Saudi Princes Fret

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Saudi Arabia’s status among Western governments and media has risen since Sept. 11. At first, Saudi Arabia was put on the defensive, given its decades-long policies of sponsoring (with total US blessings and support) jihadi groups and fanatical ideologies. Swiftly, the Saudi government moved to ingratiate itself with the Zionists in Congress: It moved closer to Israel and its interests in the region, and it unleashed an unprecedented campaign of anti-Shia rhetoric in order to undermine all manners of resistance to Israel and its terrorist occupation. Furthermore, the Saudi government elevated (if that is the right word) its subservience from the private realm to the public realm. The US and Europe were quite appreciative, and the US and British government moved to prevent any court proceedings against the Saudi royal families by families injured by Saudi policies, and the Sept. 11 Commission Report censored the entire section dealing with the embarrassing Saudi involvement with al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia remains grateful to the US. During the difficult years of the Cold War, when the Saudi government led the reactionary camp against the progressive and secular camp throughout the Arab world, the Gulf regimes received Western political and military support. Saudi Arabia subsidizes Western economies through financial investment and mega arms purchases. And politically speaking, the Saudi government ended its rhetorical criticisms of the Israeli occupation and its lip service to the Palestinian cause.

Yet, the Saudi government also adopted a new political course in the wake of Sept. 11: It solidified its alliance with the state of Israel. (There was in the past cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, especially in the Yemeni civil war in the 1960s.) That alliance brought the two countries together on a range of issues in the Middle East: Iran, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. The fall of Hosni Mubarak brought Israel and Saudi Arabia much closer together. Both, for a variety of reasons, were invested in the regime, and both equally and intensely lobbied the Barack Obama administration to permit Mubarak to commit as many massacres as he wished to stay in power.

Saudi Arabia, by all accounts, devoted its resources to attain the seat at the UN Security Council. Ironically, the fact that one of the most repressive states in the world was attaining a seat at the council was not controversial at all in the Western media. Far from it, the reactions focused mostly on how the West could mollify the Saudi government and to bring it back to the highest (in theory) international body. But for a regime that rarely makes abrupt and surprise announcements, the announcement to withdraw from the running at the Security Council took the American government by surprise.

The US secretary of state was dispatched to dissuade the Saudi government, and Western journalists (conservative and liberals alike) spoke of the frustrations of the Saudi government and expressed sympathy. John Kerry publicly acknowledged (almost with tears in his eyes) that the Saudi regime was dismayed because the US decided not to bomb Syria. The Saudi government wanted its patron to bomb Syria.

Saudi Arabia is indeed frustrated: It can’t understand why it does not enjoy the same status that Israel occupies in the hearts of any US administration. It can’t understand why it – just like any Israeli government – can’t drag the US into military adventures that are to its liking. Saudi Arabia feels humiliated in Syria, and yet the US has not come to the rescue.

Most likely, the Saudi government will return to the Security Council. The US will most likely issue a statement in praise of the Saudi decision to return. Foreign secretaries of Western powers will flock to Riyadh to pay their respect. And Western media will continue to ignore the human rights violations in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. But Saudi Arabia’s government is in a state of turmoil; the royal family never faced a more uncertain future with more disunity in its ranks. The succession struggle is far from resolved, and the power-seekers stand in line among the senior princes. The Sudayri faction will either lose power forever (as a faction), or will maneuver itself back in power and consolidate its rule with US help. People in Saudi Arabia with close connection to the family insist that the king will change the line of succession to benefit his eldest son, Mutab. Are the shifts and adjustments part of the different orientations of the various princes, or are they agreed upon by a fretting family?

Comments

By reading this article i think USA are nuts,,,,,,they only act when Israel tells them to do so....all this shows they are bankrupt in their foreign policy....tha Saudis cleptomaniacs have the money and they have used it fully to terorise the Islamic world with the help of USA and - Israel...Assad is no genous..IT is IRaman d Hizbullah who have saved him...so now the battle has shown who is in charge..Bandar ..the foolish guy is the culprit....all this boils down to that THE empire is crumbling.....

Interesting article. I agree with most of the facts, with one exception: your lack of acknowledgement of realpolitik. The Saudis, like all regional powers, see their power wax and wane. They bet on one losing horse (Syrian jihadis) and one winner (Sisi in Egypt). They cut their losses on losers (Hamas) and are focused on sworn enemies who make no bones about the fact that they are indeed, genuine enemies (Iran, Hizbullah). At the same time, they recognize that publicly flogging a phantom enemy (Israel) got them nowhere, especially considering that this same "enemy" is actually an ally.
The Saudis get into different situations for what they consider to be moral or ethical reasons (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) but in reality, it is part of their plan to spread influence and dominate the area religiously. They oppose Assad because he is heretic. They support Sisi because he is not.
This is what countries do. It is why Israel and Cyprus and Greece are now fast friends. It is why Turkey is now unwelcome in Libya and Egypt: you win some, you lose some.

If you could just say, "Al-Qaeda is managed by the Saudi Mukhabarat on behalf of the CIA, it always has been," you'd save an awful lot of trouble, and as the phrase has, it kill several birds with one stone. I've been saying it for five years or so. I have nothing to lose by doing so, and I am too unimportant to be attacked by my own (British) security services or anybody else. As time goes by, people hint more and more broadly at it. It becomes gradually obvious as the media landscape subtly changes. Soon, they will all claim that it was obvious to them all along. But certain aspects of it often baffle them. How can it be true if at the same time the US is busy trying to kill AQ? If AQ is killing US troops? Well, it is. They play rough, these secret services: they recruit, train, employ, pursue and kill their own recruits, who in turn kill US troops. It's all about AQ establishing credibility and CIA establishing deniability. Normally, AQ's function is to provide pretexts for US intervention. In Syria that has broken down, maybe, but in Lebanon? We shall see.

Very penetrating comment. Brevity is the soul of wit.

I can well understand the Saudi's displeasure and anger. After all, they have done just about all they could to provoke an intervention. The western media are 100% behind them, every Saudi funded Middle Eastern studies university academic who's expressed an opinion is bang up for it, all those think-tanks and institutes, the NGOs, even the women's rights campaigners got behind it for goodness sakes.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/26/syria-peace-talks-w...

All that hard cash, which the've been diligently spreading around generously for years or decades was now supposed to come good, to manufacture the consent they needed, and the West was all set to bomb their Jihadi clients into power in Syria. This was the moment they'd been waiting for, this was when THEIR lobby was going to provoke the west to fight on their behalf, like the Israeli lobby has always allegedly done.

But despite getting all their ducks lined up in a row, they weren't able to get the US to pull the trigger. Their fellow plutocrats and their retainers could not close the deal for them.
(Ironically, a lot of the credit, or blame, for that lies with Ed Millband, Labour leader and son of a Jewish Marxist academic, who prevented the UK parliament voting for war, and so denied Obama the vital diplomatic cover he felt he needed.)

Meanwhile, their king is dying without an obvious heir, the Iranians are opening up and flashing flirtatious smiles, the Syrian Jihadis aren't able to pretend to be moderate any longer, and Assad is slowly grinding out a military egde, 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. The transition between the old generation of princes and the new should have taken place in the light of a foreign policy triumph, as wahhabis saluted the House of Saud in Damascus, surrounded by plunder, for the second time in a century.

So naturally, they are furious.

You mean to say they are disappointed, frustrated, desperate, confused and perplexed. I agree.

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