Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saudis Go Wild

Earlier I wrote that Iran calculated that either the Saudis, Egypt or Jordan would flip and join the anti-American grouping.

The Saudis are now officially outside of the pro-US regional axis.

When the Saudis pressured Abbas to give in to Hamas on forming a unity government without Hamas making the concessions the US wanted, I thought that was a clear step away from US influence but not yet conclusive.

When the Saudi King held hands with Ahmadinejad at the airport in Riyadh, I chuckled to myself about how much has been made about supposed secret meetings between Olmert and some unnamed Saudi royal - that the Saudi deny, and how much less is made about the King of Saudi Arabia taking pictures with Ahmadinejad on a state visit. But still not conclusive.

Yesterday the Saudis both invited Iran to the Arab league and called the US occupation of Iraq illegitimate. Clear step but not yet conclusive.

Today I read:

Saudi Arabia endorses Iran's AL observer membership

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has voiced his country's support for approving Iran's request for observer status in the Arab League.

Faisal made the remark Thursday in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Manuchehr Mottaki on the sidelines of an Arab summit in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where the two sides discussed the latest developments in the region and the Islamic world.

"Given the importance and key role of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in order to further strengthen cooperation between Tehran and the Arab League, we voice our full support for Iran's membership in the League with observer status," he said.

That's it. The Saudis are no longer a US ally in the Middle East.

I still don't like the Saudis. I still wish they would hold elections and be representative of the wishes of their people. On the other hand, I'm sure cutting the US off aligns Saudi foreign policy closer to what it would be under a democracy.


Waleed said...

To say that "The Saudis are now officially outside of the pro-US regional axis"...seems to suggest a very narrow (impossible) view of pro-US alignment and little historical perspective. The Saudis are not client states or puppets…to some degree, in a longer view, the expansion of regional Saudi influence helps maintain US power in the region, as it did in the 1970s even throughout the oil boycott. Yes, maybe in the short run they might not always be following the Washington script, but an ally who does loses much regional credibility and can’t do much to serve broader regional US interests, such as containing Iran.

Arnold Evans said...

Saudi Arabia is certainly warmer towards Iran than it was two years ago.

I'm not sure the Saudis are on board containing Iran today - certainly they are not to the degree the US would like.

The Saudis are not the most hostile power in the region but I am no longer comfortable grouping Saudi Arabia with Jordan and Egypt as dependable US allies.

Neither Jordan or Egypt would have helped Hamas form a unity government without recognizing Israel, for example.