Bloomberg carried a doleful piece last week. It was about the “funeral watch” – in and of the Middle East. Bobby Ghosh puts forward the view that rather than “demographics and technology”, the region will be changed by “human mortality”.
Where all else has failed, not least revolution and foreign intervention, death will provide results. The death of “longstanding rulers” has often been a harbinger of change, and we are about to see it at work in the Middle East.
The four deaths in question are as follows:
** Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 78 years
** Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 82 years
** Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, 87 years
** Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Al Said, 77 years
Indeed, all four are old and in pivotal positions – for the region. As the piece says, “the worst-case (and most likely) scenario will have conservatives and hardliners taking over in Tehran, Riyadh, and Najaf, and a weakling in Muscat. The best case will have Khamenei replaced by a moderate, King MBS proving the reformer he claims to be, Sistani being succeeded by a clone and Oman retaining its peacekeeping role under a new sultan”.
One can but live in hope.