1 thought on “Saudi Arabia – more news”

  1. The Najran front had three lines, first Yemeni troops, then Sudanese, then Saudis. The Yemeni troops are tough fighters and know well how to fight other Yemenis, so they were able to keep the Huthis at bay. But when the problems in south Yemen started the pro-Saudi fighters in Taiz thought that the Saudis had betrayed them so they asked their fellow Yemenis fighting with the Saudi army in Najran to abandon the front there and join them fighting the Huthis on their side of the border.
    So they did so and when they did so, they abandoned the front without liaising with the Saudis or Sudanese, they just jumped in their cars and left and the Huthis were aware they were leaving as they were listening to their communications so they were ready to exploit this opportunity for a sudden massive attack, which they did, and they killed and captured scores of Sudanese and Saudis. This was around 6 weeks ago but the Huthis kept silent about it because they were trying to use the prisoners as leverage in negotiations. Only when they failed did they decide to parade this to the world.
    For the last year MBS has secretly been begging the Huthis for some sort of a deal, but the Huthis insist the Saudis must first withdraw completely from north and south Yemen. The Saudis say they will withdraw from the north, but will leave the south to the separatists. The Huthis refuse this and say all of Yemen must be theirs and in addition they are demanding compensation and an apology, which MBS refuses. He is offering just to let them keep the north and a little money on the condition that the deal is not presented publicly as a Huthi victory. Everyone has to agree to keep silent about it so it will not look as if he has been defeated. The Huthis refuse.
    So now MBS is confused about what to do in Yemen. In his discussions with his inner circle he says as long as they do not take Najran and Jizan then he can wait. Let them kill as many soldiers as they want, let them destroy other Yemenis, let anything happen, as long as they do not get inside Jizan and Najran because if they were to do that this would be dangerous, although he is fairly confident that the US will not let them do that – and he is right. If the Huthis took Najran and Jizan the US would regard this as an Iranian invasion and then if Trump were to defend KSA no one would blame him. The Iranians do not want to push congress to give Trump permission to go to war, so it is better for them to keep the Huthis at bay for the time being and so this is why so far the Huthis have not gone into Najran or Jizan. If Iran were to give the Huthis the green light they could take both cities in 2 days and the Saudi army could not prevent them but this is a political decision taken by Iran, not by the Huthis.
    Regarding the death of Al Fagham, the official story is reminiscent of the “suicide” of the Syrian Interior Minister! In reality Mamdouh Al Ali was also a senior officer in the Royal Guard and very close to the king. He appeared quite frequently in public shoulder to shoulder with Al Fagham and the two were close friends. The killings happened inside the palace, in the Mokhtaza which is the small area where the king resides, and a lot of people heard the shooting as it happened. Both Al Fagham and Al Ali were killed, along with several other members of the Royal Guard. The reason is that MBS wants to change completely his father’s security setup because some of Salman’s brothers had been able to penetrate into the King’s inner circle and exploit the brief window of around half an hour each day when he is lucid to complain about how upset they are with MBS. So MBS wanted to make it watertight around his father by replacing the security team with people he trusts and foreign mercenaries, who were involved in this killing. The new Saudi bodyguards include one of Saud Al Qahtani’s cousins and the rest are all Saud Al Qahtani’s cronies.
    The only thing that is not clear is whether they meant to kill all these members of the Royal Guard – who incidentally were 100% loyal to the King and would have done anything he asked of them – or if there was some kind of miscommunication which led Al Fagham & Co. to think some sort of coup or attack going on, in which case they died thinking they were doing their duty.
    Regarding the CBS interview, I suspect strongly that MBS made CBS agree on certain conditions in advance, that they would show him all the questions beforehand and that follow-up questions would be extremely limited. This is why the interview came across as so robotic, with very few follow-up questions and also why Saudi media were heavily plugging this one week beforehand. Examples of what she should have asked include when he said ‘I get responsibility because I am in charge’, she should have asked him what about the king? Are you in charge of everything? And how on earth could 16 people, many of them very senior, have conducted such a complicated operation without you knowing about it? Can you give me any other example of an operation like that ever happening since the formation of the Kingdom?

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