Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Smooth transition?

Of course, Saudi media are going out of their way to stress the smoothness of transition.  The Saudi regime media made the Acclamation Body (Hay'at Al-Ba`ah) sound like it is an elected representative body.  There is a clear danger for the regime: the base of power has never been narrower.  The coup of 1964 brought various brothers together.  Muhammad bin Salman, in contrast, has even excluded his half brothers who have had good reputation and attained real education (a rarity in that lousy family).  Furthermore, by becoming the sole ruler, he has to own by himself all the lousy decision of recent years.  He does not have someone else to blame for his blunders and adventures.  To be sure, there will be propagandists of the House of Saud (like the New York Times correspondent Ben Hubbard or Washington Post's David Ignatius) who will tell you how popular the new Crown Prince on social media--in a country where a mere retweet or tweet in disagreement with the government can land you a long jail sentence and where an expression of sympathy for Qatar can land you 15 years in jail in UAE.  Also, the scene of the meeting between Bin Nayif and bin Salman was a bit overdone and manufactured.  Muhammad bin Nayif was way too hurried to finish and was looking as comfortable as when the son of King Abdullah of SA realized that it was too late to change the succession line upon his father's death.