According to breaking news, the Saudis, in the tradition of the Rufus T. Firefly school of foreign policy, servered ties with Iran after protesters in Tehran appear to have set fire to the Saudi embassy in riots over the execution of the Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
While charges and verdict against al-Nimr probably were trumped-up, and the execution probably a deliberate Saudi provocation, it was stupid in the extreme for the Iranians to not have guarded that building better. In fact, what better to remind the US of unpeleasant common history with Iran? How dumb can one be?
Immediately, this incident will be water on the mills of those who want to kill at least the implementation of the US-Iran deal that they were unable to stop. Perhaps the leak about US surveillance of Israel influencing US lawmakers and subverting Obama administration policy towards Iran has to be seen in this light.
After the incident, the Saudis, of all people, accuse Iran of supporting terrorism. These nasty Iranians. Clearly, the Saudis would never stoop so low. At the same time, US lawmakers, 'under the influence', try to move the goalposts and make Iranian missiles an issue, which never were part of the deal between the US and Iran, in an attempt to create an obstacle to the implementation of the deal. IMO these two - support of terrorism and the missiles - will be two dominant memes/themes in the new effort to stall implementation of the implemenation of the deal.
More, off the top of my head:
- This reeks of a gut impulse on the part of the Saudis. The less than convincing performance of late by the Saudi leadership team King Salman & Prince "Reckless" Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud doesn't suggest much of a plan.
- This is in any case an obstacle for any negotiations over Syria.
- The Saudis will continue their commitment in Yemen.
- Fighting in Yemen may get worse and the Iranians may feel compelled under domestic pressure to, eventually, fulfill the Saudi fiction prophecy and support the Houthis for real.
- It makes it more likely that the Saudis will support Jihadi groups in Syria with money, arms and training.
- This is likely to increase cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Turkey - together the two biggest outside sponsors of Jihadi groups in Syria.
- This will probably increase Saudi support for Sunni groups in Iraq, including ISIS.
- The Israelis have recently, somewhat, restored links between with Turkey, under the spectre of the 'phantom Shia menace'.
- i.e. there is a clear Saudi-Turkish-Israeli anti-Shia Iran axis emerging.
- The Saudis probably will use the 'phantom Shia menace' to justify further and increased repression of the Shia in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi logic likely goes like this: When you treat Shia like dogs, and they inexplicably resent that, that can only be because of Iranian scheming.
- There is some risk for open war between Saudi-Arabia and Iran.
- The Saudis or Turks, by their record, are capable of trying to 'engineer' some ambiguous incident in order to draw the US in. There are enough US vessels (or installations, like the US HQ in Bahrain) in the area for something like that.
- The US are exposed to something like that.
- It was a wise move by the Obama Whitehouse to reject a proposal to forge a common defense treaty of the Gulf nations with the United States. The idea must have been to insulate the US precisely from such volatile tempers and developments.
- Given the speculative nature of oil pricing, this is likely to increase the price of oil on the markets. While that would benefit Iran, and Russia, it would benefit Saudi Arabia more (given their greater market share). This is a very secondary aspect.
Share thoughts and post new developments as they emerge.
~ by confusedponderer