves and their minions. There is great poverty in Saudi Arabia and no functional social help. That sucks for a government with lots of money to spare.

    There is no program to encourage people to have less children, in a country with dwindling natural resources and absolutely no chance of feeding it’s own people from it’s own resources that is a disregard for the future and an inability to plan for the future which is mind boggling.

    Nothing except Aramco seems to be properly run, people are corrupt, the royal family does not only keep the oil wealth for itself but it also takes percentage from every foreigner who wants to do business in KSA, they can and do take any business or property they like from the l;awful owners, look at what happens in Mecca. They shouldn’t be called the Royal family, they should be called the Royal Mafia they way they exhort and terrorize.
    And the royal family is complacent watching hundreds of people die in regular floodings of one it’s most important cities because they can’t get round to the task of building a proper sewage system.

    And when we look at other Gulf countries like Qatar and UAE it becomes very clear what the difference is, in Gulf societies and cultures, between more efficient governments and the incompetent Saudi royal family.

    So where ”respect” comes in here is an absolute mystery to me. (except from the minions who benefit and get rich by the status quo).

  39. I HATE the idea of monarchies anywhere. The entire concept that someone is born to rule is unjust, unfair, and bound to to lead to abuses of rights.

    However, if there was a constitution put into place that made the king of KSA nothing more than a figurehead with NO actual powers over the elected government, that would be fine. They could be like other monarchies in Europe, not much more than curiousity pieces that gather tourist dollars for the local economy.

    If the royal family refuses democracy, refuses to listen to the people and cede power? They should go the way of the French monarchs.

  40. @Gia- this has nothing to do with how he actually represents the population of KSA. I take issue with his claim that his opinion is the correct one simply due to his nationality. He discredits others opinions saying that they cannot possibly have any credibility due to their being “outsiders”. I subscribe to the theory that people are entitled to their opinion regardless of whatever “connection” they have to anything being discussed. It is a debate. My reference to my husband was to show that there is diversity among the population. I met my husband in my university at an international student Q&A panel in which my husband was quite honest and critical of his government and culture. We met that day. I doubt my existence affected his views then. I am American. There is no way I would ever claim to represent all Americans or all Muslims. Saud doesn’t have to agree with anyone, but he should recognize the fact that other people have the right to criticize and voice their opinions.

  41. @Saud you only represent one sub-group of Saudi thought. And you aren’t even living here now- so by some definitions YOU are the “outsider”.

  42. @saud

    I am being harsh on the royal family for a good reason, but I was trying to make a point. Qaddafi and the Saud family are both siphoning off the wealth of the country. Qaddafi is more brutal, but that may be the only difference. A constitutional monarchy with a vastly reduced royal family would make a lot of sense.

  43. @ Irritated
    I didn’t say my opinion is the only one in saudi but I do represent A SAUDI view. What pisses my off is when an outsider or an exSaudi talk not about issues but about Saudis feelings or way of thinking and their expectations just because they talked to some Saudis in the west or those who hold western style of governments as standard for every nation! And Yes as MoQ said I was referring to Ali as he claims he represent Saudis views while in reality he has no ground whasoever in Saudi. Every time a Saudi youth represent a view that don’t agree with completely western style thinkers, he or she not taking into consideration in the western media ( e.g the 100,000 group members they didn’t talk about while talking about the 20,000 because the idea suited them )
    The only views of Saudi that are showed. The extremists western style or the extremists religious ones!
    Again, opinion is one thing but saying you know how the youth of saudi think while you are not deep into their society is false claim. Saudi youth can speck of themselves, there are different views but I am bloody sure that most of them weather abroad and coming home later or home agree in the principals, stability of the country, reforms that suit the country and agree that the country was untied by the founder and we believe in his sons and their sons as leaders , even if this wasn’t perfect. In facts, there is no person in the MENA area that is loved by his people like King Abduallah unlike what some theorizer abou Saudi try to say.

  44. It is possible to retain monarchy as figureheads and also have a democratically run government. Yes the monarchy costs money to maintain but it’s a small price to pay for freedom to vote and an elected government.

  45. I am going to jump in and offer my two cents here, if you don’t mind, and try to stay on topic.

    First off, Abu Sinan, I usually enjoy hearing your viewpoint on things but I must confess that I was absolutely appalled when you said that the Saudi Monarchy should go the way of the French. Are you crazy?! That has to have been one of the darkest periods in that country’s history, and I should know as I’ve been studying the French language and culture for years. The massacre that was the Reign of Terror left scars on that country and others that will never be erased and no one deserves for that to happen to their country. I would hope that we could learn from the mistakes of our forebears and, if the people really do want to change their style of government, find a better way to do so. However, given my personal experience with Saudis and what I have read, I don’t think they would support such a venture to begin with. Reform, yes. Complete expulsion of the royal family, no.

    Personally I have always liked the idea of monarchy, if done correctly, though I agree with Jerry that certain reforms such as a vast reduction in numbers and entitlements would be a great place to start. More accountability is also key, though perhaps a bit trickier. I do not agree that elected officials are automatically better, however. Look at the mess in the US right now – very few people are happy with the way the country is being run and those in power are too busy jockeying for more that they don’t really care. For gods’ sake Obama went golfing when the tsunami hit Japan! I think a ruler who has been groomed to rule well and to take responsibility for and to represent his/her people might be a good idea – but to be given too much power or too many privileges is also a mistake. You have to find a balance that works for the unique culture in question.

    Democracy is a good base, but our way is not necessarily the best way. All systems are imperfect. The key is to constantly strive to improve, and to make sure we are doing things for the right reasons. Why is all of this happening in Bahrain? I can’t tell you, but there are a lot of theories. The trick is try to sort through all the distractions and try to help the people figure out what is best for them – not to tell them what is best, nor for them to ignore what “outsiders” say out of hand, because the more ways you can see a problem, the better you can understand it. If they need a little foreign muscle to help, that’s fine, but ultimately it should be the people’s decision.

  46. @Sarah – ‘The Pearl monument at the roundabout in Bahrain is razed to the gorund. Very sad. In a way, it symbolizes the many lives that this unnecessary situation took. The Pearl died with the people’

    How did the monument come to be razed?

  47. @azureyes126

    “I do not agree that elected officials are automatically better”

    I would have to agree with you there. One can see in the US almost the same kind of stagnation as one sees in Saudi Arabia. I don’t mean the problems are the same but politicians in the US aren’t willing to admit that hard choices must be made.

    Still in the Saudi system on simply doesn’t know what the people want, one only knows what powerful tribal and religious leaders want. If they were making good decisions and moving the country towards a better future, one could sit back and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately the real needs of Saudi Arabia are only hinted at. Adding more religious police is hardly an answer. Would an elected system make for better choices? At this point I just don’t think so, but at least everyone would know that they have a stake in it.

  48. Jerry, you make a good point regarding stagnation in the US being similar to the stagnation in Saudi, though our problem are, indeed, so different. Clearly both systems have their issues, though a lot of people seem to take one side or the other and then insistently deny that their choice form of government has any negatives at all. I agree that more religious police and dictates are not the answer and raise you one, saying they may in fact be part of the problem. This is just my view of it, you understand. Do you (or anyone else here) have any theories about how the people’s needs and wants could be better heard and addressed without scrapping the entire monarchy? (or other government system since we’ve already agreed we have issues with this even in the US)? A sort of middle ground, if you will? I stated earlier that I thought more accountability for decisions made is important, but as with most ideas it’s a bit sticky on the implementation.

  49. the saudis who truely are against their country in all aspects can leave. poof. they can go to any western country they desire. just marry a local citizen of that country. plain and simple. get a job buy a house and life is good. they even have girls waiting at the mosques waiting for an arab muslim to take them for marriage. maybe even on the internet i’m sure. these girls don’t want an american muslim, but arab only,but the problem is they can’t wait to leave american soil and go live in saudi, qatar ,oman ect… so they can get in his country and fight to live in it their way. oh,well.
    when i go to the souks or malls or anywhere, i see normal people living their life. they are where they want to be. the only people i know of that is against the ways of the saudi country are the foreign arab women. and american girls not living in the compounds or low income.

  50. @AzurEyes126

    I don’t think older Saudis have any idea that there is anything wrong. I cannot imagine anyone as old as the king, seeing how much economic progress has been made, could think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Given that the country is run by older males, we will need to see that generation pass on before any more change is possible.

    As far as getting needs addressed without changing the system completely, there needs to be a move to have a constitutional monarchy. A bit like Europe but with a lot more power. The country needs to start thinking that its power comes from the populace not from divine right. The country needs to have a system of professionally gathered statistics that are published on a consistent basis. I continually see articles in the Saudi press that mention numbers but sources are rarely given. Knowledge is power and I assume the royal family would balk at doing this, but it is necessary. Many things would be hard to define (when is a woman considered as unemployed) and verifcation of data would be problematic at the start, but public data released on a regular basis would be a terrific push to get improvements done.

  51. @AzurEyes126,

    What I meant was that the royal family should be wiped out if they cannot conform to modern democratic principles as expressed in other constitutional monarchies.

    I have no love at all for monarchies. To have ANY fondness of monarchies to really ignore history. The idea that someone, by accident of birth, has a right to rule others is just an insane concept. Throughout history there have been some good and just monarchies, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    A system where the people can pick and choose their own leadership based on the actions, merits and policies of those said leaders is, without a doubt, the best system. That is reflected in the success and advancement of said societies. The more democratic a country, the better they do. Like Rome, Greece, USA ect.

    Monarchies, by their very nature, have to rely on neoptism and favourtism to thrive. You dont think the Saudi royal family has so many supporters because of the grand nature of their guidance do you? It is because they use their wealth and privledge to buy the support of the people around them. In the money in Saudi ran out today the royal family wouldnt last 10 years. But, as their massive amounts of money stored outside of Saudi show, they are more than ready to retire abroad in the West in such an event.

    @Saud,

    There are MANY Saudis who HATE their government and the entire royal family. Unlike yourself, they do NOT have the freedom to voice such opinions. The other day I heard a radio interview with a Saudi at a mall, he refused to give his name and said Saudis dared not speak up because if they had the “wrong ideas” they would end up missing the next day.

    The Saudi people will “love” this government until they think it is safe to voice their real opinions. When that happens………think something more along the lines of Libya as the Saudi royal family and lackies will slaughter as many of their own countrymen as they have to, to remain in power. They are loyal to their own position long before anything having to do with their country. Think of the arrogance! Naming an entire country after your own family????? That and the long line of Kings who were illiterate, but had no problems dropping a million dollars in a single night of gambling.

    Oh yeah……..the prime example of Islam.

  52. Lynn, the pearl monument was razed by the gove authorities.

  53. Jerry, I like this little chat back and forth we’ve established 🙂 You have a very good point about the older Saudis being clueless – this is not necessarily a criticism of Saudis, but perhaps a bit of a gender gap as well. Older people often tend to wax nostalgic about “the good old days” and not take into account the changing world dynamics as needs of the younger generations as they should. They may see the progress that has been made and be somewhat blinded to the further progress that is possible. I am eager to see what this new generation may do with the country as they come into their own, given their diversity of views and values.

    I also like your idea of a shift in ideals rather than systems. I read an article recently that termed many of the royals’ attitudes as that of part-owners of “Al Saud, Inc” and that therefore they may do as they please with it. If they were more cognizant of the respect and responsibility they owed to the people as a whole perhaps this mentality might change (especially if the royals themselves were down-sized, lol). Publishing organized stats and information would not only help with accountability (a key term recently for us teachers) but also with the organization of the country as a whole, and quite probably help to push along King Abdullah’s reforms a bit more efficiently. How can you know what the problems are if you don’t know who needs help, and who’s screwing up? Perhaps a bit more organization could help with the recurring floods, caring for the destitute, appropriate budgeting of funds, and even just tracking down people you need to get in touch with (long story for a different post).

    Unfortunately in the regions outside of Saudi, I greatly fear that this may not end well for the peoples of Bahrain and Lybia. As in the countries of Central America, revolutions often create power vacuums – filled by previously popular dictators or organizations that get their nations and the world into much greater trouble. Or “helpful” foreign forces may decide to take charge and the people be treated like puppets. Either way, no one wins, and there go all our aspirations for a peaceful society in touch with its citizens. Here’s to hoping history will work itself out in the long run.

  54. Lynn, the Pearl Monument was destroyed because the government wants to kill hope in it’s people. The monument was a rallying point and they destroyed it as a reminder of what they will do to the people if they don’t tow the line.
    And to hurt them psychologically.

  55. The question is which way the hands of time are going….

    Anyway, in honor of St Pat this week, and to see if I, too, can embed video, here goes fun

    PS: Look at all that skin on the dancers. I think it wouldn’t happen in a mall in Jeddah. How immoral!

  56. Oh heck, video screen did not show. At least link is good.

  57. I love flash mobs! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  58. Sarah, Yes, the government razed that perfectly good monument that was a source of pride for it’s citizens and yet you seem to want to blame the protesters for that? That’s how I understood your comment that said ‘if only people opted for dialog’.

    I think it was a show spoiled brat immaturity and If I were a citizen I would be disgusted with my govt for doing something so ridiculous. I think it would make me that much more determined to put real leaders in place.

    sheesh!

  59. Lynn…no generalization here at all…Arabs LOVE to sweep things under the carpet…cant see it cant talk about it cant acknowledge it etc….monument gone…protests and resulting action (deaths etc) didnt happen.

  60. Lynn, please do not assume things and put things in my comments that are not there. Please. I did not blame the protestors anywhere for the razing of the monument.

    I was talking about the loss of lives when i said “if only people opted for dialog”. A structure is only a structure but lifes are more important. Yes it was a ridiculous thing to do. It may be a symbol or “bad memories” but it could have become something historical – with a story behind it. Whats the point of demolishing it? Would it clear the hearts of the protestors and make everything normal?

  61. This was your complete comment. I didn’t add anything to it.

    ‘Yes I believe Iran has a role to play.

    The Pearl monument at the roundabout in Bahrain is razed to the gorund. Very sad. In a way, it symbolizes the many lives that this unnecessary situation took. The Pearl died with the people.

    If only people opted for dialog.’

    I don’t think you can blame ME if I took that as a complaint against the protesters, especially given your previous comments.

  62. Lynn, dear, I don’t blame you. I am sorry if I my statement carried a wrong meaning to you. I have clarified what I meant. Sometimes I get carried away and its possible that I write something that is misunderstood.

    I again say, I do not blame the protestors. I feel lives are more valuable than a structure.

  63. Do you know what I find kind of strange. Here in the the Ras Tanura/Dammam and Khobar area things are normal and quiet…..but when you watch the news things seem to be blown way out of proportion.

    The day before the so called “Day of Rage” I had seen people willingly painting their cars and windows supporting King Abdullah. I went to go pray on that Friday, and absolutely nothing occured….just some police around.

    When I watch the news, I’m scared. But when I look around, all seems well. Something to think about.

  64. Felicia…the exact opposite in Bahrain…you watch the news and all is under control and the police are just doing their job…look out the window and apparently a whole other reality exist. Go figure.

  65. About the GCC intervention in Bahrain by some American analyst in CNN:

    ” They also sent a message to Washington: Bush naively gave Iraq to the Shia, Obama won’t do the same to Bahrain.
    U.S.-Saudi relations have gone into a deep freeze. The Saudi-US alliance which dates back to 1945 will survive but much reduced. Riyadh will increasingly look east to India and China.
    The Shia will be further radicalized. Expect more Hezbollah-type terror like the 1996 attack by Iranian-backed Saudi Shia on the U.S. air base in Khobar. ”

    I may add they are indeed radicalized Shia not normal ones.

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