Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Discussion in 'The Far Abroad' started by Hero of Crappy Town, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Hero of Crappy Town

    Hero of Crappy Town Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    So Saudi Arabia is the most resolute foreign backer of the military junta in Egypt, and the most determined opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood. But why is this so? Does anyone have a clue?

    Is there something about MB's history or doctrine that makes it indigestible to the Saudis? They seem to be the only Sunni Islamists that Saudis will not jump hurdles over to sponsor.
  2. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    Long answer. Both MB and SA descend from the thinking of ibn Taymiya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Taymiya). 2 main points were Islam has fallen away from its original purity and Muslims don't have to obey governments that aren't properly Muslim. Both MB and SA believe that they live in that purity; each believes the other has fallen away from that purity. Thus they are in direct competition with each other for the Muslim world. (It's quite common for two sets of people who agree about 99% to argue fiercely over the 1%. There's only room for One Right Answer). You will recall that Bin Laden also hated the SA rulers.
    Short answer. Should the MB come to power power in SA, it would have no interest in keeping the descendents of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud in idle luxury.
  3. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I would only add to what Patrick Armstrong has said that the Muslim Brotherhood as an Islamic party independent of the House of Saud constitutes a challenge to the Saudi claim to lead the (Sunni) Muslim world. The ruler of Saudi Arabia who in the west is called the "King" no longer uses that title. His formal title is "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" (ie. Mecca and Medina). Far from this being a sign of humility (as it is sometimes represented) the Saudi assumption of this title constitutes a clear claim by the House of Saud to lead the (Sunni) Muslim world. The title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" was one of the traditional titles of the Caliph ("the Amir or Commander of the Faithful"), who in Muslim tradition is the political leader of the Muslims. The Muslim world has in theory been led by a single Caliph in unbroken line since the death of the Prophet until the abdication of the last Ottoman Sultan in the 1920s. There has been no Caliph since then. The Saudi monarch's assumption of the title "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" sets the scene for him eventually to claim that position. The Muslim Brotherhood as an independent Islamic party willing however opportunistically to work through republican and constitutional systems represents a challenge to this claim.
  4. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    The Saudi royal family was sufficiently concerned about a takeover attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood when the Arab Spring was in its heyday - more than a year ago now - that it arbitrarily discarded an agreement to curb oil production so as to stabilize prices, in order to sell the oil and spend the money on token reforms to keep the restive populace quiet and subdued. This was at odds with expectations, which were that they would actually cut production further to drive prices up, and can be seen now as a measure of their concern since even the fabulously wealthy will not throw away money.

    http://earlywarn.blogspot.ca/2012/06/oil-prices.html?showComment=1338894817106#c1951854939117435050

    The Saudi fields are now believed to be in decline at a rate of a little more than 3% per year. New production capability being brought on line to keep Saudi Arabia relevant and a commanding presence in the energy business will be able to offset this decline only by about 3 years, owing to one field being proportionately quite small and the other yielding sour, heavy crude containing a significant amount of vanadium. The Saudis are not on their last legs yet, but you can almost see the point where they will be. What will happen to the royal family then, and what will be the effect of their being taken out of international meddling?

    Interestingly, this source believes Saudi Arabia will regain the top producer spot, perhaps only briefly, owing to a drop in Russian production. Analysts on this site believe pretty much across the board that all the big finds in Russia have been found and exploited, and that only redrilling old fields which were wastefully produced in the Soviet Union days is keeping them ahead. It will be interesting to see if this presumption is as inaccurate as most every other western analysis has been. Offhand I would say not, as the oil business tends to be quite dispassionate.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9340
  5. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I was once convinced of the peak oil thesis, and thought it would come in 2010 or thereabouts.

    This hasn't come to pass. To the contrary, in the US - where the environment for exploiting new drilling technologies is most favorable - oil production has been soaring upwards in the past 3-4 years.

    This doesn't invalidate the math behind peak oil. It's a physical reality. That said, it appears that new technologies like horizontal drilling have so radically increased recoverable reserves that global peak oil can be postponed for many decades to come.

    Russia is about middling by global standards in terms of its exploitation of its own reserves. The US peaked in 1973, but aggressive implementation of new technologies has allowed it to maintain production production at 75% of its peak level.

    The future of Russian oil production now presumably depends on how successful they are at modernizing the industry, and that in turn will depend on the capital available to Russian oil companies. No wonder they are angling for tax breaks.
  6. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Gee, I don't know. The only remaining shale play in the USA which is not currently in decline is the Marcellus, and shale oil/gas currently forms almost a quarter of American production if it is not more; it was projected (during shale's heyday) to increase to about half. Drill rigs have dropped by about a third, and when declining production crosses the reduction in drilling, the descent will be steep. The return from shale wells diminishes rapidly, necessitating constant drilling and redrilling, which is just not cost-effective; sure, there's lots of oil there, but sweating it out of the shale means running on a razor-thin margin and the quick-and-easy profits are mostly gone. A lot of the money still being made in shale oil is leasing blocks for exploration to rubes.

    http://oilandgas-investments.com/2013/natural-gas/shale-revolution-great-experiment/

    Not to keep on about oil and gas, but somebody on my blog posted a link which suggested Russia was gathering for a massive strike against Saudi Arabia if the western powers attack Syria. It's bogus, of course, from the nutty EU Times, but really - what a brilliant concept. What would be the effect on global oil prices if the world's second-largest producer were attacked by the largest? The west could not come to the aid of its ally - the USA and UK would drain their reserves to the last suck just to get to the battle. If you pulled up to the pump and asked for $50.00 worth of premium, the attendant could spray it behind your ear as an aphrodisiac. Russia could announce it was diverting its supply temporarily to the war effort, and Europe would be facing winter with no gas. The remaining energy producers could not in their wildest dreams compensate for the loss of both Saudi Arabia and Russia's share. By God, if a scenario ever screamed Caution!!! Re-evaluate your plan!!, that's it. Some conspiracy nut accidentally hit on what would make a fantastic plot for a thriller.

    Back to Russia for a second, they have a cozy partnership emerging with Norway that should keep the wolves far back from the sled for the time being,

    http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/06/13/norway-russia-new-oil-best-friends/?#axzz2dEie5WMk

    while potential discoveries in the Arctic could effectively double Russia's reserves. I seem to recall your arguing that on my blog once with that English oilman and getting pretty much a snort of contempt, and in fact the conventional wisdom was that there is very little oil there; most potential reserves were thought to be gas. It might still turn out that way, and a gusher in production is worth two in the maybe-so, but I think it is still a pretty good thumb in the eye for conventional wisdom.

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-G...inds-Effectively-Double-Nations-Reserves.html

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