The United States of America, that faraway magnetic land, going by the huge number of people it attracts, may be facing the biggest challenge to its supremacy in the Gulf region, particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The 70-year-old relationship between the House of Saud and the US, built on the basis of ‘oil for security’, may be witnessing the beginning of its end.
King Faisal, the ineffective, controversial, and reportedly hospitalized Saudi monarch is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. He had only just ascended the throne in January, 2015. With the 79-year-old unlikely to return to his throne, what does the future hold for Saudi Arabia? Will the power hungry, large-sized royal family recognize and acknowledge Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef as the successor? Division within the royal ranks is a more likely scenario, if global affairs and security analysts are to be believed.
Guardian’s latest report reads: An anonymous Saudi Prince has claimed that two letters have circulated among senior members of the royal family, encouraging them to stage a coup against King Salman…
The Russians are circling, too, in their air offensive against the rebels and the anti-Assad forces in beleaguered Syria. Being the first real power to directly use force against the ISIS, Russia will have a greater role to play in the region’s dynamics in the coming years.
The outrageously oil-rich country is not even helping its own cause. By bullying Yemen and pounding its Houthi rebels to death, Saudi Arabia is getting serious flak for flexing its muscles against a weak nation like Yemen. The King’s son is alleged to be the mastermind behind the move. Astonishingly, there is no exit strategy, a blunder that is costing the Kingdom dearly, both in blood and treasure.
Put all the troubles together and the country looks politically exposed to external influence, other than that of the US, of course. It is easy to predict the repercussions of a power change in Saudi Arabia. If the House of Saud is forced to surrender power to another entity that does not share Washington’s aspirations and agenda, who knows, the oil fields could open to countries apart from the US.
The US has milked Saudi Arabia for more than half-a-century through a quid pro quo arrangement: Saudi Arabia will open its oil wells to the US, and the world’s lone superpower will ensure that Saudi Arabia is well protected from external threat.
But that is a chapter in history that is already fast closing. The possible change in power in the Kingdom could well sound the death-knell for the Americans. It might also trigger the beginning of the end of US’ domination.