Well, it now seems clear that the (out)house of Saud is 'on the menu," for many of you are sending me versions of a story that indicates the Saudi royals have taken steps to "clip the wings" of the so-called "religious police" in that blighted land:
Here's the details of this "humane" announcement:
The ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reined in its religious police, stripping their arresting powers and ordering them to be "gentle and humane" while imposing the Islamic code. The much-feared morality police's powers were clipped in an unexpected move by Riyadh under a new structure put in place.
The duty of the religious force, formally known as Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, will henceforth be limited to promoting Islamic values. Also, they are not allowed to demand even identification documents from the public.
The Saudi cabinet has also instructed Mutawas, the Islamic police, that arresting powers only rest with police or drug enforcement authorities. Saudi Arabia has about 5,000 such officers, who are also called Haia.
Mutawas, till now, were empowered to intervene in cases involving "mingling between the sexes" or if women were not dressed according to Islamic convention. The forces are as frequently feared as they are ridiculed for their excessive force. The members of the force also patrol during the Islamic prayer times to ensure that all the shops across the kingdom are shut.
I suspect that an announcement of this manner is somewhat akin to the Gestapo ordering its agents to be "more humane," after all, even Heinrich Himmler was appalled by the inhumanity of the mass shootings being perpetrated inside the Soviet Union, and hence ordered that a "more humane" way of genocide be developed; in stepped I.G. Farben and Zyklon B, and voila, we got the death camps.
But what's really going on here? There's no doubt in my mind that the pending release of documents regarding the "alleged" Saudi role in 9/11 has a great deal to do with it, as does President Obama's recent interview with The Atlantic Monthly in which he sent a clear message to the Saudis, and questioned the whole need and necessity for the US-Saudi "special relationship" which has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy since the days of Franklin Roosevelt. I've been arguing that all of these stories are signals that a deep geopolitical paradigm shift is underway within the West's power elite, or "Anglosphere" as our friends at The Daily Bell like to call it. What's the nature of that paradigm shift?
The Goal of American foreign pollicy has not changed: it has been to dominate the region of central Asia and its energy reserves, and simultaneously deny Russian and Chinese influence in that region. The problem has now become however, difficult if not intractable, since the populations of western nations are increasingly questioning the whole imperial venture in that region, and support for "the war on terror" is waning even as a clash of civilizations looms, and for which - at least in Europe - there is growing recognition that Islam just doesn't mesh very well with European culture.
So, again, what's going on? I suggest that the deal with Iran, and now Mr. Obama's statements to The Atlantic Monthly, are a profound clue that "humane values and societies" will become the new mantra for western adventures in that region. Mr. Obama, recall, told the Saudis that they had to learn to "Share" the region, a clear indication that the Saudis would have to stop repressing Shia Muslims. But what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and having opened the door of dialogue with Tehran, the same message coule eventually be addressed in reverse.
And hovering still further in the background is the recent joint statement by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Pope Francis, addressing the murder of Christians in the region. I suspect the Anglosphere has (finally) woken up from its slumber, and realizes that by ignoring this issue, it has ignored a potential "wedge" issue allowing them to play it as a card for interventionist policies in the region. Time will tell...
...but in the meantime, this change of policy by the (out)house of Saud indicates that they're paying attention, and getting very nervous. And the problem is, of course, that mere window dressing "ain't gonna cut it."
See you on the flip side...