Here are a few thoughts on the still unfolding Khashoggi scandal and story.
First, I think critics of Saudi Arabia should take some solace from the fact that the Saudis I believe had and perhaps still have a narrow window in which they could depose Mohammed bin Salman and wash their hands of Khashoggi’s murder. Yet they show no sign of doing so. Saudi Arabia has long been a brutal and utterly repressive regime. But in the last few years it’s become a different kind of brutal and utterly repressive regime. Saudi Kings – all sons of state founder ibn Saud since 1953 – have generally ruled by consensus within the upper echelons of the al Saud clan. That’s one reason so many longstanding challenges have gone unresolved or postponed. It’s not a system which makes room for dynamic leadership. It’s a highly conservative ruling circle which doesn’t do a lot of dangerous or crazy things. Until now.
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