Saudi Arabia: Incorrect Diagnosis

Nesrine Malik in the Guardian, “. . . The crown prince [Muhammad bin Salman]  is a masterful marketer, beloved of the western media. So familiar are journalists with him now that he is often referred to as MBS. . . . Inevitably, there is still some denial at play. The history of extremism in Saudi Arabia does not start with the Iranian revolution. It was the result of a cynical use of religion that meant hardline clerics had a free hand to run everything from the school curriculum to public order laws. For the royal family, this appeased a religious establishment that, if alienated, could foment serious discord (such as the siege of Mecca by religious extremists in 1979); and it also helped to establish an authoritarianism that could not be questioned.

Yet there is still no honest reckoning over what lies at the heart of the Saudi malaise. It’s not anything as trite as a lack of democracy; it is the failure to confront the fact that expropriating religion for political purposes will always backfire. Things look promising, but only once that lesson is learned will there be real hope.’ click here.