Recent Power

Up until World War 1, the Arabian Peninsula was controlled by a patchwork of military leaders under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War 1, it consisted of four different territories. Ibn Saud rose to power in El Ahsa (Eastern Arabia) at the end of the war. By 1921, he had gained control of Najd. He seized Hejaz In 1926. Asir (Southern Arabia) was conquered later in the decade. The House of Saud that controls Saudi Arabia is a military dictatorship.

Saudi power is based on oil. The proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are the second largest in the world, estimated to be 268 billion barrels. They are predominantly found in the Eastern Province, where the majority of the population are Shia. The Saudi reserves are about one-fifth of the world's total conventional oil reserves, a large fraction of these reserves comes from a small number of very large oil fields.

Saudi Arabia is a major client of the United States. In returning for maintaining oil, supplies, the Saudis have been allowed to purchase huge amounts of military hardware from US armaments producers. This is odd, because powerful people in Saudi Arabia have funded terrorism activities all over the world. Most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis. The US has turned a blind eye to these activities to maintain a steady flow of oil from Saudi wells.

The population of Saudi Arabia is about 30 million. This creates a huge problem for defending such a large area of land. Saudi Arabia can only sustain an army of 75,000. A separate Saudi Arabia National Guard with another 75,000 men is an independent force loyal to the King. This is small compared to the forces of Iran (more than a million).

The problem is compounded by the fact that nearly a third of the population are immigrants or foreign nationals, including nearly a million Yemenis. A large number of Yemenis serve into the armed forces. They will not be keen on fighting their home country.

Yemen

Yemen is there southern neighbour of Saudi Arabia. It has a population of nearly 25 million, nearly as many people as Saudi Arabia. This is one reason it is feared by the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia has a long history of dabbling in Yemen. In 1934, The Saudis invaded Yemen and advanced towards Sanaa. Their armoured cars and tanks struggled in the mountains and they had to withdraw.

During the northern civil war between 1962 and 1970, the royalist side was supported by Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with covert British support. The Egyptian President Gamal Nasser supported the republicans with weapons and 30,000 troops. They really struggled in the steep mountains of Yemen. By the time they withdrew, as many as 15,000 Egyptians were captured or missing.

In 2009-10, the Saudis advanced into Yemen and bombed Houthi positions. The attack was a failure.

In the recent years, the Saudis have tried to control Yemeni politics by providing lavish support to selected tribal leaders. They are currently using bribes to control some of the powerful generals.

Saudi Disaster and Destruction

More recently, Saudi Arabia has engaged in a cruel bombing campaign to bring regime change in Yemen. This War on Yemen will be a disaster for Saudi Arabia. Air attacks will cause a huge amount of damage and create resentment and hatred, but they cannot restore a president who has already fled the country.

The Saudis will eventually be forced to follow up the air attacks with ground forces to avoid losing face. Many of the soldiers in the Saudi Armed forces come from badly treated tribes and are poorly trained. The officers get their positions through family connections rather than skill. If the ground attacks have US military support these forces might have some initial success, but they will soon grind to a halt in the midst of a rugged country and a hostile population.

This Yemini adventure will end in disaster for the Saudis. There is only one prophecy about Arabia in the scriptures.

A prophecy against Arabia:
You caravans of Dedanites,
who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
bring water for the thirsty;
you who live in Tema,
bring food for the fugitives.
They flee from the sword,
from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
and from the heat of battle.
This is what the Lord says to me:
"Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it,
all the splendor of Kedar will come to an end.
The survivors of the archers,
the warriors of Kedar, will be few."
The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken (Isaiah 21:13-17).

This prophecy warns of a distressing situation for the people of Arabia. One of the richest countries in the world will be desperate for food and water. Isaiah explains that they will be fleeing from two weapons: the "drawn sword" and the "bent bow". In the Old Testament, the bow is often a symbol of Shia Islam. The "sword" is the symbol of the Assyrian empire.

Saudi Arabia is currently trapped between two enemies. It has created an enemy in the south by attacking Yemen. They south eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia are populated by Shia Moslems, who have been treated as second class citizens by the Saudis. They do a much of the work in the oil fields, but get none of the financial reward. If the war with Yemen spills back over the border they will be difficult to control. Up until now, they have been kept down by repressive force, but if Saudi forces are stretched, that might become impossible. The bowmen of the south might break off their yoke.

Islamic State

To the north of Saudi Arabia is the Islamic State, controlled by an Assyrian spirit. Its war efforts are focussed on Syria and Iraq, but its next logical enemy is Saudi Arabia. They see the Saudi rulers as immoral, corrupt, idolatrous puppets of the United States. They would naturally expect the religious sites of Mecca and Medina to be part of the Islamic State. When the Saudi military forces are bogged down in Yemen, they might take advantage of the opportunity to expand the Islamic State into Arabia. This would be a "sword" from the north.

If Saudi Arabia is attacked from the north and the south, it would not have sufficient loyal population to defend itself. Many of its foreign nationals would have different loyalties. Some would choose to support the Islamic State. Isaiah warned that Arabian glory and splendour will one day be wiped out in less than a year. The Saudis have wealth and splendour now. They could currently be sitting up the conditions for the prophecy to have its complete fulfilment. If things go against, it the Saudis could be destroyed in less than a year.