E-News & Songs – 2017年12月度学習レポート   当月リーダー 佐藤一雄

Unrest in Riyadh ripples through the Middle East (Japan Times Editorial)



We analyzed and discussed an editorial of Japan Times titled “Unrest in Riyadh ripples through the Middle East dated Nov. 8, 2017.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia who is still ranked at first place among oil-producing nations revealed plans to reform the nation’s economy in a long run and at the same instant, he made a mass arrest of at least 17 princes out of approx. 10,000 royal families, current and former government ministers and business executives on corruption charge so as to diversify and ensure the nation’s incorruptible revenues. Mohammed bin Salman is consolidating the political power as the leader of the corruption “supreme committees”. His likely targets are to strengthen the foundation of his domestic administration and simultaneously to make Saudi Arabia the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and surrounding 15 countries. However, such problems head his way as destabilizing tactic in Yemen by Iran – a hostile nation against Saudi Arabia, the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri – a sympathizer for Saudi Arabia and so forth. Meanwhile current rate of unemployment in Saudi Arabia is 12%. (Joblessness among younger generations is evident) and deficit is running at 9.3% of GDP. Thus, Saudi Arabia needs an economic boost. The core factor of the nation’s economic renewal would be an initial public offering of a 5% holding in Aramco – the Saudi national oil company (The total equity value is estimated as $100 billion (Approx. 11,200 billion yen). Against this background, the nation’s rapprochement with Iran beyond religious denomination, peaceful diplomacy and liberalization of the economy with surrounding countries will be needed to achieve economic recovery, breaking with oil business, consolidation of the authority and embodiment of limited level of democracy. There are some phases that Saudi Arabia could possibly to resolve such issues, jointly with Egypt and other moderates, as belongingness of Jerusalem to Israel and recognition of the city as its official capital that President Trump lately announced as well as a renewed use of armed force by Hezbollah to support contra in Lebanon, etc. At any rate and this moment, we can’t even imagine that Saudi Arabia who became one of the wealthiest countries in the world basking in the benefits from rigging of fossil fuel and relative concessions could exponentially shift its mode to universe of advanced technologies and forefront industry. Consequently, reformation of politics and economics in Saudi Arabia will be seamlessly a matter of speculation resulting in a minor betterment primarily for plutocracy or well-off classes unless improvement of economic and social disparity between men and women, progressive government who can absorb assertion, opinions and questions of younger generations, comes into being.