One of the nicer, albeit inescapable, conundrums about President Obama’s foreign policy has been how to redefine and encompass an alliance whose alliance now relies, more than ever, on something like American-style democracy, instead of American-style authoritarianism.
The geopolitics of the post-American Middle East continue to be an afterthought at best, and even a train wreck at worst.
The latest episode in this tale is Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, head of an anti-corruption campaign that has reportedly targeted at least 15 princes, political allies and billionaire businessmen. Those individuals, including the billionaire Moammar Khadafy, the eldest son of the former Libyan strongman, have fled Saudi Arabia in the wake of the arrests, which have no doubt bolstered Saudi propaganda that the royal family is living up to its commitments to its people.
This week, the kingdom has also launched a national anti-corruption commission that includes the king. The crown prince made the rounds in the region this week, meeting with political allies and opposition figures from Egypt and Jordan, including an overt endorsement from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has previously called for an Islamic Republic in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the kingdom’s anti-corruption commission — to which Turkish authorities have drawn comparisons — has so far investigated just under 100 current and former government officials, leaving about 70 unaccounted for.
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