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2009-02-15 Arabia
Saudi king shakes up religious establishment
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Posted by Nimble Spemble 2009-02-15 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6472 views ]  Top

#1 Boy, Abdullah is adventurous. He must be quite sure of himself, in that web of tribal and family loyalties. The most significant is the Grand Ulama Commission change. That is not a cosmetic change by any stretch of imagination. Did the contract with al-Wahhab expire?

What is Abdullah up to?
Posted by Spike Uniter 2009-02-15 00:37||   2009-02-15 00:37|| Front Page Top

#2 Wondering about that myself. I would think that the Grand Ulama Commission is about as important to the House of Saud as the Archbishop of Canterbury used to be to the English crown.
Posted by Steve White 2009-02-15 01:04||   2009-02-15 01:04|| Front Page Top

#3 Too many of the Wahhabists have been linked to the various Al-Q factions in Saudi Arabia, and their clerics did not issue the expected fatwas soon enough or harsh enough. The deal between the Royal Family and the Wahhabists was that the Royals ruled and the Wahhabists got to run Mecca and the religious side. Now that Al-Q factions have been busted trying to whack the Royal Family and the Wahhabists did not step up and denounce/deny/inform on the same, the Royals look to be doing some punishment.
Posted by Shieldwolf 2009-02-15 04:42||   2009-02-15 04:42|| Front Page Top

#4 I'm the rank amateur of the bunch so I'll put up a target to be shot at.

Two things have happened and both are elections that George Bush made happen.

Iraq. The Iraqi people, in an election broadly ignored but of immense significance, rejected the Iranian theocratic model and chose secular civil government. Certainly it wasn't the elimination of all religious elements, but it really was a clear rejection of those Sunni as well as Shia elements of Iraqi society who wrap themselves in Islam.

The United States. Bambi is clearly a weak horse. The threat to Saud is now clearly Iran. By continuing to be a reactionary theocracy he risks further alienating the US from being actively involved in the defence of the status quo in the region. Not good. Got to keep cozy. Make Hillary a hero. Good things.

He feels sufficiently secure to tack because a lot of his internal opposition, or at least its muscle, is lying dead in the plains of Iraq and the mountains of Afpak courtesy of the US Army. It seems to me there is a lot less domestic terrorism in Arabia and not just because of internal security.

The Sauds have done well by sticking with the Americans. They know that the ride is not always smooth. They're probably as fond of Jimmy Carter as I. But they know these periods don't last long, their alternatives are few and far less palatable. So better to accommodate the current Clown in Chief and hope he too is a single termer to preserve the long term relationship.

And who knows, perhaps he just wants to do the right thing and this has been his first chance.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2009-02-15 05:06||   2009-02-15 05:06|| Front Page Top

#5 "Lets look at the record" Al Smith
Posted by g(r)omgoru 2009-02-15 06:26||   2009-02-15 06:26|| Front Page Top

#6 Nimble, I don't think it has much to do with 0, seems to be entirely internal affair. The only influences that may have some clout is Iraq's secularization and Iran's belligerence. And if there was an American influence, I would credit W, not 0.

The timing is coincidental, no doubt Abdullah worked on the change since he took over, things are not exactly on a fast track in Soddy due to how society works.

It has to be seen if this is one-in-the-lifetime thing or a step towards other changes.
Posted by Spike Uniter 2009-02-15 09:06||   2009-02-15 09:06|| Front Page Top

#7 Sure didn't mean to sound like I was giving 0 credit. I think the Sauds may be concerned he won't defend them so they're in curry favor mode. Not that he planned it that way, but just that he's such a naif that they need to protect themselves from his ignorance.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2009-02-15 09:14||   2009-02-15 09:14|| Front Page Top

#8 He couldn't have done this without broad support from the other Royals and some of the Religious sector.
Posted by Deacon Blues 2009-02-15 09:28||   2009-02-15 09:28|| Front Page Top

#9 Nimble, I would agree with trying to protect themselves from 0's ignorance part. I simply don't see the curry favor mode part. Soddys hold some money bags in US, but with the economy tanking, they may not see any necessity for the curry favor mode seeing their investments evaporate.
Posted by Spike Uniter 2009-02-15 09:37||   2009-02-15 09:37|| Front Page Top

#10 They can afford to take a long view on the investments. For all we know, they're on a buying spree picking up bargains.

But they do need to keep us sufficiently interested that we continue to defend them for free while we pay for the oil they have others pull oil out of the ground for them.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2009-02-15 09:50||   2009-02-15 09:50|| Front Page Top

#11 gud! loooong live keeng abduelah!

/silense! i keel you!
/srsly. hope nothin bad happns to him.
Posted by muck4doo 2009-02-15 10:50||   2009-02-15 10:50|| Front Page Top

#12 the return of teh Mucky!
Posted by Frank G 2009-02-15 11:07||   2009-02-15 11:07|| Front Page Top

#13 Great move!
Posted by newc">newc  2009-02-15 12:00||   2009-02-15 12:00|| Front Page Top

#14 I'm inclined to give the guy a break. He might just want to improve his country's long term prospects. Clearly they need a new direction.

Shortly after becoming King he left his country and went on a tour in 2007 to meet with Christian leaders that he would consider of his stature, including the Pope and Queen Elizabeth, who like him have national and religious responsibility.

I'd guess the conversations went about like this:
King: How can I get you Christians out of my neighborhood? It's making Islam look bad.
Pope/Queen: Get your Muslims to quit exploding things. It's not safe and people hate it. It's making us look bad.
King: Hmm, I do have some hot heads running things. Let me see what I can do.
Pope/Queen: Okey dokey, good luck on that. You want some tea with that crumpet before you go?

So he pretty much knows that something has to change at home if he is ever going to get rid of us and run his own show.
Posted by rammer">rammer  2009-02-15 12:17||   2009-02-15 12:17|| Front Page Top

#15 .com next?
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2009-02-15 13:01||   2009-02-15 13:01|| Front Page Top

#16 whatever happened to .com? He had some insightful, if strident, input on most occasions.
Posted by remoteman 2009-02-15 13:26||   2009-02-15 13:26|| Front Page Top

#17 remoteman, it's my understanding that .com had some personal issues that required his entire attention. I miss him, too.
Posted by trailing wife ">trailing wife  2009-02-15 14:54||   2009-02-15 14:54|| Front Page Top

#18 "religious police" now that's a concept to make your flesh crawl....
Posted by Choper Smith1874 2009-02-15 15:45||   2009-02-15 15:45|| Front Page Top

23:49 trailing wife
23:26 Shieldwolf
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