Saudi Kingdom

Author: Massud Ebady

The fortunes of King Abdullah leads us to believe his strategy on the economy and his personal wealth were driving his politics however his funding of the Afghan Mujaheddin and other factions in Asia and Africa leads us to believe otherwise. Whether it was to spread Wahhabism, counter-acting Iranian influence or both Afghans paid the price with their lives. Funding was not enough they also recruited Arabs all around the Arab world to fight the Soviets. There is account of wealthy Saudis travelling to Afghanistan taking a picture of themselves with military equipment then travelling back home to glorify their stories. King Abdullah then fueled more war in Afghanistan, after the Soviets retreated the Saudi government supported factions to topple the Kabul government, few more years of Afghan blood being spilled by Saudi funding.

The death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia marked an end of an individual who brought unprecedented reforms in Saudi Arabia. He dined with the great super powers during the day and spared a few minutes of tea with poor Islamic nations. King Abdullah paved the way for Saudi Arabia to enter the world stage to discuss new world orders with the super powers. His daily schedule mirrored his politics while his net worth was increasing at a rapid rate and is said to be at 18 billion USD. His wealth and Saudi Arabian economy was gifted for having substantial amount of market share in the oil market and also the revenue it receives from Hajj pilgrimage.

The end of King Abdullah may be worthy news for Afghanistan a fresh face with clean hands can lead to a productive relationship between the two nations. Unfortunately the new King, younger brother of King Abdullah is King Salman who personally raised funds for both Afghan and Palestinian Mujaheddin. Another King Abdullah to continue for the Saudi Kingdom as they have in the past, maybe so but this is not the 1990s and nor the same world. A new and different world is upon us.

Reality is there will be no change in any of the Saudi foreign policies, throws the idea of dispersing Hajj pilgrimage profits to all Islamic nations out the window. However Saudi Arabia will probably enter a crisis soon as the youth are becoming disenfranchised with the Kingdom. Journalists and free speech advocates can only be censored for so long. The Syrian government is close to ousting the Saudi backed rebels and Americans may be not too far from striking a nuclear deal with Iran. A downward turn for the Saudi Kingdom will undoubtedly re-arrange the geo-politics of the Middle East and Central Asia for the benefit of Afghanistan.

An opportunity of deciding its own faith for Afghanistan may be available again after 30+ years of being pawns for super powers and neighbors. If all the stars aligned, a weak Saudi Kingdom will force them to decrease the funds sent to Pakistan who then in turn sponsor proxies in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s desperately need Saudi funding and have been accustomed to Saudi donations. In 1998 the Saudi government donated 3.5 Billion USD was given to the Pakistani government then another 1.5 Billion USD which was initially a loan then turned into grants according to the Guardian.

The Saudi Kingdom also supports financially and politically Pakistan’s nuclear arms, Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s number one customer. Less money funneled to the proxies in Afghanistan and less funding towards the nuclear arms mitigates Pakistan’s ability to influence regionally. In the scenario of Pakistan losing their grip on proxies as they slowly are in Afghanistan and Kashmir while the cash flow drying up from the Gulf it can lead to a liberating and more peaceful Afghanistan.

A long shot not quite, the numbers add up and the politics defend it.