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24 October 2013

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r whitman

They may threaten to turn away but where else can they go? China would rather partner with Iran and the Russians do not need them.

Bandolero

r whitman

Obviously the Saudis try to turn to France:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/83471/World/Region/France,-Saudi-agree-to-back-Syria-opposition-Minis.aspx

France is under immense budget pressure, and has, in comparison to it's financial means, an oversized military and military industry.

However, I doubt it will work. I think if the Saudis won't change their sectarian policies France may soon find out that the French move to team up Europe with that medieval dictatorship may weaken the German-French relations and bring new pressure on the French budget. The Germans didn't deny the Saudis the Leo tanks to see France fill the position, and I doubt the French public will feel very well when they are being seen to be in a "community of values" with Saudi Arabia.

However, I see some timid signs that the Saudis may try to move away from their policy of overtly sectarian jihad incitement:

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/saudi-grand-mufti-has-villified-shi-ites-now-preaches-against

So, I think, that story needs to be followed closely, to see if there will be some humanitarian progress in Saudi Arabia.

Matthew

Col: If Jerusualem falls Western Civilization will immediately perish. It is Munich all over again. Persian tanks will emcamp on the Potomac.

It's gibberish when I write this. But if I were paid by the FDD, AIPAC, or the AEI, it would be "scholarship."

On a serious note, do the Saudis really want an America that withdraws its active protection? Arabists like me would love to see the Saudi "royals" toppled.

Gingrich used to talk about "internationalizing" their oil fields. The Saudis are playing a very dangerous game.

Richard Armstrong

I respectfully disagree sir. China has a relationship of convenience with Iran - consider it to be playing AAA baseball while waiting to be called up to the show.

Replacing the US in SA is playing int the Bigs. Lots of prestige, an opportunity to sell lots of their new generation of aircraft and helicopters. A very good reason to rehearse their infant blue-water navy (does the Peoples Liberation Army Navy sound strange or is it just me?). Those just the military benefits.

SA is a much better diplomatic toe hold in the ME than any other country. Other Gulf states will follow SA's lead and cozy up to China as they did with the US. The US influence in the ME is one great big factor in our being a "world power". It will be time same for China as well.

Babak Makkinejad

I would think also that Chinese would take one look at the Middle East and decide that "Thanks but no thanks."

I doubt that they get involved beyond transactional levels - there is nothing in it for them and they do not understand those remote people in Western Asia.

 Norbert M. Salamon

IT is debatable that SA could turn to Russia after the threat re Olympics site so cleverly enunciated by the Price of Darkness to President Putin.
China is not pleased by the Muslim "uprising" in Western Provinces, without doubt having some footprints [or rather money prints] courtesy of the Prince of Darkness, the one time ambassador to USA.

CK

China just passed the USA as the largest importer of oil.
The USA is, thanks to the Bakken in North Dakota and the huge new fields in Texas and of course the hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale gas formation is not so much an oil and other energy import dependent as it had been.

JerseyJeffersonian

Indeed. In fact, if the reports are to be believed, the Saudis have been issuing veiled (or not so veiled) threats against the Russians. The Russians have already been pushed on pretty hard through their support for the Salafist Jihadis in the southern tier of Russia. So, little likelihood of a rapprochement there, I should imagine. And Islamist adventurism in the west of China will not win them friends in that quarter, either.

Somewhat off thread, but not entirely perhaps, is an article by Abolhassan Bani-Sadr that I recently encountered:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2013/0305/Argo-helps-Iran-s-dictatorship-harms-democracy

Any thoughts as to the accuracy of his account of the events and politics of immediately post-revolutionary Iran? If true, it would be quite a different account than that we have been led to believe. And parenthetically, although he doesn't come right out and say it, I think that he viewed the movie, Argo, as an attempt to keep Iran demonized at a time when there was a chance that diplomacy might yield fruit.

oofda

Colonel,
Thanks for highlighting the great financial benefits that the press, think tanks and lobbyists have been receiving from SA. Also your point that "neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia is really important to the defense of US core interests" is spot-on. They actually are deterimental to our core interests in fact.

jonst

"Well, to hell with them both! They need us"!

Precisely. They are a very wealthy, very, very, wealthy indeed, plumb, Pillsbury dough boy soft, bejeweled, man walking through a very dangerous, and desperately poor, under-policed, neighborhood..who has just casually dismissed his bodyguards. Good luck.

Tony

“Well, to hell with them both! They need us. We do not need them…” Amen to that.
I doubt Saudis cut the funding for the US think tanks, lobbyists etc. In fact, they may increase the funding since apparently those stooges have failed to push the US policy in favor of SA/Israel. I really hope the outcome of US negotiations on Syria and Iran is something really meaningful.

William R. Cumming

Once a crack in SA/USA relationship appears the Royal Family
better have its flight capital salted! IMO of course!

Duncan Kinder

According to this article, "The REAL Reason for Saudi Arabia’s Shift Away from U.S." is that "China just dethroned the U.S. as the world’s largest importer of oil."

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/10/the-real-reason-for-saudi-shift-away-from-u-s.html

This may not be the "real" reason or the only reason, but it it almost certainly at least a factor.

Fred

Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud is upset? Isn't he the 'prince' who warned President Putin that he controls Chechan jihadis? CBS News senior correspondent John Miller (hopefully no relation to Judith Miller) needs to do a little expose of Prince Bandar and his terrorist connections. Then again maybe someone should check to see what Saudi funded gratuities have made it to which members of the press.

"Israel's Minister of International Relations Yuval Steinitz tarred US President Barack Obama with the brush of appeasement ..."

Sadly few in Congress seem to realize the US is the superpower and Israel the client state.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, " Persian tanks will encamping on the Potomac" which would be followed by a demand for a certain number of comely blonde women - no doubt.

"Iraníes pueden odiar a Estados Unidos, pero sin duda les encanta a las americanas!"

turcopolier

Babak

I had no idea that you were so polyglottish. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Trying to teach myself some Spanish; earlier in life I wasted my time on learning French.

FB Ali

China has a "special relationship" with Pakistan. It caught the latter on the rebound from its US alliance, and finds it useful as an opening to the Muslim world and as a counter-balance to India. Pakistan depends on Chinese largesse and uses it to show the US it has an alternative patron.

Pakistan also has a "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia. It depends on it for aid and backing in foreign relations. The Saudi royals (and their Gulf minions) depend on Pakistan's military when needed.

Nixon used Pakistan to undertake his rapprochement with China. If the Saudis decide to swing away from the US, they may well use Pakistan's good offices to cosy up to the Chinese. The latter play a wily game: they make friends but no commitments, and the depth of their friendship depends on the client state's performance.

turcopolier

babak

Mais non, monsieur Jefferson disait que chaque homme civilise a deux langues, sa propre et le Francais. pl

turcopolier

FB Ali

I remember when Pakistan, perhaps in the time of your bete noire, Dhia al-Haq, brokered a sale of Chinese IRBMs to Saudi Arabia. pl

Medicine Man

It sounds like such a shift would constitute a reduction in funding for the Washington DC boondoggle manufacturing industry. Sounds like a win to me.

Lamoe2012

I've all ways thought the present huffing and puffing by SA was to put pressure on people in the beltway either partly or totally dependent on money from SA, to put pressure on the WH. SA knows the US is a far bigger stick than Pakistan or any group of partners they could bribe or rope together. I don't think SA be successful. BHO has one unpopular war he has escaped from and is trying to get out of another. I think this guy just wants Syria to go away.
I think BHO painted himself into a rhetorical corner, and a highly amused Russia tossed him life line, while bolstering Syria. How SA will respond will be interesting to watch.

Peter C

The big fit that SA may throw is by-passing the oil traders use of Greenbacks as the currency of trade and go to the Euro.

Katie bar the door if that comes to pass!!

bth

Col. why do the Saudis need us for Syria? Can't they buy enough munitions and radicals to finish the job? I don't understand why they wouldn't push to topple Assad without us anyway?

Fred

"... the depth of their friendship depends on the client state's performance." I sure hope they learn this lesson in Foggy Bottom quick.

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