Who would imagine, when a young Saudi prince assumed the charge of his country would soon become so powerful that he would sail against the winds. The crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman is notably considered as not only one of the most powerful world leader but also the most controversial person as far as his young age and his decisions in his country and region are concerned.
In the year 2017, he swam against the tides by allowing the Saudi female citizens to drive without Mahram (refuting his once most propagated brand of Shariah) and by negotiating with powerful Saudi elites against financial corruptions. At the beginning of this year, he is on an official visit to the US where he is consistently giving un-orthodox statements to lure the west media. On 3rd April 2018, he yet again blew the more than seven decades of freedom struggle of the Muslim brothers Palestine by giving a controversial statement about Israel and Palestinian conflict. During his interview in one of the leading US media house, he declared that Jewish people have every right to their ‘own land’.
Before going further to analyze the current scenario, lets drill into the background to know what is compelling this young prince to be even more ‘Pro-Western’ than most of the ‘western countries’. In the year 2017, Saudi Arabia was on the verge of default on its financial debt but eleventh-hour rescue and various economic reforms saved the kingdom. The Government of kingdom shrunk the annual spending by $98 billion to curtail the budget deficit including many harsh and sour decisions never seen before in Arabian Peninsula. According to many economic analysts, the kingdom is completely running on saving mode with minimum spending, high unemployment, inflationary pressure and compulsion to have measures to accelerate the economic growth. The Arabian Kingdom once the leading oil-producing country and once having the most oil reserves are now being challenged by many other countries especially Arch rival Iran.
The whole region of the middle east is currently showing the picture of the classical chess game where many countries are compelling to act like pawns, horses, rocks, and knights in the hands of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Humorously, in many of the recently concluded incidents, these both arch rivals are also by themselves being played in the hands of other world powers. Saudi Arabia has been infamous for his investment in many countries for many reasons. Who would forget the huge investments (spanning over many decades) of Saudi Arabia in promoting their own brand of religion? Or What about the enormous investments put in place to train and provide arms to the Taliban to fight against the Soviet Union? Remember! On the other side, there is no need to elaborate the role of Iranian investment in many countries including Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Pakistan to deal different crisis. This brutal game of chess between both rivals has been playing for many decades and now it has entered in a new phase no one had ever imagined before.
Currently, the young Arabian prince is trying extremely hard to win the hearts of his western allies. He is planning to launch the first ever ‘Fashion Show’ on Saudi soil later this year. He is also all set to host many Hollywood Stars for his country’s first ever ‘Saudi Film Festival’. This seems good and the world gets the perception that the young prince is opening up his country’s so-called closed society and trying to refute the label of spreading religious extremism not only in its own territory but throughout the whole Muslim world. These steps somehow are so much inversely proportional to Saudi’s own brand of Islam that the prince looks stupid to speak a single word to defend his country’s previous core ideologies. This question has still remained unanswered as what is more important for a leader and a country, Ideology or Economy? Have we become more materialists or these ideologies are no longer appealing or alluring?
On the other hand, going deeper one can easily see there is something fishy going on. Last week he was seen saying that he would be anxious about developing Saudi’s own nuclear weapon in order to counter the imbalance created by Iranian nuclear program. He is already in talks with numerous American companies in striking the multi-billion dollar deal in upgrading the rotten Saudi Arms and Ammunitions. But the prime question is why this young prince is so furious for his country’s economic growth, military strength and winning allies for his countries? Is Muhammad bin Salman heading towards one-to-one confront with Iran?
Last week, he directly said that Iran’s Supreme leader would make Hitler looks good. His remarks, about the right of Jewish people to have land, have been widely seen in the broader context of countering the influence of Iran in the region. Many political analysts believe Saudi Arabia no longer has enough and strong allies left to help the kingdom to confront Iran. This makes Israel (another regional player) an ideal ally and second in line with the US to deal with Iran. In reality, Saudi government unofficially had been involved in acknowledging the two-state solution of Israel-Palestine conflict since 2002. This same solution has long been promoted and propagated by the US and its allies for many decades. This is the same solution which has not been accepted by any country in the Middle East. This is the same solution which has been opposed by many non-Muslim countries in the world. This is the same solution which has been the bone of contention between Pakistan and Israel.
This world in which we are breathing is rapidly changing its axis. Historical foes are today’s allies and maybe future partners. Many political analysts believe that we are heading towards another war and most likely in the heart of ME. Are all the stakeholders involved are planning and preparing to play their part? Would the world be able to avoid this unfolding crisis? Only time will tell.