Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Saudi Arabia Connection

VP Dick Cheney made a visit to Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh two weeks ago to confer with King Abdullah. At first, the folks in the White House denied Cheney had made the trip. Then the news of Cheney’s trip started appearing on Iraqi TV and the Bush administration had to fess up. So of course they lied and said the VP had gone to Iraq to be with the troops for Thanksgiving. Like Cheney cares about the troops. Then a pic was circulated of Cheney conferring with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. The official reason for the trip supposedly was that Cheney was asking the Saudi’s to “encourage” Iraq's Sunni Muslim Arabs to reconcile with the country's Shiites. Whatever the White House is saying publicly about Cheney’s trip we know is a lie. Do we know if Rumsfeld met with King Abdullah? Do we know anything that is going on in the Iraq-Saudi Arabia-Iran arena? The Saudi ambassador to the United States Prince Turki al-Faisal told his staff on Monday that he was resigning his post. But he hasn’t resigned yet. Washington is awaiting the official news that he is gone and wondering who will replace him. Turki was ambassador to the US for only 15 months. But the main rumor is that Turki resigned in order to take over the position of foreign minister from his brother Saud al-Faisal. Which is very VERY interesting because Prince Bandar wants that position. Prince Bandar bin Sultan resigned as Saudi ambassador to Washington (and Bush family confidant) in July 2005. For 22 years Bandar had unprecedented access to the White House. He could walk into any meeting anywhere in Washington without advance notice. He was a close advisor to four US presidents. But things had become increasingly uncomfortable for him since 19 of the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11 were Saudis. And the fact that the Bush White House had spirited 40 Saudis safely out of the US the night of the attack did not sit well with many Americans. But now Saudi Arabia is making demands. The latest report on Mr. I’m-the-Decider not deciding anything is that he’s going to put off making decisions about Iraq until after the New Year. After he has gotten his definitive marching orders from King Abdullah, no doubt. Just before announcing he was resigning his post, Prince Turki fired consultant Nawaf Obaid for writing an opinion piece in the Washington Post. Obaid said “one of the first consequences of an American pullout of Iraq would be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.” Mr. Obaid also said, “Saudi Arabia could cut world oil prices in half by raising its production, a move that he said ‘would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties even with today’s high oil prices.’” The Saudi government denied everything Obaid said and Turki canceled Obaid’s consultant contract. This morning the New York Times said, “Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according to American and Arab diplomats. “King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that message to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney’s whirlwind visit to Riyadh, the officials said. During the visit, King Abdullah also expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, and pushed for Washington to encourage the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Bush administration officials said.” Of course the main fear of Saudi intervention in Iraq is that Saudis would start killing US soldiers. So, thanks to double-dealing by the Saudis and double-dealing by the new Iraq government, none of which the Bush administration can control, and ill-conceived double-dealing by the Bush administration with all countries in the Middle East, the United States is in even more of a pickle in Iraq than any of us knew. And what does it all go back to? The sweet alliance and hand-holding between Saudi Prince Bandar and the Bush family and the fact that Saudi Arabia controls one-quarter of the world's oil supplies, Saudi Arabia’s demand that the US remain in Iraq is what will make the Bush administration decide against all odds and against all advice that the US must remain in Iraq and must not talk to Iran. It’s the oil, stupid.


Barry Schwartz said...

What's coming: big escalation in Iraq, recommended by Bush's select 'worshippers' in the Pentagon. As Sidney Blumenthal predicted (probably with some 'inside' knowledge).

I think the predicted US escalation would be dual in purpose. The first purpose would be that George W. Bush is a never-seriously-wrong half-god who will be revered by future generations for his foresight, his steely resolve, yadda yadda. The second purpose is that it is what the Saudis would seem to want. However, if the offensive were to have any success, Iran would want to escalate, no? And so this would not serve the Saudi purposes.

Anonymous said...

1 - how are the foreign fighters and their supplies getting into Iraq?

2 - are there interdiction efforts to stop/control those foreign agents at the border?

3 - are the Iraqi arms stockpiles being blown up/melted down in order to decrease the availability of arms & explosives available to insurgents& militias?

4 - what kinds of war-game scenarios has the US performed related to drawing Iran into an open cross-border incursion in Iraq, allowing the US to attack Iran's nuclear program?

5 - how many billions of private Saudi petrodollars go to support the non-state militant actors in the middle east? how many Saudi state petrodollars?

6 - when, and to what degree, will the US military begin educating its service members in Arabic?

- the wandering wondering wombat