Karen Elliot House worked for decades on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal. She wrote under the late great Robert Bartley, the only man who single-handedly understood the impact that became Ronald Reagan. Karen House’s time at the Journal was well spent, often in the Middle East for months at a time; she’s familiar with just about every significant political personnel throughout the Near East as can be imagined. I often think of her as a polite, well-mannered Oriana Fallachi. Her latest book is out from Knopf, ‘On Saudi Arabia: Fault Line & Future”, this is a very disturbing work, outlining the imminent implosion of the House of Saud.
House concentrates on two disturbing events that occurred in 1979. The first was the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamist terrorists. The Saudi’s needed to find qualified troops to retake the Mosque (they settled on the French). The second crisis is the rising of Iran. When the House of Saud discovered that Iran sought hegemony throughout the lands of Mohammed, the Saudi family sought refuge in developing its own influence. It chose to align itself with the Wahhabis.
The rest is history, so to speak. For what we are dealing with here is a theocratic regime that is struggling to find footing among difficult domestic terrain. Modernity threatens the House of Saud, so does technology, massive social unrest begotten from vastly rising demography, unemployment and inflation. Needless to say, the social, fiscal spending required to sustain any domestic political leverage will bankrupt Saudi Arabia. Numerous studies have highlighted that the House of Saud will implode quickly. The attempt to correct its balance by elevating the archaic thought of the Wahhabis will only speed its demise.
The official policy of having the Wahhabis sanctioned does not fit well with American political objectives either. The Kingdom is furious with America for having permitted a Shiite to rule Iraq after commencing war. It feels threatened by American policy in the region that seeks to elevate the historically dispossessed Shia. The American establishment has also made its demands known referring to the need to constrain the Wahabis throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa. It is my firm belief that they are sympathetic to us for they are not able to deal with the geopolitical threat from Iran or the imminent implosion of Syria. As of this writing gas prices are below $4.00 a gallon in New York City. The House of Saud found capacity and we’re better off for it even with US demand skyrocketing with domestic fracking.
The House of Saud is finding itself threatened from all sides, both domestically and internationally. It will implode. Its fundamentalist doctrine cannot withstand the opportunity that modernity has already given to other Muslims the world over. The Arabs inside Arabia will awaken, in the meantime, can the House of Saud reform itself before the reckoning.