“[the Mossadeq syndrome] would have been quite possible in Saudi Arabia.



George McGhee, 1950, at the time the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs.

Today, the house organ of the ruling class explains:

Saudi Arabia is flexing its financial and diplomatic might across the Middle East in a wide-ranging bid to contain the tide of change, shield other monarchies from popular discontent and avert the overthrow of any more leaders struggling to calm turbulent nations…

The kingdom is aggressively emphasizing the relative stability of monarchies, part of an effort to avert any drastic shift from the authoritarian model, which would generate uncomfortable questions about the pace of political and social change at home.

Saudi Arabia’s proposal to include Jordan and Morocco in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council — which authorized the Saudis to send in troops to quell a largely Shiite Muslim rebellion in the Sunni Muslim monarchy of Bahrain — is intended to create a kind of “Club of Kings.” The idea is to signal to Shiite Iran that the Sunni Arab monarchs will defend their interests, analysts said.

There are also suspicions that the kingdom is secretly providing money to extremist groups to hold back changes. Saudi officials deny that, although they concede private money may flow.

“We are back to the 1950s and early 1960s, when the Saudis led the opposition to the revolutions at that time, the revolutions of Arabism,” said Mohammad F. al-Qahtani, a political activist in Riyadh.

Timothy Mitchell writes,

If conservative religious reform movements such as the muwahhidun in Saudi Arabia or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have been essential to maintaining the power and author- ity of those states and if, as we are often told, the stability of the govern- ments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, perhaps more than that of any other governments in the global south, are vital to the protection of U.S. strategic and economic interests, in particular the control of oil, it would seem to follow that political Islam plays an unacknowledged role in the making of global capitalism.

In Egypt, meanwhile, the insurrection continues: “protesters again filled Tahrir Square on Friday to press for an assortment of demands in a demonstration billed as “The Revolution Part II, ” but perhaps most notable for the absence of the Muslim Brotherhood,” an absence that probably explains why protesters are still pushing progressive demands. “Absence” must be interpreted loosely: “The youth wing of the Brotherhood, which is close to many of the young liberal activists, defied their elders to join the demonstration.” Of course some of the activists are liberals, but it was the leftists who organized with the young Brothers initially, not liberals.

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