Posted By POSCA
On October 17, Saudi Arabia was elected to a temporary, 2-year membership on the United Nations Security Council. The election was by secret ballot of the 193-member General Assembly. The Saudis had lobbied for a temporary seat for years because even though temporary members of the Security Council are not as powerful as the permanent members (they do not have veto authority, for example), membership is still considered something of a big deal. Council members are considered to be leaders within the UN and they can shape the agenda of the General Assembly if they are diligent and assiduous. As the Saudi Ambassador indicated immediately following the announcement of the election results, they were very pleased, as were the other Gulf Arab states.
But on the 18 October, the Saudis did something that has never been done in the history of the UN, they announced they would not be serving on the Security Council, even as temporary members. Because diplomacy is so personal, it was King Abdullah who no doubt directed this volte face which took the diplomatic community by storm. The Saudis have typically been inclined to work quietly behind the scenes– however this time they came out swinging. They condemned both the UN Security Council AND the Obama Administration.
But the only thing surprising about this tempest is that it is… surprising. Last month the Saudis skipped an offer to address the General Assembly which they have done every September in the past, and this is a most curious absence if they were still lobbying to be a member of the Security Council. A year ago, the Saudis had expressed displeasure that the US had not supported them in dealing with Bahraini (Shiite, Iranian-inspired) protestors during the absurdly named “Arab Spring.” Likewise, it takes no imagination to realize the Saudis would be angered by the betrayal and replacement of Mubarak, the Sunni strongman of Egypt, whom they viewed as a surrogate for themselves. And they could not help but notice that when Obama supported Morsi over Mubarak, he was anything but neutral in the matter. The Saudis also let it be known that they would grant over-flight rights for a US/Israeli attack on Iran, which Americans have chosen to ignore. Of course, there is the lingering issue of the Palestinians, but that problem (like the poor) will always be with us because the US and the Security Council have no apparent interest in solving it.
But of greatest concern to the Saudis is Barack Obama’s grotesque mishandling of Syria and Iran. This should be of greatest concern to anyone desirous of peace in the Near/Middle East. After claiming the existence of a red line beyond which Assad cannot go in his dealing with the Syrian rebels, what did Obama do? He didn’t even lift a finger when the Syrians used chemical weapons against the Sunni segment of their population. Instead, he jumped at the first suggestion (the Russian option) that allowed him to avoid conflict. From the Saudi standpoint Obama is precisely what he appears to be: a gutless coward. After condemning the use of CBW against the Syrian populace, the Security Council then shifted and agreed that the Shiite leadership of Syria could do penance by cleaning up their CBW storage sites. This drove the Saudis over the edge because there are some 50 such sites in Syria, and it leaves the Syrians essentially free to gas the Sunni segments of their population while the lengthy clean-up process is completed.
With respect to Iran’s development of a nuclear arsenal, Obama seems to be capitulating without any of the bellicose rhetoric. His arms are wide open and this can only mean the Iranians will finally have nuclear weapons unless the Israelis act. It has been repeatedly proven that the Iranians have been stalling for time for years while it finishes up the fuel enrichment process for an atomic bomb. Now is the perfect time for them to finish the job. The Saudis think Obama will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons because he is a coward, and, besides, Obama believes in nuclear parity. Who can vouchsafe this? Make no mistake: King Abdullah will not go without a nuclear bomb of his own as a deterrent to Iran. And he pays in cash- price is no object.
It should come as no surprise then that the Saudis are both upset and feel hopeless, especially because they would lack veto authority on the Security Council which could have given them a means of dealing with Syria and Iran. Contrary to the incredibly absurd analyses published in the wake of the Saudi refusal, the Saudis are not (1) bad allies who enjoy whining from time to time, (2) attempting to impose the Islamic community (the ummah) worldwide; or (3) trying to cover up their practice of gender inequality. [All of these opinions have appeared in the “respectable” press.]
Posca believes the Saudis mean what they say because (in addition to turning down a place on the Security Council) they have actually done two other important things. First, their intelligence chief Prince Bandar has announced they will sever ties with the CIA in Syria and work instead with the French and British. Now many things can be and have been said of Prince Bandar, but one thing you cannot say with any credence is that he is anti-American. If HE is talking about severing ties with CIA, things are serious.
Second, they have indicated they will begin shopping for weapons away from the US market. This alone is alarming. Those who claim it is the surest proof they are bluffing could not be more wrong. As Posca has noted, the Saudis always pay in cash and they pay top dollar. No doubt other nations are already lining up to sell them heavy armor (Germany, South Africa, Israel), jet fighters (Euro Zone), and artillery (Scandinavia). Hell, it would not surprise Posca to learn the Israelis sold them the Israeli version of AWACS.
Make no mistake; the Middle East is in turmoil. The Iranians are on the cusp of having the bomb, and are terrifying the Gulf Arabs by inviting a pre-emptive strike by the Israelis. The Iraqis and Syrians (who are predominantly Shiite) are lining up in alliance with the Shiite Iranians. The Sunni Saudis and the predominantly Sunni Gulf Arabs are forming an alliance tighter than anything they have had before. Posca suspects the Peninsula Shield force will be expanded and strengthened.
As all of us should know by now, Sunnis and Shiites despise one other with a burning passion and will renew hostilities at the drop of a hat. If the Iranians get the bomb, the Saudis will then get the bomb, and everything is up for grabs as the balance of power readjusts. And if Pakistan is drawn into a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is likely that India will count that as a prime opportunity to finally attack Pakistan in Afghanistan. The Indians are not just a bunch of holy men squatting beside the road.
Obama has created an amazing mess, making Jimmy Carter look like a genuine statesman. The Israelis have been alienated; the Egyptians hate his guts; he screwed up Libya; he has destroyed the US-Saudi relationship; and he has encouraged the Iranians and the Saudis to acquire the bomb. Let us hope that Obama does not attempt to do what he seems to do so easily, come to the conclusion that in order to salvage his pathetic legacy, he must sacrifice even more blood of American service members. Unfortunately, Obama never met a member of the Armed Forces whose life he would not waste.
So, instead of slaughtering more Americans, why don’t we try to mend fences with the Saudis? Why don’t we accept that they mean what they say? After all, no one understands the world-historical significance of Saudi Arabia better than the Saudis. And the Saudis are no doubt speaking for all of the Gulf Arab states as well as Sunnis everywhere.
Perhaps a little American humility is in order. Maybe we should pay attention to ground truth and stop applying silly interpretive templates to the situation. Although there are those who are eager to see the Muslim world in flames, no one benefits from no holds barred nuclear conflict.