Understanding the propaganda of Mujtahid

Mujtahid has made today a series of tweets in which he claims that Muhammad bin Zayid (the effective ruler of the UAE) is trying to gain control of Saudi Arabia by manipulating  M. b. Salman.


It should be noted that this is not the first time that Mujtahid talks about such an Emirati plot. He has been for years pointing out such imaginary Emirati plots against Saudi Arabia. This is, in fact, one of the typical themes of his tweeting.

Why does he do that? I have two possible explanations:

1. He is playing on the xenophobia that is deeply ingrained in Saudi culture.

2. He is playing on the anti-Emirati position that is held by many Islamists in Saudi Arabia.

Mujtahid never criticizes the Saudi monarch. He claims that the Saudi monarch is mentally incapacitated and that M. b. Salman makes all the decisions for him. However, that is obviously untrue. Mujtahid insists on that false information because he wishes to delegitimize the gains which M. b. Salman has made. If those gains stem from the will of the monarch, nobody in Saudi Arabia could question their legitimacy, because the monarch has absolute powers and he can do whatever he wants; but if b. Salman’s gains do not come from the monarch (because the monarch is mentally incapacitated), then there is room for arguing about their legitimacy.

Another way to delegitimize b. Salman’s gains is by claiming that those gains stem (somehow) from foreign interference. It is hard to say that the US is backing b. Salman’s ambitions, because that is obviously not the case. So Mujtahid has to find another foreign actor to blame. The most suitable candidate is the UAE, because that is an important country that has cordial relations with the Saudi rulers.

A third way to delegitimize b. Salman is by stirring Islamist sentiments against him. It is obvious that Mujtahid has been trying to do that. Mujtahid says that b. Salman aspires to end Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia because he wishes to appease the West and gain foreign support for himself. Those allegations can, of course, make many people in Saudi Arabia angry against b. Salman for religious and/or cultural reasons, but more dangerously: those allegations can delegitimize b. Salman in the eyes of many people in Saudi Arabia, because the Saudi state was historically founded upon Wahhabism, and that creed is traditionally seen as the source of legitimacy to the Saudi rulers. (King Saud of Saudi Arabia was deposed by his brother Faysal after he was accused of drifting away from Wahhabism.)

Mujtahid is trying his best to delegitimize b. Salman. He uses every possible way to achieve that.

The identity of Mujtahid is unknown, but many believe that he belongs to some marginal branch of the Saudi royal family.


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