At this moment of transition, what construct does one place on the outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s participation in the cloak-and-dagger meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the mega city of Neom being built on the Red Sea?
Who knows an oil and gas rich Israel may in the future be nice to a people it has been particularly nasty with: the Palestinians. The credit for affecting a change of heart will go to a GCC country which will, to that extent, have helped weaken the Iran-Nasrallah ticket in the region.
The ghoulish murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi has set into motion a new dynamic in the Syrian, Yemeni, Palestinian and other incipient conflicts in West Asia. Popular perception globally has traced the macabre plot to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, even though the Saudi propaganda machine is deflecting guilt.
I had barely registered that the sword of Damocles hung on the heads of over four million people, mostly Muslims, in Assam by a very Orwellian sounding National Register of Citizens, when a friend from New York drew my attention to similar happenings in Israel.
I commend to my Israeli friends that they read Shibley Telhami’s opinion poll on shifting ideas in the US about Israel, something even Thomas Friedman is worried about. There may be a shaft of light.
Since Obama names almost every Arab country which is reforming or needs reform, the omission of Riyadh places Saudis beyond all critical examination as the perfect society.