Steven Goransky, Political Writer
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died on January 23 and his brother Salman instantly became king. They had a lot of really good applicants for the job, with a few out of work kings that had really great resumes, yet the brother just waltzed right in. Some citizens have inferred that the hiring process was tainted and that the brother Salman’s demo reel was pushed to the front of the line. Nah, seriously folks, this thinking is “Western-World” and that is just not how the Middle East rolls. Everything is owned and controlled by a few families and the power is always passed down the line. Nepotism is the rule.
Ok, so the brother Salman got the corner office with the private bathroom, reserved parking space and two week’s vacation.. every month. The world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam gave their public the news from state television by preempting a rerun episode of ‘Saved by the Bell’.
I know how college students think; you are asking, “So what does that mean to me in my life?”.. Well, we just do not know yet. Saudi Arabia is very important to America. You know who should speak up? George W. Bush. He seems to know the Saudi family well. It will be interesting to see if we hear from Bush 43 on this subject in the near future.
I am a pessimist and I admit it. I am positive that things have been generally getting more negative in the Middle East for a while now. What few allies and advantages America had in the Middle East have seemed to systematically just disappeared and then turned for the worst. The new King Salman has pledged that there will not be any radical changes in oil prices and foreign policies.
Salman takes over the steering wheel of a country that faces long-term challenges compounded by the plunging price of oil in recent months and the rise of the ISIS group in Iraq and Syria, which has publicly threatened to kill the ruling family and take over all of Saudi Arabia if it gets a chance.
Again, I know how college students think; you are asking, “So is gas going to stay cheap for a while, or should I fill up today?”
Well, we just do not know yet. One rumor is that Saudi Arabia is intentionally keeping oil prices low, because it is enjoying the pain this is causing Iran and Russia. Whether this is true or not is above my pay grade, but it does seem logical. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia are big competitors in the same business. Many people think that starving a bear and then to throw rocks at them could have positive effects. I always heard that a wounded, cornered animal is quite dangerous.
One thing is sure, many countries are curious how the new king Salman will rule and who will be his allies. Everyone is hoping for a new improved relationship. For now, we will just have to wait and see.