On this week’s episode, we turn our attention to the Middle East and the unlikely alliance of Saudi Arabia and Israel as they stare down a common enemy. We also consider whether the old adage ‘the night is always darkest just before the dawn’ holds for Theresa May, and wondering why there hasn’t been a great musical about British history.
Last week saw a massive anti-corruption push in Saudi Arabia oust a number of princes. The putsch was initiated by Crown Prince Muhammed Bin Salman, and in this week’s magazine cover story John R. Bradley looks at how the young prince has attempted to align his country with Israeli interests in order to squeeze out a mutual antagonist: Iran. To discuss this issue we were joined by Vali Nasr, an Iranian scholar baed at Johns Hopkins university, and Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow at Chatham House. As John writes:
“Despite his youth and inexperience, Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman has risen rapidly through the ranks, amassing previously unimaginable powers for a single royal. This, and his refusal to govern through consensus — as is customary — has caused deep resentment, jealousy and anger. His most prominent critics and rivals were therefore carted off on corruption charges to the Ritz-Carlton, turning it into the world’s most luxurious prison. Eleven senior princes were among them, as well as dozens of businessmen, and current and former ministers and provincial governors. Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal — the wealthiest Arab tycoon who holds significant stakes in Citigroup, Twitter and countless other companies — got caught up in the dragnet.”
Next: After Tory conference, it seemed briefly as though things could get no worse for Theresa May. A month later and Westminster is sinking in a sleaze scandal, whilst the Prime Minister’s Cabinet is in disarray.