Egypt held its first ever presidential debate this week. I watched part of it on the internet. Many Arabs watched, fascinated by this very first election debate in any Arab state. The excitement was so widespread that many Saudis wished they could have their leaders debate before they take whatever office they inherit.
The so-called “liberal” wing of the al-Saud dynasty were also excited. So-called “liberal” because they think that eventually women should be able to drive cars, as soon as the king and the mufti agree that: (a) they have enough brains to handle it (I know women in the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf region have more or better brains than men: that is why university requirements are much lower for men), and (b) that they have enough sense not to have intercourse with the first driver who blows his horn at them on the road, they all hasten to add.
Meanwhile it is possible that the princes are discussing borrowing the Egyptian experience by having them debate each other to decide who gets what job (king, first prime minister, second prime minister, minister of defense, interior, etc etc). The idea is that the princes would debate each other behind closed doors, that ordinary mortal folks will not get to watch their betters vie for the jobs they were born to get. If no one is voted to have won a debate, rival princes being rival princes, they would flip a riyal coin (head or tail) to decide the winner. The Mufti (Shaikh Al Al Shaikh) would flip the coin according to Wahhabi tradition, just to make it all legit and kosher.
(The Mufti Al probably hasn’t a clue as to the infidel origins of the Riyal. He probably doesn’t know that the “Riyal”, as well as the “Rial” come from the Spanish “Real” meaning “Royal”. He probably rather not know that the coin of the Wahhabi realm bears a Catholic name, that it refers to one or two of their Most Catholic Majesties of Spain (could even be Fernando y Ysabel).