House Built on Sand

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The Guardian has an editorial on the instability of Saudi Arabia and the drama of its succession:

No palace intrigue is complete without a power behind the throne, an uncrowned prince, a Cardinal Richelieu. That role is played by Khalid al-Tuwaijri, who, as president of the royal court and private secretary of the custodian of the two holy mosques, is the king’s gatekeeper. He brought Prince Bandar back after a long period of absence to become the powerful chief of the Saudi General Intelligence. The Tuwaijri-Bandar axis has been key, along with United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, in organizing against the Muslim Brotherhood-led governments in the region.

This axis, however, is now facing opposition from other members of the Saudi royal family. Mohammed bin Naif might emerge as an important counterweight. It is essential that the voice of reform is heeded in the transition that is about to take place. There is still an opportunity to change peacefully. Ignore it, and what happened elsewhere could well happen here too.

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