Saudi Arabia-US: Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats the kingdom will make a “major shift” in its relations with the United States, according to an unidentified source close to Saudi policy on 22 October.
Prince Bandar said the US had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011.
Prince Bandar also that he plans to limit interaction with the US. “Relations with the US have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the U.S. is growing closer with Iran and the U.S. also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising,” according to the source. Bandar reportedly said there would be no further coordination with the United States over the fighting in Syria.
Comment: The information comes from an unidentified source, but appears consistent with Saudi Arabia’s reasons for refusing to accept a seat on the UN Security Council as a rotating member. That suggests it is an official leak. In announcing this action, the Saudi attitudes towards the US resembles the Iranian hardline clerics who said this week that if the US is encouraged by Iranian diplomacy then the diplomacy is wrong.
Saudi Arabian leaders have been quietly but sternly critical of multiple recent US actions in the Middle East, especially the installation of a Shiite-led government in Baghdad through elections. They have not broken openly with the US.
This is a serious policy setback because it spotlights that Saudi and US interests are not congruent on the four or five top issues driving instability in the Middle East. In addition, the leaders define the end states of current initiatives differently.
This is particularly true with respect to Iran’s nuclear program in that the US is relaxing its longstanding policy position that Iran must halt uranium enrichment. The US appears to be moving to a containment strategy, which it has rejected consistently and as recently as last summer. President Ruhani’s election and change of style not substance marks the turning point.
With respect to Syria, Saudi officials seem similar backsliding in the US agreement with Russia to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Although the US Secretary of State insists President Asad must go, the agreement absolutely depends on the continuation of the Baathist government in Damascus. The US treats Syrian issues as separate from Iranian nuclear issues. The Saudis perceive them as inseparable.
These are not just policy differences. They are world view differences. They will not be bridged easily, if the Saudis are serious about a public breach with the US.
Phi Beta Iota: The world is now at least tri-polar but closer to an octagon– (1) US-UK-AU, (2) EU, (3) BRICS/RIC, (4) Sunnis with Attitude (SA-QA-PK), (5) Shias with Patience (IR+++), (6) The South (CELAC & African Union), (7) Nordics + NL & SG, and (8) Seccessionists Fed Up with Corrupt Governments (5,000 movements). There is no excusing the Cold War depravities of the West — inclusive of its military and financial and cultural terrorism (in view of those most affected), but at the same time, we are long overdue for migrating away from war that enriches the few to peace that enriches all. The Saudis–and their buddies the Zionists–represent a form of evil that is startling in its potential for war crimes, perhaps not equal to the quantity the US has achieved, but capable of sinking to depths of depravity unimaginable in the West. 2014 is the beginning of World War III — a much more complex war in which non-kinectic means including the ability to create a Smart Nation — will be vastly more important that the armadas of the 16th through the 21st centuries.
Charles Allen, God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad (Da Capo Press, 2007)
Robert David Steele, INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainabilty (Earth Intelligence Network, 2010)