Saudi Arabia's Recent Diplomacy Moves and What they Mean

This is the second time in the short recent hsitory of the third millenium that Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight. The first time was September eleventh 2001 when the world woke up to a reality partially created by the discontent of the educated elite of the kingdom toward what they perceived as their kingdom's rulers submissive attitude to the United States. Recently, Saudi Arabia has been displaying active diplomatic efforts in order to appease four major conflicts in the ME :
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict where it contributed to bolster an agreement on a potential national unity government for the Palestinians that can be approved by Israel and the west potentially creating the conditions to lift the sanctions on the present Hamas Palestinian government;
The Lebanese conflict, where it is said that the kingdom has succeeded in promoting a unity government reintegrating the opposition at a level of 11 ministers to 19 from the US backed March 14th movement;
Its own perceived conflict with the rise of Iran as a regional power and the ensuing row this rise has created with the US and Israel;
The Sunni-Shia divide fueled both by the recent rise of Iran's profile in the region amid anti US sentiments among Muslims and Arabs, and by the War on Iraq and the adoption for the Iraqi colonised state of an unjust constitution fueling current sectarian tensions in the presence of more than 150 000 US soldiers watching and participating in this sectarian conflict;

Behind the curtains, Saudi Arabia has been active also promoting friendly relations between the kingdom and Israel.

How are we to interpret all this ? We can interpret all this in light of Saudi Arabia's willingness to differentiate itself from USrael's policies in the ME. Because on all four accounts, the Palestinian problem, the Lebanese problem, the Iranian problem and the Iraqi problem, the present attitude of the US is not gearing toward conciliation. Usrael has signalled that it might not accept a unity government between Fatah and Hamas. Bush and Rice, after recently inviting Iran and Syria to talks on the security in Iraq rushed to signal to their puppet Lebanese government of Fouad Sanyura, supported for its open hostility to Syria, that nothing will change in the Bush administration support for the present government. This might suggest that Sanyura will not feel pressured to form a unity government as long as the Bush administration want to have its say, despite Saudi mediation.
On the Iranian issue, the US has clearly worked toward pressuring the members of the UN security council for more restrictive financial and economic sanctions at the same time it was inviting Iran for talks on the security in Iraq.
On the Iraqi front, the Iraqi parliament has just approved the new law to privatise Iraqi oil despite a public outcry from the main oil workers union accusing the Iraqi government of giving away the country's main revenue at a time the people of Iraq badly need this revenue. The law perpetuates the new sectarian unequalities while depriving the country from an essential resource and plunging it more into poverty making the continuation of the present sectarian wars more likely, with the addition of new ones threatening Iran, Syria and Turkey, coming from what the western press is hypocritically calling 'The Kurdish Rebellion'*, instead of attributing to this western friendly movement the etiquette of terrorism attributed routinely to resistance or rebellious movements non friendly to the West. Morever, the whole Iraq war is starting to appear more and more as a prerun to a war against Iran and I stated this on two occasions on this blog.

As Alain Gresh, from le Monde Diplomatique writes, the results of recent Saudi Arabia efforts to calm things down in the ME depend on one simple fact: How much Saudi Arabia is independant from the US, and by implication, from Irsael ? The answer is: Not Much. Giving that Israel has been thriving on the sectarian divisions that are current now in the Middle East and has been hoping for a Sunni-Shia war spreading to the entire region, and even working on those divisions, I can sadly state, and I am not bound like regular journalists and official commentators of the ME by a deep respect for the rulers of the Saudi kingdom, that, unless the US is genuine in its move to engage in the stabilisation of Iraq and the ME, the recent moves of the kingdom can retrospectively be seen only as cosmetic with the goal to salvage the ever deteriorating image of Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Muslim public opinions. Everybody knows that the history of the kingdom is one of total interdependance on western powers. It started just after the UK sponsored Arab victory on the Ottomans with the help of Lawrence of Arabia granting the Hijazi king Fayçal family the rule over Syria, Iraq and Jordan in exchange for his approval of the Balfour declaration creating a zionist state in Palestine. It continued with the US-Saudi secret wars against the communists in the ME and culminating with the partnership in the war against the Russians in Afghanistan, and continue to this day creating an interdependance of the Saudi regime and western powers which is becoming more and more in favor of the interests of the US, especially after the events of 9/11, and less and less in favor of the Saudi regime. Because the destabilisation of the entire Middle East is becoming, not only detrimental, but suicidal to the Saudi regime.
AhmadiNejad knows all this. If he didn't, you wouldn't see him smiling, hand in hand with the Saudi king...

*'Avec les rebelles kurdes à Qandil', Le Monde 02.03.07, Cécile Hennion
Turcs, Iraniens ou Syriens, des milliers de combattants kurdes campent dans les montagnes du Kurdistan irakien, au grand dam de Téhéran et d'Ankara. Les Américains disent ne pas les aider.


N. said...

Great post. And I agree with you that the recent moves of the kingdom can retrospectively be seen only as cosmetic with the goal to salvage the ever deteriorating image of Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Muslim public opinions.

Wonder how his father would have conducted all these intricacies!

Sophia said...


He is seen as a reformer !

Since March 29th 2006