Mohamed Bin Salman is at it again. The yacht-loving Renaissance art collector who tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the American elite this spring is a serial diplomatic disaster.
Bin Salmans plans for a transition of Saudi Arabia from being an oil giant to being a financial hub depend heavily on international confidence and investment. Those plans have crashed and burned, in large part because Bin Salman is like a young bearded Donald Trump, erratic and alternately angry and foolish. Foreign Direct Investment in Saudi Arabia collapsed in the past year, as Bin Salman scared investors off with his various rampages. His hopes for an IPO of the Saudi Aramco petroleum company have receded. Electric cars and renewables are coming on fast (renewables just hit a terawatt globally), and the lions share of Saudi Arabias economy depends on an increasingly worthless petroleum.
He launched a catastrophic air war on Yemen in 2015 to defeat the Houthi rebel group that took over north Yemen. Thousands of deaths and injuries later, with hundreds of thousands displaced and millions on the verge of starvation, the war grinds on.
AP has just reported that in this desperate attack on the rival Houthis of Yemen, Saudi Arabia has de facto allied with the al-Qaeda fighters who are also combatting the Houthis. Since the US gives Saudi Arabia logistical and strategic support in this war, it means that Riyadh has dragged Washington into another al-Qaeda alliance, as though this were Afghanistan in the 1980s.
He kidnapped and imprisoned a whole bevy of other princes, confining them in the Ritz Carlton Riyadh until they forked over billions to him. He abducted the sitting prime minister of Lebanon and tried to force him to resign (this plot failed). He blockaded Qatar and appears to have plotted a military invasion of Doha, which was thwarted by Turkey and by Rex Tillerson who allegedly lost his job over it when the Saudis and the UAE whispered in Trumps ear. Thats right Saudi Arabia is a Trump whisperer.
I think there is increasing evidence that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were part of the plot to put Trump into office and then to manipulate him, a story the Washington press often ignores in favor of a sole fixation on Russia.
After the Canadian foreign minister (a woman) called for the release of Saudi prisoners of conscience (an atheist and a womens rights activist), the Saudi monarchy marked Canada for social death. Riyadh expelled the Canadian ambassa...