Title: The Coup Domino Scheme of Trump for the GCC by Tariq al-Shammari
Author: Tariq al-Shammari
Date: 07-12-2017, 00:19 AM
11:19 PM July, 12 2017
After King Abdullah died of lung cancer, King Salman ascended to the throne and this was the beginning of some serious changes in the game of throne of the Al Saud. King Salman reformulated the structure of power through some series of royal decree and changed the order of succession in the royal family in a way that his son is expected to be the king of Saudi Arabia in near future. This change will also pave the way for Salman family instead of Abdulaziz family to take over the power after about a century.
The crucial point here is that King Salman ignored the wishes of King Abdullah and firstly replaced his appointed crown prince, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, with Prince bin Nayef and recently dismissed Prince bin Nayef and assigned his own son Mohammed bin Salman as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Also known as MBS (Mohammed bin Salman) is going to be a young king of KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) who will govern the kingdom for many decades.
Before this recent decree by King Salman, the order of succession to the throne of Saudi Arabia was determined by House of Saud where every vacancy of the throne has been expectedly filled by the crown prince, with a new crown prince then being appointed according to agnatic seniority among the sons of Ibn Saud. Political analysts believe that the rise of MBS has caused serious challenges within the Saud family and more important than that made Saudi policy for future game of power in KSA unpredictable.
Although Saudi media attempted to present an uncontroversial transition of power, spreading a video showing MBS kisses from up to down of Mohammed bin Nayef, there are two sorts of reaction in Saudi Arabia. Most of the young Saudis reacts with pleasure to this change since they believe MBS is a courageous and fearless representative of their generation while the elder generation of Saudis take him as a greedy and inexperienced young man who will make the country unstable due to his enthusiasm for radical changes in the old tradition and culture of Saudi Arabia in favor of having more relations with the West and particularly with the United States.
The elevation of Mohammed bin Salman is a “soft coup” in terms of political analysts which was schemed from months earlier. Saudi lobby in the U.S. put forward the succession of MBS to Trump as early as he became the president of the U.S. and they could convince to agree with the project though this agreement costed hugely for the Saudis. They had to give lots of financial and military privileges to Trump so that he cooperates with the Saudis in the rearrangement of succession in the royal family of Al Saud.
Donald Trump whose first foreign stop since his election was Saudi Arabia, telephoned Mohammed bin Salman to congratulate him on his elevation. After their visit at Washington and the $200 billion deal, this is for the second time that Trump expresses his satisfaction with the young powerful son of King Salman and the future king of Saudi Arabia. Trump supports Mohammed bin Salman and his succession while CIA was against this succession scheme. It was February 2017 that CIA Director Micheal Pompeo handed a medal to Mohammed bin Nayef for his distinct intelligence-related counter-terrorism work. This move by CIA showed evidently that the intelligence service of the U.S. backed up the former Crown Prince and was against the MBS succession scheme of Saudi lobby with Trump.
Since Trump is a good businessman rather than being a good politician, he supported MBS scheme mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, it was a great deal for the U.S. since Trump gained many financial and military privileges; secondly, Trump can follow the U.S. interests more than before as he exchanged an old and trite governing authorities with a new and juvenile team who are enthusiastic for a more modern and dynamic Saudi Arabia. However, the negative side of this change for Trump is that this new team is inexperienced and unpredictable.
Believe it or not, the key to the close connection between Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman was the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It was May, 2017 that Mohammed bin Zayed went to the White House and met with President Trump for laying the groundwork for Trump’s first foreign trip and a summit with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia. Analysts emphasized that this visit provide a great opportunity for Trump to build on a personal relationship with Mohammed bin Zayed and the longtime alliance between the two countries. Trump welcomed Mohamed bin Zayed by saying “He is special. I respect him, and I’ve known him for a long time.” He continued that the sheikh “loves his country. I can tell you that, loves his country. And I think [he] loves the United States, which to us is very important.”
Today, it is evidently obvious that among the Gulf Cooperation Countries leaders, Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed have the strongest and closest relationships with the United States. Besides, the relationship between the two Mohammed is also strong. Mohammed bin Zayed involved his country in the Saudi-led war in Yemen for the sake of his friendship with Mohammed bin Salman and making their relations deeper and stronger while many high-ranking UAE officials was against taking action in this war. As soon as he became the president of the U.S., Donald Trump has been following to earn more interest for his country in the Middle East. The two Mohammed are the best choice for him.
The two Mohammed pave the way for Trump to diminish his European rivals in the Gulf so that he can carry out his plan with low risk and high return for the United States.
Trump does not follow the way of Georg W. Bush and Barack Obama who wasted huge sums of money and unnecessary capital for getting directly involved in the ongoing crises and conflicts of the time in the Middle East and fighting for the sake of Saudi Arabia in the wars with their neighbors. Once, Trump said “frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia” and then he emphasized that Saudi Arabia and any other country who needs the U.S. help should pay the cost and then expect him to defend their kingdom and country.
The two Mohammed are willing to pay first and then expect Trump supporting them to follow their ambitious dreams. They believe with the help of Trump they can see their dreams come true in a near future.
Several months ago, a story was covered which reported that the intelligence service of Saudi Arabia founded important information of an imminent coup which was successfully prevented from happening. However, with regard to the recent coup performed in Saudi Arabia and also based on reliable information in secret political circles, a new coup is being planned by Mohammed bin Zayed to be executed in the UAE very soon. As Trump was behind the coup in Saudi Arabia for the succession of Mohammed bin Salman, he plays a salient role in the approximate coup in UAE and this time for the succession Mohammed bin Zayed.
In sum, Trump invested on the two Mohammed to begin and follow up his coup domino scheme among the GCC. These two young leaders of the two powerful countries in the Gulf will make Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait to restructure the power order in their governments according to what King Trump orders them. The most important thing that the two Mohammed should follow is that they should reconstruct the structure of the GCC so that making the order of the corporation in way that all members be required to follow them. This scheme helps Trump to have a complete control over the Gulf in the way that he wishes for the sake of the interests of his country.
The rise of Mohammed bin Salman which has destructed the role of tradition in the House of Saud was the first move in the coup domino scheme of Donald Trump for the Gulf Cooperation Countries. In near future, we can see the continuation of this domino.