The Saudis Are Stumbling. They May Take the Middle East with Them.

America’s leading Sunni ally is proving how easily hubris, delusion, and old-fashioned ineptitude can trump even bottomless wealth

By Conn Hallinan

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful.

Using its vast oil wealth, it’s quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region, and prudently kept to the shadows while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, underwrote Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and bankrolled Islamic movements and terrorist groups from the Caucasus to the Hindu Kush.

It wasn’t a modest foreign policy, but it was a discreet one.

Today that circumspect diplomacy is in ruins, and the House of Saud looks more vulnerable than it has since the country was founded in 1926. Unraveling the reasons for the current train wreck is a study in how easily hubris, delusion, and old-fashioned ineptness can trump even bottomless wealth.

Read more » The Nation
See more » http://www.thenation.com/article/the-saudis-are-stumbling-they-may-take-the-middle-east-with-them/

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