Skip to main content

The real reason the knives are out for Mohammed bin Salman

In the six weeks before Khashoggi’s disappearance, MBS not only managed to anger the U.S. military-industrial complex but the world’s most powerful bankers.

by Whitney Webb

Part 4 - Trouble in neoliberal paradise

While it is impossible to know MBS’ exact reason for getting cold feet in his once-ambitious plans to privatize the kingdom, we can guess. Indeed, there is a reason that MBS’ elders in the Saudi Royal family have long rejected neoliberal reforms and the mass privatization of their economy.

A 2016 report from Foreign Policy succinctly states why past Saudi Royals have avoided “free-market reforms” as the older generations of the House of Saud “understand the fragility of a monarchy whose brittle pillars rest on the quiescence of conservative clerics and a merchant class hostile to the free-market reforms that will undercut their privileges.” However, far more Saudis than just the “merchant class” have grown accustomed to the largesse of the Saudi state, as the majority of Saudi citizens benefit from Saudi state spending in the form of fuel subsidies, loans, free land, and public-sector jobs, among other boons. Indeed, half of the entire Saudi population is currently on welfare — welfare that depends on the wealth of the Saudi state and its oil revenue — while two-thirds of Saudis work in the public sector.

Of course, sharing oil profits with robber barons — as would have been the case in the partial privatization of Saudi Aramco — would reduce the amount of money the Saudi government dedicates annually to welfare programs and public-sector jobs to a significant degree. Notably, Vision 2030 also included “austerity programs” as part of its implementation, including tax increases and a significant reduction in the fuel subsidies given to ordinary Saudis.

However, less than a week after a handful of those austerity measures were implemented earlier this year, the Saudi government quickly eased them by increasing state-job salaries and launching a new economic stimulus program, after a “very negative” public response.

Despite the government’s efforts to assuage the anger that austerity had caused, it was not enough and the outcry continued, forcing the Saudi government to fire the country’s water minister to absorb some of the outrage. The fierce public response seems to have given MBS his first real inkling that his “ambitious reforms” to privatize Saudi Arabia would not be so easy to implement, no matter how hard he had worked to crush dissent.

Another indication of why MBS backed out of privatization plans can be seen in what happened to other countries when their young princes, championed as “ambitious reformers,” had drunk the “McKinsey Kool-Aid.” As Salem Saif wrote at Jacobin, many of the Arab countries that had previously followed McKinsey-drafted plans for neoliberalization subsequently “became epicenters of the Arab Spring. Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Yemen — each was convulsed by demonstrations, often animated by economic grievances.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia, with its state-owned and state-managed assets, had remained largely immune to these economically-spurred uprisings throughout the Middle East.

However, earlier this year, MBS learned the hard way from the hostile reception to his privatization rollout that being the West’s neoliberal darling comes at a high price, one that could imperil not just his position as Crown Prince but the entire Saudi government.

Source, links:


[1] [2] [3] [5]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

While Trump cuts food stamps, USAID bankrolls Venezuela regime change with half a billion in tax dollars

The Trump administration has spent $654 million in “aid” to try to overthrow Venezuela’s government, including $435 million through USAID and $128 million directly to Juan Guaidó and his corrupt coup gang — all while imposing crippling austerity at home.
by Ben Norton
Part 5 - Falsely accusing Venezuela of the hemisphere’s worst migrant crisis

In addition to directly participating in regime-change efforts and bankrolling right-wing opposition groups, USAID has helped to popularize demonstrably false talking points demonizing Venezuela, which have been breathlessly echoed by corporate media stenographers.

In its press statements announcing tens of millions of tax dollars in support for Venezuela’s right-wing coup regime, USAID has accused Venezuela of creating “the largest external displacement in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Mainstream media outlets have frequently repeated this claim, citing the US regime-change organization without investigating its veracity.
It is impossib…

We can't just wait for robots and 3D printers to overthrow capitalism

by system failure

During a speech four years ago, Yanis Varoufakis ended with some interesting views about the future of the capitalist system. As he pointed out:
The world we live in, is increasingly rudderless, in a constant slow burning recession, while at the very same time, the increasing concentration in the IT sector is creating the new technologies that will do that which the Left has failed to do: overthrow Capitalism. It is really very simple. The moment machines pass the Turing test properly, and you pick up the phone and you do not know whether the person you are talking to is a human being or a machine˙ the moment we are going to have 3D printers operating as public utilities - you can send any blueprint to it and it can print from one pin to a motorcycle, or to a car - the moment that this happens, we have not just a process of Schumpeterian creative destruction, but we have a process where economies of scale and the whole logic of corporate Capitalism colla…

Εξωτερική πολιτική για κλάματα: το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει τη χώρα σε νέες περιπέτειες

globinfo freexchange

Πιστεύαμε ότι η κυβέρνηση Τσίπρα 'το είχε τερματίσει' όταν αποφάσισε (προφανώς μετά από έντονες Αμερικανικές πιέσεις) να προβεί στην ανήκουστη και απαράδεκτη ενέργεια να απελάσει τους τέσσερις Ρώσους διπλωμάτες. Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς όμως φαίνεται ότι έχει κάνει νέο ρεκόρ πλήρους υποταγής στους Αμερικανούς ιμπεριαλιστές, δίνοντας το τελειωτικό χτύπημα στην ευελιξία της εξωτερικής πολιτικής που θα έπρεπε να έχει, έτσι και αλλιώς, κάθε σοβαρή και ανεξάρτητη χώρα. 
Όμως η δήλωση Μητσοτάκη απλώς επιβεβαίωσε ότι η νεοφιλελεύθερη Μητσοτακική δεξιά, η χειρότερη που γνώρισε η χώρα μεταπολιτευτικά, είναι απόλυτα υπόδουλη στα Αμερικανικά συμφέροντα. Και τελικά, πως η ίδια η χώρα, είναι ένα Δυτικό προτεκτοράτο και μια κανονική αποικία (και όχι απλά αποικία χρέους).
Ο χειρότερος Μητσοτάκης όλων των εποχών αποφάσισε να επισκεφτεί τον Ντόναλντ Τραμπ για να κάνει το πιστό του 'ρομποτάκι', δηλώνοντας ουσιαστικά ότι επικροτεί την εγκληματική ενέργεια - πέρα από κ…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βυθίζει τη χώρα στο χάος

globinfo freexchange
Αμέσως μόλις η κυβέρνηση Μητσοτάκη ανέλαβε τα ηνία της χώρας, είχαμε προειδοποιήσει ότι, είτε με την ψήφο του, είτε με την αποχή του, ο "σοφός λαός" έδωσε το ελεύθερο στη χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης να σαρώσει σαν 'οδοστρωτήρας' τα πάντα στο πέρασμά της. Μετά από τέσσερα χρόνια νεοφιλελεύθερης λαίλαπας, το τοπίο καταστροφής θα έχει κάνει τη χώρα κυριολεκτικά αγνώριστη.
Δεν μπορούσαμε όμως να φανταστούμε ότι η Μητσοτακική δεξιά θα παρήγαγε τέτοιο χάος σε τόσο μικρό διάστημα. Κι όμως, θα έπρεπε να το είχαμε προβλέψει.  
Διότι ένα τέτοιο καθεστώς, που ουσιαστικά επιβλήθηκε με τη βοήθεια της μιντιακής χούντας μέσα από μια εικονική πραγματικότητα αδιάκοπης επικοινωνιακής προπαγάνδας, ήταν θέμα χρόνου να τα βρει σκούρα όταν θα προσγειώνονταν απότομα στον πραγματικό κόσμο. 
Και το προσφυγικό ζήτημα ήταν αυτό που κυρίως επίσπευσε την αποκάλυψη της απόλυτης ένδειας του καθεστώτος και την πλήρη ανικανότητά του να χειριστεί σχεδόν οποιοδήποτε πρόβ…

WikiLeaks paper confirms biggest fear of the US empire and the Wall Street mafia

The WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. As of April 8, 2013 it holds 2 million records comprising approximately 1 billion words. The collection covers US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on earth. It is the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published. The PlusD collection, built and curated by WikiLeaks, is updated from a variety of sources, including leaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and documents released by the US State Department systematic declassification review. 
globinfo freexchange
A cable from July, 2007, depicts the anxiety of US officials about the potential capability of North Korea to produce hardly detectable US counterfeit currency.

There are numerous references about the effort of the US government to stop the production…

It's official: the oligarchs and the corporate media declare war on Sanders' progressive movement

globinfo freexchange
We can safely now say that Bloomberg's propaganda ad against Bernie Sanders' supporters marks the establishment's official declaration of war on the progressive movement. Previously, corporate media revived the "BernieBro" myth in order to open the road for the war.
As we already mentioned, the anti-movement hysteria reached unprecedented levels when MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd compared Sanders' supporters to Nazi brownshirts! Todd's preposterous comparison wasn't accidental. He was specifically targeting moderate voters of the Democratic party. The aim was to scare them and prevent further popular-vote leakage from the establishment nominees towards Bernie during the next primary battles.
Michael Bloomberg grabbed the chance and tried to amplify further the BernieBro-scare through a blatantly propagandistic sample of negative advertisement. He doesn't have any movement behind him, but he has a lot of money to spend for smear camp…

Julian Assange - Public Rally Event with Wikileaks, Nils Melzer, Tariq Ali and more

acTVism Munich
The complete public rally event for Julian Assange that took place on the 4th of February 2020 at the Royal National Hotel in London. This event was organised by the "Don't Extradite Assange Campaign". 

As Houthis close in on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, US drone strikes target its leaders

An escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen has sparked anger from residents and tribal leaders. The drone strikes, according to the victims’ relatives, not only killed suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) but also killed and injured a number of civilians. The recent escalation comes after the commander of the U.S Central Forces, Joseph Votel, handed ousted former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi a list of al-Qaeda military commanders and their supporters being targeted by the United States, according to local news outlets close to Hadi.
Last week, a suspected C.I.A. drone targeted a home alleged to contain al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi in Marib Province, allegedly killing not only al-Rimi but some innocent civilians as well. By Washington’s standards, residents told MintPress, just because they were near the house, those civilians deserved to die alongside al-Qaeda. 
The drone strike took place in the al-Hazmah region in the eastern province…

Capitalist factions continue tough bargain in the beginning of the post-Brexit era

globinfo freexchange
Johnson's victory in the recent UK national election marked the definite "divorce" between the UK and the EU. Yet, the real "show" starts now as we begin to realize the toughness of the Brexit negotiations and the war between the capitalist factions, which is expected to become wilder. 
As we already mentioned, the pro-Brexit faction sees a potential Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, also as a major threat. This is one of the few common views it has with the globalist faction. Now that the Corbyn "threat" has been removed, capitalist factions are free to focus on the war between them.
Johnson's big victory gives an additional advantage to the Brexiteers who are now seeking to impose their terms in this very tough bargain. 
In this merciless war, first signs show that Boris Johnson seeks a decisive strike at the heart of the globalist faction. That is, the financial sector and the City financial capital. Another decisive v…

Social Media and Social Control: how Silicon Valley serves the US State Department

Facebook isn’t the only Silicon Valley firm with partisan oversight of what we see: the bipartisan billionaire class and their security state have partnered with tech firms since the dawn of the internet to control the parameters of users’ thinking.
by Morgan Artyukhina 
Part 17 - Pentagon-Google cooperation
Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, too, is connected to the U.S. security state as well as to the Democratic Party, again proving that a cross-party link is established where the material interests of the billionaire class are shared. A man who joined the Google team early-on in 2001, by 2011 Schmidt was able to step down from Google’s Chief Executive Officer to be the Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors with a $100 million equity award. He maintained that position through the 2015 restructuring of Google into the holding company Alphabet, Inc., stepping down in 2017 only to become chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board, an advisory committee to the Secretary of Defense.…