“Now Prince Mohammed has swiftly accumulated more power than any prince has ever held, upending a longstanding system of distributing positions around the royal family to help preserve its unity, and he has used his growing influence to take a leading role in Saudi Arabia’s newly assertive stance in the region, including its military intervention in Yemen. In the four months since his coronation, King Salman has put Prince Mohammed in charge of the state oil monopoly, the public investment company, economic policy and the Defense Ministry…………. But some Western diplomats, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the prince and the king, say they are worried about the growing influence of the prince, with one even calling him “rash” and “impulsive.”…… After meeting with both princes at a summit meeting of Gulf nations at Camp David last month, President Obama said the younger Prince Mohammed “struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” “I think wise beyond his years,” Obama added in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network……………. “Being with Prince Salman every minute — can you imagine what you would have learned?”………………”
A heart-warming analysis by David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. You’d think a new Saudi age of Camelot is about to burst upon us. With an Arabian JFK and his two wives (so far), two Jackies for one Guinevere, ready to start an era of the Best and Brightest, instead of the Dumb and Dumber. But what about Lancelot, and would the Mufti be his Merlin?
Kirkpatrick, rather reluctantly and almost shyly, notes that some other Saudi princes have “reservations” about their new robber baron. But he salvages it all with the uber-diplomatic comment of Barack Obama to the Saudi semi-official Al Arabiya network.
He said ““struck us as extremely knowledgeable, very smart.” No kidding Barack, no doubt you’ve been reading the groveling Saudi media. No doubt Prince Mohammed is smart enough to inherit the country from his father, but I’m not sure about ‘knowledgeable’. For one, MBS is waiting for his own PT 109 opportunity in the wrong place, in Yemen. Alas, it doesn’t look like the Yemenis are willing to accommodate him: he can’t have it long distance from Riyadh. He needs to get on some new boots (instead of the beautiful Najdi sandals that I really like: نعال نيدي) and dash across the lethal border if he wants to create his own PT 109 moment.
I doubt that Kirkpatrick or other N Y Times pundits waxed as poetic about another dynastic appointed dictator named Kim Jong Un. But then he had access to much less money than MBS. The pudgy Korean has not caused as much damage to his neighborhood (with bombs and cluster bombs) so early in his career. Not yet.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum