Ad Hoc Commentary – Middle East crisis will likely get much worse

We had mentioned before that the world is playing Romance of Three Kingdoms:

“…What we are seeing today is a typical script from the Romance of Three Kingdoms. The contemporary kingdoms are America, Russia and China. America is the strongest of them all and thus the rational thing to do for the lesser two is to join forces. That explains improving bilateral relations between China and Russia in recent years as evidenced by their military and economic cooperation…”

The death of the King of Saudi Arabia and the resignation of Yemen’s President is negative for American influence in the Middle East. We remember that the new Saudi King, King Salman, is from the Sudairi line. In yours truly humble opinion, families with one grandfather and many grandmothers tend to break up into factions demarcated by the respective grandmother. The new King Salman belongs to the Sudairi faction:
“…The Sudairi Seven, also spelled Sudairy or Sudayri, is the commonly used name for a powerful alliance of seven full brothers within the House of Saud. They are also sometimes referred to as the Sudairi Clan or the Sudairi faction. The oldest (Fahd) served as king from 1982 to 2005; the second- and fourth-oldest (Sultan and Nayef) served as crown prince but predeceased King Abdullah, and the sixth-oldest (Salman) succeeded Abdullah as king in 2015. There are currently four surviving members, including the present king…”

More importantly, given that the current king is in ill health, the reins of power will likely be held by someone else. Many are speculating that the reins will be held by the new crown prince and so on. Yours truly believe otherwise, it is more likely that power will stay within the Sudairi clan. Most importantly, we remember that Prince Bandar bin Sultan is from the Sudairi faction. It is probable that Prince Bandar will make a comeback. If that happens, then the Middle East crisis will likely get much worse.

“…Bandar has irritated the Americans with outspoken criticism of Barack Obama’s failure to punish Syria following the chemical weapons attack near Damascus last August. After that he talked of limiting interaction with the US in protest at its policies on Syria, Israel and especially the beginning of rapprochement with Iran – the latter an unchanging bogeyman and regional and sectarian rival for the Saudi prince. Bandar was also said by a senior Arab figure to have angrily threatened the emir of Qatar, which upstaged its larger neighbour in backing anti-Assad forces. His departure may help heal the rift between the US and the kingdom following last month’s meeting between Obama and Abdullah. That, in turn, could impact on Saudi policy towards Syria…”

We need not wait long to find out. Obama will be meeting King Salman in the capital of Riyadh today and as some pundits had pointed out:
“…One test of the meeting’s success could be the presence or absence of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to Washington who served as head of intelligence until US officials forced his removal last April because of differences over tactics against the Assad regime…”

In a period of low oil prices, we should all be very careful about Syria. In all likelihood, the Saudi hope for a pipeline through Syria had not been forgotten. Yours truly maintain that:
“…Syria hold the key to peace in our time…”

Good luck in the markets.