The reformation of Islam stalled in Andalusia [Spain] since the 16th century — may finally be underway in Saudi Arabia and for all the wrong reasons.
Unlike Judaism and Christianity from which it has borrowed so heavily, Islam has remained a combination of religious belief and totalitarian politics. That dichotomy often confuses Western observers, ever vigilant in the modern world to maintain at least a modicum of tolerance.
Now a coup by 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s in early November has led to the arrest of more than 200 princes and government ministers, ostensibly in a corruption probe. They are members of the far-flung royal family which until now with its enormous oil wealth set world energy prices. But with the recent advent of U.S. technological advances in shale oil and gas exploration, price dips have ended the structure of the Persian Gulf exporters, and the debt-ridden princes are having to reorganize Salman’s accession to the throne is being modeled on the role of the Queen of England. But it is significant that Salman has already clipped the wings of the dreaded Saudi religious police who brutally enforced the Saudis’ hold on power. Its pogroms have been used in the past against rebellion among the Saudis’ 35 million Moslems and its satellite states on the Gulf — including a constant underground rebellion of Shia in its Eastern oilfields.
Western “right thinkers” have called any attempts to get at the heart of these political and ideological aspects of Islam as Islamphobia. The current wave of terrorism with its insistence on using the phrase “Radical Islamic Terrorism” are after all based on aspects of Islam itself – they are not drawn from Christian Science or Methodism.
Salman plans, we are told, to adopt the moniker “protector of the holy shrines” to cover Saudi Arab’s hosting Mohammed’s birthplace at the center of the Arab and Moslem world.where hundreds of thousands of the faithful make the onerous required pilgrimage in every Moslem’s lifetime. It was her that Islam broke out of this heart of the desert to conquer older and wealthier Middle East empires and twice threaten to overwhelm Western European culture itself
Now with an unprecedented wave of Moslem refugees from Syria and Africa descending on a Europe with its rapidly declining native birthrate, the threat of Islam is as an ideology again faces Western Europe and Judeo-Christianity.
Perhaps luckily for the West, a competing threat of Islamic terrorism has arisen among Iranian fanatics in the bitter rivalry between the majority Sunni and minority worldwide community of over two million.
Recent resignation of and flight of Saad Harir, prime minister of Lebanon to Saudi Arabia and then to France, is a manifestation of this contest within Islam. Hariri was Beirut’s Sunni Moslem prime minister. [The president has according to the formula been a Christians, usually a Maronite Catholic, and the speaker of the parliament a Shia]. The Middle East has now fallen victim to the growing power of the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon given full backing by Tehran,
As Salman has moved to clean up corruption – and gather power – he has formed a tacit alliance with Israel, also threatened by events in Lebanon. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot in an unprecedented article in a Saudi newspaper has just written: “Iran seeks to take control of the Middle East, creating a Shi’ite crescent from Lebanon to Iran, and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea. We must prevent this from happening.” The Israeli official continued: “With President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat…. We are ready to share intelligence, [with Saudi Arabia], if necessary.”
Only a few months ago, a Saudi-Israeli alliance would have been unthinkable. But as Salmon assumes dictatorial powers in what has been a freewheeling family business, Mideast politics – and Islam – are undergoing earthshaking changes.