A Serious Situation in Saudi Arabia

Episode V: The Petrodollar Strikes Back.

Griffin Sonnemann-Creed, Columnist

Located in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia is what most likely comes to mind when the Middle East is mentioned. The country is known for the massive wealth of its ruling elite, its function as one of the last true absolute and religious monarchies in the world, the fundamentalist form of Islam they follow, known as Wahhabism, and, perhaps most importantly, its ownership of massive amounts of oil. However, the country is beginning to undergo massive social change despite the government’s current status quo.

According to CNBC, on Nov. 4, King Salman launched an anti-corruption campaign, ostensibly to reduce corruption in the state’s bureaucracy. The campaign arrested 14 major officials in the Saudi government and media, such as Prince Miteb, a prior contender for the throne, and the former Captain of the National Guard, who controls half of the nation’s military. The Saudi government has also established an anti-corruption committee, known as the Nazaha.

Critics have accused the arrests and campaigns as a power grab by Crown Prince Mohammad, who has been the next successor to the throne since June 2017. Viewed as many as the true power behind the Saudi throne, these attempts at centralization have become more and more common as King Salman grows older.

In addition to these internal problems, Saudi Arabia has taken a new, belligerent route in the course of Middle Eastern diplomacy. Besides their role in the Yemeni and Syrian civil wars, Saudi Arabia has now turned its eyes to Lebanon. According to CNN, the Saudis held their Prime Minister hostage until he resigned. These allegations have coincided with several official statements against the Lebanese government, with the Saudis declaring that Lebanon is preparing for war against them, and urging all Saudi citizens to flee the country at once.

At the moment, no international organizations have given any official statements on the current situation with the Saudi Arabians. Once more, the world watches as the Middle Eastern political situation continues to deteriorate.