West would remain onlooker when Saudi Arabia collapses

TEHRAN, Sep. 17 (MNA) – An Islamic finance scholar and adviser to Saudi Arabian finance minister has said in a possible fall of the kingdom, west would remain just an onlooker, letting the staunch ally to disintegrate.

Javad Heirannia and Shabnam Shokouhi of Mehr News International Service reached Professor Hossein Askari for some enlightenment on the economic conditions of Saudi Arabia. Askari had been an adviser to Saudi finance minister and has invaluable information about the kingdom’s economic as well as cultural conditions. His article in Huffington Post titled ‘Last tango in Riyadh’ had been blocked by the internet censorship bodies in Saudi Arabia earlier this month. In the article, Professor Askari predicts the ultimate collapse of the kingdom, roiled by the internal conflicts and rivalries.

“The Huffington Post website was inaccessible in Saudi Arabia on Friday after being blocked by the country’s Ministry of Culture and Information… The Huffington Post’s American edition last Sunday published a column titled “Last tango in Riyadh” by Hossein Askari, a US-based economist and former special adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance, suggesting that the country was set to “implode” as a result of its economic dependency on oil and failure to implement institutional and political reforms,” wrote Middleeasteye news website.

Why did Saudi Arabia censor you article?

I think there are a number of reasons why the Saudis censored Huffington Post and my article. I think that it bothers them when someone who had been close to them criticizes them. They feel that this may be taken much more seriously by foreign politicians, business executives, academics and the media than some commentator who is not generally recognized as understanding Saudi Arabia.
Then there are the comments criticizing the ruling family that probably bothered them--their extravagant lifestyle and their corruption. In the same vein, the point that King Salman has favored his next of kin over thousands of more senior princes and that the deputy crown prince may be replaced/deposed when King Salman dies.
In the article I say that the economic programs will fail unless they are accompanied by political reform--especially the rule of law (everyone equal before the law) and representative government. But I go on to say that this is near impossible as the Al-Sauds see the country as theirs--it belongs to them.
Finally, I say that businesses that invest in Saudi Arabia should be sued because the country will implode with the changes that are proposed by Prince Mohammad bin Salman unless the Al-Sauds are willing to move towards a constitutional monarchy, which they are not.

Professor Askari received his B.S. in Civil Engineering, attended the Sloan School of Management and received his Ph.D in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to GW in 1982, he was a Professor of International Business and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has acted as a mediator between the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran and Kuwait.

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