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29 March 2014

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Green Zone Cafe

I come out of retirement to laud you on this piece, Colonel.

I would like to see the redacted portions on the 9/11 Commission report.

The Saudis are the ones financing the extreme version of Islam around the world. From Nigeria to Indonesia.

Norbert M Salamon

Colonel:
I thank you for an impressive post.
No the US does not need Saudi Arabia, unfortunately the US does not seem to have either the means or the will to put stop to the financing of terror - seeing that the US encouraged this to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

This is known as the blowback for half-baked ideas.

There is a technical error, most often lauded by people too full of their ignorance and by the political class, to wit, the USA will be the world's leader in hydrocarbon production. This is impossible on technical grounds, on one hand, and on financial grounds on the other hand.
The Bakken and Eagle Ford plays [the only ones actually producing oil any decent amount] resemble the Red Queen syndrome - keep running faster and faster to stay on the same spot. Even Forbes magazine denied the politicians' thesis.

It is possible that the US will become somewhat more independent [cut back use -partially due to economic hardship by a large % of population], it is possible that there will be marginal improvement in total produced form fracking [while the traditional fields deplete at 4-6 per annum] but these issues will not help the US to surpass either Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation.

The idea that more can be produced is true, if the price is high enough - unfortunately the National Economy can not survive anything much above 110-120 price.

William R. Cumming

SA has deeply penetrated elites in Washington and Wall Street! You can guess how?

elkern

I think we still need their oil, though there are other suppliers now. The Fracking Boom is bringing up lots of gas, not oil; gas is good for heating, cooking, and generating electricity, but it doesn't run (most of) our
cars & trucks.

Please don't misconstrue this as support for a cozy relationship with the KSA - may they rot in whatever Hell they think the rest of us are headed for.

jerseycityjoan

About the oil --

I'd rather run through theirs (and that of other countries) and keep ours in reserve. Plus fracking may turn out to be too hard on the environment and adjacent communities to continue. Then what? I am very unthrilled about the prospect of substituting Russian natural gas for ours on a massive scale, too.

We still do not have anything near a universal cheap and safe substitute for oil, and I am not sure when we will or even if we will. [Your recent fusion posts were quite the eye opener for me. I did not realize that one of the "technological challenges" was the ability to reach the temperature of a sun here on Earth.]

In any case, it is interesting that our "allies" Saudi Arabia and Israel have no actual commitments to us. I did not know there were no "documents of alliance" between us and Saudi Arabia.


Augustin L

Why ? The saudis own 8 % of the US economy and they can collapse the petro-dollar system should they pursue a different economic architecture to settle trade with eurasian partners. The pact of Quincy was clear... The western elites strategy is now similar to the one pursued in the latter days of the Byzantine empire: manage the decline and rule over the rubble. The only thing holding the anglo-american empire is the 16 aircraft carrier group...

walter

I concur with Green Zone Cafe, this piece really clarified the role and motivations of Saudi Arabia and our relationship with them for me. Thank u so much for this. Every day I am excited to read your blog and the comments section because I get the unvarnished, behind-the-propaganda reality of whats going on in the world. I do not always agree but that is to be expected.

Regarding GZC contention that SA finances extreme Islam around the world, certainly our government knows this. What would have to occur for USA to take action against Saudi Arabia? What scenario would constitute an "enough is enough" moment for the USA to change our relationship with SA?

What do u think SAs role/motivation in 911 was, if any?

Why do u think Saudi leadership is so interested in Sunni hegemony? They are comfortable, rich, and presumably safe the way things are now. Why push the envelope and take risks? Iran does not seem to be expansionist; I think they just want to be safe from Sunni, Israeli, Western aggression.
Thanks

The Virginian

The Saudis fear that any return of Iran from pariah status plus a cohesive Iraq with increased exports will undermine its post-1979 role as the swing producer. This is overlaid onto a deep fear of Shi'ism and a genuine belief that the West is morally and ethically corrupt. The bombings in 2003 in the Kingdom saw some wake-up to the reality of blowback from Saudi support of Salafist militants. But funding continued, a mix of wealth Saudi royals plus government funds channeled through various organizations. The total lack of correlation between Saudi interests and its support for Sunni extremism will continue to threaten Riyadh, and Western interests. Obama should wield a different approach - tell Abdullah to cease and desist, or be left to the winds of change. That said, Saudi crude will continue to be key to markets for some time to come, even with the North American shale revolution. But not enough to give the Saudis space to pursue things that are against US interests. Saudi (and Emirati) policy in Egypt might require a bit more nuance, as their views on the Ikhwan are more aligned with what the international community (should) be pursuing. As James Baker said, stability should not be a bad word. I'm more worried about Saudi links into Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon, Africa, etc.

guslinton

What I find most disturbing about the Saudis is that they are using their powerful financial weapon to promote radical Islam.
1) In January I was in Oman, where I met a Muslim from Thailand who is working to build an Omani financed mosque there. He said that the Wahhabis, who have 3 tv channels in Thailand, are giving his project more opposition than the Buddhists.
2) Volunteering at my county prison I've learned that Wahhabism seems to dominate the entire US prison system. http://www.islamicpluralism.org/documents/black-america-prisons-radical-islam.pdf
Although the Wahhabism of the Muslim inmates I have met seems harmless and non-political, it is disturbing to see so many young offenders entering a sect of Islam that is radically un-Islamic.

Amir

No one is falling for this masquerade of President Hopey-Changey anymore: Listen to deafening sound of clapping. Presser in The Hague, this Tuesday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVFrdWIs2LI&feature

He is untrustworthy and about all "allies" have concluded that.

turcopolier

Augustin

If they collapse the petrodollar system would that not devalue their monetized and other assets in the US? pl

turcopolier

elkern

How long do you think it will be until the automotive industry starts to convert to gas driven vehicles? pl

Fred

Augustin L,

Nationalize Saudi assets. The royal family can go back to living in the Nejd. Surely we've got enough laws on the books about asset seizures of those sponsoring terrorist organizations to make that legal.

confusedponderer

I have always wondered how McCain, just as if he never lost the US elections, toured the world to visit the scum of the earth - various Jihadis, rank criminals, Ukrainian neo-nazis but to name a few - and pronounce to them US support, just as if he was conducting his own foreign policy.

The salient point here is that it is as it seemed.

McCain is chairman of IRI, the International republican Institute, funded courtesy of the US taxpayer through NED, and he IS conducting his own foreign policy, which runs counter to that of the elected president, Obama.

The US has outsourced some part of their foreign policy to private bodies and nominal NGOs like NED and IRI.

The result is essentially a loss of control over what that foreign policy is by the executive branch proper. These organisations answer to their board, and the board is appointed. As far as foreign policy goes, theirs is unaccountable to the electorate.

In essence, an expedient way to circumvent troublesome legal limitations that forbade the CIA to wage regime change is by now a threat to the ability of the executive branch to control and execute US foreign policy.

A perilous circumstance, give the apparent inclination of the likes of McCain and Nuland to toy with the prospect of thermonuclear war.

Since it isn't much better with old Prometheans like Brezinski, it isn't purely a D vs. R issue.

Norbert M Salamon

Colonel:
It will take along time. Old cars will need approx. $3000.00 + for conversion, while new cars need stellite Valve seats and more expensive valves [too much heat no lubrication from gas].

The other point is that Gas in storage is at 10 year minimum. Another cold winter, and problems of summer gas injection, and the will be rationing of gas for electrical generation.

Babak Makkinejad

I assume you are discussing compressed natural gas - CNG?

It does not have the chemical energy density of gasoline and thus the CNG-powered vehicles will not have the range of gasoline-powered vehicles.

They also corrode fuel lines...

turcopolier

babak

Do you not think that if the price differential is there that new technology will emerge? pl

Babak Makkinejad

They are interested not in Sunni hegemony but rather a subset of Sunni sect - the Wahabis.

The Wahabis are the "Protestants" of Islam, with scant respect for either Tradition, or Learning, or Reason.

turcopolier

babak

The Saudis assume that once in control they can force other Sunnis into accepting the Wahhabi way. that is what they have repeatedly attempted. pl

turcopolier

All

This would seem to disagree with the idea that fracking only produces gas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tight_oil pl

Babak Makkinejad

I do not know - you might be able to dry the gas but not much can be done about its lower stored chemical energy.

On the other hand, the conversion of natural gas to Liquefied Natural Gas - something that is actually in liquid form - might be a better alternative.

But that process of going from natural gas to LNG is also rather expensive; Qatar is doing it but I am not sure if they are breaking even.

US will need to tap into the gas fields of Mobile Bay, I should imagine, to reduce the costs.

Pakistan is the country that has gone the furthest in using CNG in its vehicles and I think Iran - due to sanctions - is now almost on the same par with Pakistan in that regard.

I am sure if issues with CNG are resolved in US, Iran would be interested in licensing that technology.

Babak Makkinejad

They are in control in Saudi Arabia and have not been able to make a dent in the religious (madhab) composition of the peninsula. There is no social trust in Saudi Arabia among the adherents of various madhabs as far as I know.

turcopolier

babak

No Sunni mathab other than the Hanbali is tolerated in SA. the Hanbali mathab lies at the center of Wahhabism. There are 12er Shia in the Eastern Province but as you know they are not a "mathab." Sufis are also not tolerated in the kingdom. pl

jon

Col. Lang, I know people in Germany who have converted their car to run on CNG. It cost about $1,000 euros, but their fuel costs have declined by about a third. There is pretty good infrastructure for service and fueling, but it's probably only available at about one tenth of gas stations. It works fine, but fill ups take much longer, and they have much shorter range. People have been doing LPG conversions in the US for decades, though mostly trucks.

BMW has invested heavily for more than a decade in hydrogen power, but they have encountered tremendous difficulties, which limits practical application.

turcopolier

jon

Thanks, but I think that BMW has invested in hydrogen fuel cells, quite different. pl

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