Friday, 13 November 2009

Yemeni Websites: Commentaries Criticize Alleged Saudi, Iranian Interference in Yemen

Yemeni Websites: Commentaries Criticize Alleged Saudi, Iranian Interference in Yemen
Monday, November 9, 2009



Saudi Prince Khaled Al Faisal (2nd R) visits the southern province of Jizan, near the border with Yemen November 7, 2009.


“The Arabs insist that Iran is loyal to its ancestors, and that it is working to restore the Persian Empire at the expense of the Arabs.”


On 6, 7 November, Yemeni news websites were observed to carry commentaries critical of alleged Saudi and Iranian interference in Yemen. The following is a roundup of commentaries as published by these websites. Sanaa Al-Taghyir Online in Arabic


On 7 November carries an approximately 1,000-word commentary by Ahmad Salih al-Faqih entitled: “Saudi Arabia and Sinking in Sa`dah Quagmire.” The writer says that Saudi Arabia “will pretend” in the coming period to be threatened and to be a victim. The writer adds that Saudi Arabia will demand its people to unite, and will call for the support of the whole world in light of the “alleged foreign threat,” which is “Iran.” The writer says that “according to the Saudi official media, which has been repeating these accusations for months, the Huthists are working in Yemen to implement the Iranian plans.” The writer says that “these accusations might turn into a self-realizing prophecy that would plunge the Saudis, who are happy with their big arsenal of equipment that usually rust for lack of use, in a quagmire where they lost their souls and money.” The writer says that “until this day, the Huthists are still surrounded by the Saudi borders from the north and the west, and by the Yemeni governorates from the east and the south,” adding that “no one heard about an Iranian air bridge for transferring weapons to the Huthists.” The writer says that in light of continued talk about Iranian interference in Yemen, “Iran might interfere effectively and use the financial weapon, which the Yemeni tribes are experts in playing with.” The writer concludes by saying that “Saudi Arabia will have to pay the price, which in my opinion will be a very expensive one this time, if it insists to continue its control on Yemen.” Sanaa Al-Masdar Online in Arabic (Website of independent weekly newspaper, critical of government policies; URL: http://www.al-masdar.com/)


On 6 November carries an approximately 1,000-word commentary by Ibrahim al-Saraji entitled: “The Saudi-Iranian Agenda.” The commentary begins by saying: “The Arabs insist that Iran is loyal to its ancestors, and that it is working to restore the Persian Empire at the expense of the Arabs.” The writer urges the Arabs to “leave Iran be, because it is preoccupied with domestic political issues,” adding that “if we have problems from a bad domestic situation, and we assume that Iran is interfering in our domestic issues, then it is better for us to unite in order to prevent this interference.” The writer says that “Yemen and Saudi Arabia forgot that the latter had been supporting and defending the royal regime, and tried to defeat the Yemeni revolution a few decades ago.” The writer adds that “Saudi Arabia and Yemen forgot that the latter supported Saddam Husayn in his ambitions in the Gulf.” The writer says that “Saudi Arabia supports the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM) (for our sake), yet we are (accused of) failing to fulfill our religious and jihadist duty to kill the rejectionists.” Ma`rib Ma`rib Press in Arabic (Independent news website focusing on Yemeni affairs; URL: http://www.marebpress.net/)


On 7 November carries an approximately 1,000-word commentary by Mahdi al-Hajr entitled: “The New Persian Project, and Al Saud`s Options.” The commentary says: “The provocations or skirmishes committed by the Huthists on the Saudi border were not an improvised act or an unstudied reaction,” adding that “for sure, the political authorities of the new Persia had accurately studied and planned these acts.” The writer says Iran expected Saudi reactions, including “a huge military attack,” which can be a “strong message by Saudi Arabia to more than one party.” The writer notes, however, that the consequence of such a reaction is “falling into a trap.”


The writer says that these Iranian “provocations” could be “the first step in preparing for playing inside the kingdom.” The writer added that “Al-Qaeda is waiting, and it may have timed (its actions) and signed a contract with the Huthists, and perhaps even with the ayatollahs of Qom, as evidenced by the coincidence of the Huthist attacks on Saudi Arabia and the quality operation by Al-Qaeda in Hadramawt.”


Analysis Views Huthist, Qaeda Wars` Impact on Saudi Arabia`s Succession Process
Al-Quds al-Arabi Online
Monday, November 9, 2009


Report by “Political Editor”: “Huthists and `Al-Qa`ida`s` Wars Accelerate Different `Succession Process` in Saudi Arabia. Upheaval in Power Centers` Map in Favor of Second Generation at Expense of Old Guards”


London, Al-Quds al-Arabi - Two wars have caused an upheaval in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia`s power centers and shifted power and influence to the second generation, that is, the grandsons of founder King Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa`ud. These are the Zaydi Huthists` war that is raging at present in the Sa`dah and Imran region in northern Yemen and whose flames have spread to the south of the kingdom and the war on “Al-Qaeda” which started inside the kingdom and also shifted more dangerously to Yemen where its branch in the Arabian peninsula is based under the leadership of Abu-Basir Nasir al-Wuhayshi.


The Huthists` war raging at present at the kingdom`s southern borders and in which the Saudi forces are taking part with all their land, air, and naval forces caused the star of General Khalid Bin-Sultan, the assistant to and son of Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin-Abd-al-Aziz (Prince Sultan is suffering from an incurable disease, has not returned to the kingdom for almost a year, and is at present in Morocco) to rise. He is overseeing the battles and has assumed his father`s responsibilities in full.


As to the war on “Al-Qaeda” organization, it has made Prince Muhammad Bin-Nayif, the assistant to and also son of Prince Nayif, the top security official in the country and the de facto interior minister, especially after his father was appointed the second deputy prime minister, a post that had remained vacant for 10 years since when Prince Sultan became the crown prince. Many believe that Prince Nayif now has the best chance of succeeding his brother Prince Sultan as crown prince whether he becomes king or passes away.


It is noticed that this gradual progression -- that is, having the second generation sons hold the principal posts occupied by their fathers - is at the expense of the first generation, creating a fundamental change in the succession process, and being carried out calmly, like imposing it as a fait accompli.


Saudi King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz is blessing and supporting this process of succession but gradually. He took everyone by surprise when he set the first precedent officially by appointing Prince Mansur Bin-Mit`ab Bin-Abd-al-Aziz minister of municipal and rural affairs in succession to his father who had boycotted the cabinet sessions to protest the appointment of his brother Prince Nayif, who is younger than him, as the second deputy prime minister. One of the ruling family`s traditions is that no younger prince should chair any meeting or cabinet session in which older princes than him are taking part.


King Abdallah, which many are calling the reformist king, is avoiding taking decisive decisions that change the existing equations on the ground and trying to maintain the power centers as they are without change and this has worked to the advantage of the young princes by promoting them to the top posts in lieu of their fathers.


The question that imposes itself forcefully concerns the stances of the sons of King Abd-al-Aziz who are occupying posts which the grandsons have leapt over. Prince Abd-al-Rahman hold the deputy defense minister`s post and Prince Ahmad is holding the deputy interior minister`s post while the chances of Prince Salman, the Amir of Riyadh who was aspiring to become the crown prince and is managing the family`s affairs, have apparently receded in favor of Prince Nayif. The same applies to Prince Mish`al, chairman of the Allegiance Commission; Prince Nawwaf, the former intelligence chief; and lastly Prince Talal Bin-Abd-al-Aziz whose star shone and he stopped his opposition after King Abdallah brought him close and made him one of his advisers.


There are also princes among the grandsons who are competing to occupy roles in the regime` cake such as Prince Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Fahd who sits at the top of massive media empire whose uncles from Al al-Ibrahim are managing (and what is meant here are television channels like Al-Arabiyah and MBC and their several branches), Prince Al-Walid Bin-Talal the owner of a massive financial empire and some of its media offshoots (the Rotana channels),Prince Mit`ab Bin-Abdallah (the assistant to the National Guards commander),and his brother and son of the king Prince Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz who is now his father`s personal envoy in many issues, especially the Syrian dossier.


While the process of succession in the defense, interior, and municipal and rural affairs ministries has practically been resolved the post of crown prince is expected to be the center of competition. Will General Prince Khalid Bin-Sultan succeed his father as crown prince as he has succeeded him in the defense ministry? Will Prince Muhammad Bin-Nayif occupy this post if his father became the crown prince if something happened to Prince Sultan or he became king in future if it became vacant?


It is possible to say that reaching such results and ponderings would be somewhat hasty. The issue of succession is still in its early stages and so are the two wars on the Huthists and Al-Qaeda. Any setback in these two wars might have a negative impact on its two heroes, either individually or jointly, especially as outside circles and regional forces are involved in them and this applies more specifically to the war with the Huthists.


What can be concluded so far is that Al-Sudayri`s wing in the family has started to regain its bases and tip the balance in its favor through its sons` rising stars and occupation of the two most important posts in the state, namely, security (Muhammad Bin-Nayif) and defense (Prince Khalid Bin-Sultan) where the weapons, tanks, aircraft, and massive budgets are.


It is our opinion that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing very hot dossiers. Even if the war on the Huthists was resolved in Jabal Dukhan or elsewhere due to the massive difference in the balances of power it would still be difficult to say that its danger would recede. This war might continue for many years and exhaust the kingdom because Iran is behind it, according to the official Yemeni accusations. The same thing is also said about “Al-Qaeda`s” war on the Saudi regime after it found “qawaid” (bases)for itself in neighboring Yemen that is drifting quickly toward the ranks of failed countries. This makes the future of these two wars` princes depended on their negative or positive outcomes while taking into consideration the growing Iranian influence north of the kingdom, that is, southern Iraq, and in some neighboring Gulf countries. Above all this, the likelihood of confrontations during the pilgrimage season remains possible.


(Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -- Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/)

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