[I]f you think Iran is the only source of trouble in the Middle East, you must have slept through 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam — the Sufi, moderate Sunni and Shiite versions — and imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment.
It is not an accident that several thousand Saudis have joined the Islamic State or that Arab Gulf charities have sent ISIS donations. It is because all these Sunni jihadist groups — ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front — are the ideological offspring of the Wahhabism injected by Saudi Arabia into mosques and madrasas from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia.
And we, America, have never called them on that — because we’re addicted to their oil and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.
Thomas L. Friedman, Our Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia, NYT, 2 September 2015
The Saudi ground invasion and blockade of Yemen, with no UN mandate, to install a leader of their choice, was a fatal mistake for the House of Saud.
Everything is going the wrong way (How Much Longer Can Saudi Arabia’s Economy Hold Out Against Cheap Oil? Bloomberg, 21 August 2015).
A string of humiliating military setbacks, Egypt and Pakistan refusing to get bogged down, international reactions generally negative:
What worries me is that the Saudi-led air campaign is quite brutal. It’s not like one of our modern air campaigns with the US or the UK, where we worry about civilian casualties. The Saudis, in many cases, seem to be deliberately causing civilian casualties and certainly are causing civilian suffering by knocking out power stations and other pieces of civilian infrastructure.
Michael Knights, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Saudi and UAE boots on the ground intensify the Yemen war, PRI, 12 August 2015
Killing hundreds of civilians and destroying the country’s infrastructures is not going to endear the local population to a puppet president.
There is a serious lack of political and military vision.
Worst of all (from the vantage point of the Saudi leadership), scores of Yemeni volunteers (Houthis represent 40% of the population) are joining the fight and will no doubt seek revenge by crossing the aggressors’ borders and spread their guerrilla warfare across the enemy’s territories.
Inflicting serious damage in Saudi Arabia could divide a Saudi establishment that has invested too much political and financial capital in this war, and even lead to ISIS inroads into the monarchy (‘Thank God for the Saudis’: ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback, The Atlantic, 23 June 2014).
One must keep in mind that the Wahabi doctrine allows for only one ruler: it is either the Saudi king or the Caliph.
Defeat looms large upon the coalition troops and, within a couple of years, we might well see a regime change in Riyadh and/or the break-up of the Saudi Kingdom.
A scenario in which a large number of Saudi citizens turn their back to the dictatorship and force the royals to flee the country and seek refuge in London or Paris is now far from unlikely.