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 This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel

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PostSubject: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:10 pm

Richard Dreyfuss (not the actor) has quoted a former Saudi ambassador to Britain and the UK as saying that the US has left a horrible legacy in the Middle East and that if there is any further slaughter of Palestinians the Arab countries are likely to unite against Israel. This is really explosive - wonder if it will mark a turning point in the bizarrely pro-Israel stance of the US:

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/401599/gaza_war_pushes_arabs_to_the_brink?rel=hp_currently


Last edited by Aragon on Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:26 pm

Turk al-Faisal is making a big statement by coming out in the FT - or is it bluster? Is this type of thing unprecedented for the Saudis?

Quote :
Saudi patience is running out
By Turki al-Faisal

Financial Times

Published: January 22 2009 20:15 | Last updated: January 22 2009 20:15

In my decades as a public servant, I have strongly promoted the Arab-Israeli peace process. During recent months, I argued that the peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia could be implemented under an Obama administration if the Israelis and Palestinians both accepted difficult compromises. I told my audiences this was worth the energies of the incoming administration for, as the late Indian diplomat Vijaya Lakshmi Nehru Pandit said: “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.”

But after Israel launched its bloody attack on Gaza, these pleas for optimism and co-operation now seem a distant memory. In the past weeks, not only have the Israeli Defence Forces murdered more than 1,000 Palestinians, but they have come close to killing the prospect of peace itself. Unless the new US administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the US-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:33 pm

The Saudis are essentially a US client state.

This needs some looking at. One very big factor has to be that the stability of all these fat cat Arab regimes was rocked by the depth of anger shown in mass demonstrations across the Arab world, which cut across all the divisions between Shia, Sunni and secular.

The US has said in the past that it would view any move to withhold oil, or to trade oil without using the petrodollar, as an act of war. Will Obama have a different view?
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:38 pm

It is a significant card to play in the current situation but the Saui position is not unheard of previously. Saudi Arabia, whilst in recent times always remaning an ally of the USA has not always been a happy one. For a start the Americans were fairly peeved that the Saudis were dropping cash to Al-Qeada and also the Saudis have shown their annoyance with the Americans on multiple occasions in the past. In 2001 the WSJ reported that Crown Prince Abdullah wrote the following to George Bush:
Quote :
A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It
is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their
separate interests. Those governments that don't feel the pulse of
their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.
Despite that not alot has actually changed in US-Saudi relationships so I think it would be premature to presume that they will this time.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:02 pm

cactus flower wrote:
The Saudis are essentially a US client state.

This needs some looking at. One very big factor has to be that the stability of all these fat cat Arab regimes was rocked by the depth of anger shown in mass demonstrations across the Arab world, which cut across all the divisions between Shia, Sunni and secular.

The US has said in the past that it would view any move to withhold oil, or to trade oil without using the petrodollar, as an act of war. Will Obama have a different view?

Indeed he is playing to the gallery, this statement is for domestic consumption. Was in Algeria over the new year and sentiment regarding Israel and the USA could not be any lower!
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:07 pm

johnfás wrote:
It is a significant card to play in the current situation but the Saui position is not unheard of previously. Saudi Arabia, whilst in recent times always remaning an ally of the USA has not always been a happy one. For a start the Americans were fairly peeved that the Saudis were dropping cash to Al-Qeada and also the Saudis have shown their annoyance with the Americans on multiple occasions in the past. In 2001 the WSJ reported that Crown Prince Abdullah wrote the following to George Bush:
Quote :
A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It
is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their
separate interests. Those governments that don't feel the pulse of
their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.
Despite that not alot has actually changed in US-Saudi relationships so I think it would be premature to presume that they will this time.

Well, I wouldn't be too sure of that in view of the US's involvement with Al Quaida.

They are just feeling the pulse of their people, and also the weakness of the US economy and their own.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:22 pm

What's significant about this statement according to ME observers is that it has been made in public and is so strongly worded. In the past Saudi's public pronouncements on such matters have been weakish - with the cross stuff more or less kept private. They have seldom if ever in the hisotry of their 'special relationship' inlcuded outright condemnation apparently. Such statements affect stock markets and trading of all sorts and Saudi is very conscious of all that.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:14 pm

Comment from a Saudi-watch blog:

Quote :
Some might say, ‘Well, if the Saudis don’t want the relationship, let them walk away… good riddance!’ That, while popular with some sectors of US society, is particularly dumb. The Saudis have already said that they will not use oil as a ‘weapon’, i.e., no repetition of the 1973 boycott. That does not mean that they will continue to offer preferential prices to the US for oil. Nor does it mean that Saudi Arabia cannot make life difficult for the US government. Simply by refusing to grant the US military permission to overfly the country, the Kingdom can wreak havoc for US military planners with concerns east of Suez. It could stop being the piggy bank to which the US government goes to find funding for international aid programs for which there is nothing in the US budget. It could stop buying Boeing or Sikorsky or General Electric weapons and weapon systems and instead buy from Europe, Russia, or China. Rather than voting with the US in international fora, it could simply vote ‘present’.

There are many ways in which the US-Saudi relationship can be harmed, all short of war. The question is whether the US government thinks the Saudis are bluffing. I think not. Having offered warning seven years ago, only to see promises made and then frittered away, I think they are serious. I think, as well, that the US government mostly understands this. As a result, pressure will be put on Israel to make changes in its traditional demands, though pressure will be applied to the rejectionist Arab states and groups as well.
It’s not the showdown at the OK Corral just yet, but warning flags

http://xrdarabia.org/2009/01/26/prince-turki-al-faisal-on-us-saudi-relations/

The blogger is anonymous and has experience of the ME. He writes from a pro US perspective but goes further than many US observers in trying to understand the Saudi perspective. From his 'About':

Quote :
I’m a former US foreign service officer who has had two tours in Saudi Arabia, 1981-83, 2001-03. I’ve had the chance to see the country with my own eyes and to meet with a wide variety of Saudis. I read and speak Arabic and have spent the bulk of my career in the Middle East, with assignments in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain in addition to those in the KSA. I’ve also had assignments in London and New Delhi, as well as Washington.

http://xrdarabia.org/about/

Very useful blog imo, though not sympathetic to his outlook in many respects, sill a LOT of information there.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:39 pm

One of the under-appreciated factors here, though, is the US is not particularly dependent on Middle Eastern oil - it provided in 2001 only about 28% of all US oil imports.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:46 pm

Obama's interview on Al Arabiya - in two parts. NB, the interview repeats the first few minutes during the first segment, but persevere and ye shall be rewarded. (Second part is on the menu in right hand column).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO_lLttxxrs&feature=related
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:58 pm

ibis wrote:
One of the under-appreciated factors here, though, is the US is not particularly dependent on Middle Eastern oil - it provided in 2001 only about 28% of all US oil imports.

Whilst this is very true, the Saudi's control OPEC and can still control the price at which the US buys its oil. I don't think this is the stick that the Saudis are shaking mind you. There's a lot of Saudi money tied up in US corporations and business. If the Saudi's wanted to, they could ensure that a lot of powerful people left their places of employment, via top story windows. The Saudis were a lot more visible before 9/11, they're more covert these days and possibly all the more dangerous for it.

Also, I think it's a piss or get off the pot moment for the Saudi royals. For decades they've been seen to be walking hand in hand with the US while the Middle East experienced excruciating suffering. The royals have been talking tough for the last couple of years, but many are beginning to point to them as armchair warriors. That's a very dangerous position to be in, when you're seen to rule only by the fear that you can exert.

The Iranians are playing a sly game here too. Not since the crusades have we seen anything resembling a united arab Middle East. That's some carrot to be tossing at the royals. Combine that with the religious overtones that it prompts and we'll have an interesting show over the next few months. This is not only about Gaza and will have profound implications for Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and Afghanistan too.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:07 pm

ibis wrote:
One of the under-appreciated factors here, though, is the US is not particularly dependent on Middle Eastern oil - it provided in 2001 only about 28% of all US oil imports.

28% is huge - but it's not just oil - the money that the US makes out of the ME (The Saudis esp) goes well beyond that. They buy trillions of dollars worth of arms alone.


Maybe worth thinking about this from the blog again - and bearing in mind that is only the potential economic damage which one ME country could inflict:

Quote :
The Saudis have already said that they will not use oil as a ‘weapon’, i.e., no repetition of the 1973 boycott. That does not mean that they will continue to offer preferential prices to the US for oil. Nor does it mean that Saudi Arabia cannot make life difficult for the US government. Simply by refusing to grant the US military permission to overfly the country, the Kingdom can wreak havoc for US military planners with concerns east of Suez. It could stop being the piggy bank to which the US government goes to find funding for international aid programs for which there is nothing in the US budget. It could stop buying Boeing or Sikorsky or General Electric weapons and weapon systems and instead buy from Europe, Russia, or China. Rather than voting with the US in international fora, it could simply vote ‘present’.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:34 am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks off the stage on Thursday at the World Economic Forum after a panel moderator interrupts his speech over his criticism to Israeli President Shimon Peres on Gaza.



Link to story here.

Things are really beginning to get heated.
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:20 am

Is everyone getting cocky because mahmoud achmadinejad has The Bomb?? Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:12 am

Lets not forget the price of Saudi oil and US debt.
US oil companies (and notably Shell recently) have big contracts in the newly privatised Iraqi oil system (which the Iraqi people are opposed to btw) under production sharing agreements which will cost Iraq billions.

However, this means the oil will soon start to flow and this will mean Iraqi oil will no longer be suppressed, decreasing the price and the Saudis' OPEC share of the proceeds from the divided quota of output.

Also, remember that Turkey is a US client state but during the war on Iraq they had the impudence to listen to their own people (what the media call the 'arab street') and not allow the US in.

Unlike Turkey the Saudis own billions of US debt. Traditionally Saudi Arabia paid T-bills sharpish, in a classic protection racket manner, with the proviso that oil stays respectably high. So the US needs to pay the Saudis for their oil so the Saudis can lend the US Treasury billions of dollars by buying up Treasury bills and failing banks.

The US protects the Saudi dictatorship from internal and external enemies and the US gets it's money back from paying for Saudi oil, but maybe this kite is being flown to see the response from everyone's favourite self-appointed global benefactor?
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PostSubject: Re: This is really big news: Saudi is threatening the US if it doesnt change its line on Israel   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:28 am

Pax wrote:
Lets not forget the price of Saudi oil and US debt.
US oil companies (and notably Shell recently) have big contracts in the newly privatised Iraqi oil system (which the Iraqi people are opposed to btw) under production sharing agreements which will cost Iraq billions.

However, this means the oil will soon start to flow and this will mean Iraqi oil will no longer be suppressed, decreasing the price and the Saudis' OPEC share of the proceeds from the divided quota of output.

Also, remember that Turkey is a US client state but during the war on Iraq they had the impudence to listen to their own people (what the media call the 'arab street') and not allow the US in.

Unlike Turkey the Saudis own billions of US debt. Traditionally Saudi Arabia paid T-bills sharpish, in a classic protection racket manner, with the proviso that oil stays respectably high. So the US needs to pay the Saudis for their oil so the Saudis can lend the US Treasury billions of dollars by buying up Treasury bills and failing banks.

The US protects the Saudi dictatorship from internal and external enemies and the US gets it's money back from paying for Saudi oil, but maybe this kite is being flown to see the response from everyone's favourite self-appointed global benefactor?

This whole thing is mad isn't it? Oil at $150 then a few months later at 50 .... the spectre of Peak Oil going around among other possible propaganda. The low price will shag the Arabs who probably have built a few desert cities out of future revenue which hasn't appeared yet. The Russians are feeling it now too.

Putin was quoted in the FT today as saying he wanted to see the end of the monolithic American-based system and to see a multi-polar world instead. He said the time for gloating was over and now was the time to face facts.

The time for gloating is not over yet - give us another few months ffs, Vladimir
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