Dr Sajjad Mohseni in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, referring to some current crises in the world, including in the fields of economy, politics, security, society and the environment, said: Meanwhile, the outbreak of coronavirus directly targets the efficiency of political systems. As a clear example of conflict in such crises, Saudi Arabia is no exception.
He added: “Although on the one hand, the Saudi authorities pretend to be in control of the situation, and on the other hand, the opposition makes a big deal of the crisis in the country and its multilateral crises but the reality may be different.”
Referring to the news about the second wave of arrests by Bin Salman, Mohseni said: “Considering the history of these actions and the arrests of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, even if the second wave of arrests is true, its sensitivity for public opinion is lower than the first wave.” This issue has been overshadowed by the widespread global concern about the outbreak of the coronavirus.
He added that the global outbreak of the coronavirus has largely absolved the Bin Salman government of responsibility for the coronavirus and that Saudi Arabia’s ever-increasing security environment is making every effort to prevent information leaks in all areas. The death toll from the coronavirus has also been announced. The rule of “equal oppression is tantamount to justice” may apply in this regard, so at least the short-term responsibility of this crisis, if highlighted, will not be recorded in the name of the Saudi government.
Referring to the possible impact of the corona crisis and the subsequent drop in oil prices on halting ambitious economic programs and declining investment in Saudi Arabia, the analyst said: “These issues could trigger a crisis in Bin Salman’s economic programs, which are based on attracting foreign investment.” But the inspiring point for Bin Salman is the global nature of the crisis.”
Mohseni explained: “Bin Salman still has time to test his economic transition and respond to public opinion, so stopping and even reducing the country’s economic trend in the short term is not something that will attract so many people with Saudi critics, so Bin Salman has tried to take advantage of the situation created by the outbreak of the coronavirus by eliminating the opposition.”
The Middle East affairs expert said that a large portion of Saudi future seems to be tied to Bin Salman’s policies. “If Bin Salman becomes the king the internal and external environment of Saudi Arabia will be shaped according to his programs in economic, social, and domestic and foreign policy with more conservatism than the hasty policies in the early years that he was the crown prince. Iran should formulate its plans vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia by taking into account the long-term implications of Bin Salman’s presence.
Mohseni stressed that if Bin Salman did not come to power, he could become the most powerful opposition group in Saudi Arabia, which could have far-reaching security and political consequences for the possible future king. His reform programs in the social and economic spheres and his connection to the younger generation have been able to create a good social base for him, regardless of his prejudices in such a way that it covers a range of technocrats to domestic liberals.
He added: “Perhaps it can be said more explicitly that the future of Saudi Arabia, with or without Bin Salman’s presence on the throne, will be influenced by his policies.” It must be acknowledged that he will affect Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy in the long run, given his appropriate age for governance.
Noting that there must be the logical distinction between desirable policies and existing policies, the expert said although highlighting the crisis generating variables of Saudi Arabia and reducing its stabilizing variables could be suitable under the media atmosphere and directing the public opinion but it will not be effective in practice. Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia may be witnessing political or security developments under the influence of powerful variables but it does not appear to be very close.
Mohseni added: “It seems that restoring conservative policies after a round of unsuccessful experience of political ambitions will make Saudi Arabia more focused on the economy. Accordingly, such an atmosphere could pave the way for more interaction with Iran.”