Saudi Arabia is our new best friend, right? Unfortunately, no. But my goodness, it’s complicated.
The Arab and Muslim world is in flux and chaos. The need to halt Iran’s drive for regional hegemony, and the resulting Shia dominance over the Sunni Islamic world, has driven the Saudis into a tacit alliance not only with America but also, even more remarkably, with Israel.
With the UAE, the Saudis are now also leading an economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar, the Sunni Gulf state which is nevertheless allied to Shia Iran and which the Saudis rightly accuse of being behind much of global terrorism.
At the same time, the designated succession to the Saudi throne has passed to a known reformer, Prince Muhammad bin Salman. The new crown prince reportedly wants to drag his country into the modern era in order to survive. That means reforming its economy and giving women more freedom.
The only question that really matters, though, is whether this young princely reformer will put Saudi money and influence behind the defeat of the fanatical Wahhabi Islam that his country helped promote, and through which Saudi Arabia has fueled the export of Islamic cultural conquest, terrorism and holy war across the globe.
The answer to that one is surely: in your dreams.
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