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Thread: Saudi Arabia is unhappy. So what?

  1. #16
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post
    The Saudi's are angry that the US isn't fully supporting the Kingdom's mercenary forces in Syria who also love to kill Americans.
    Yeah, the Saudis are embarassed and playing hardball. Witness their recent tantrum over refusing a seat on the UNSC when their turn came up. The Saudis have been quiet for over a decade and have decided to assert themselves now.

    They're also exploiting present differences between the US & Egypt. Where does US policy on Egypt go from here. Depends how the road map works out. 9 months its supposed to take, which will take up to next March end. US has given Egypt $76 billion since camp David, which has mostly gone to the army with the Egyptian people seeing little of it. Yet, when Hagel was in Cairo it was not enough to control the Egyptian army from cracking down on the islamists. Where was US leverage there.

    I think shutting down suez is extreme, Egypt has interests in maintaining camp david and its relations with the US. Of late, they just seem to be little more uncertain as to their role wrt the US. Maybe its the Gulf money that's confusing them. Initially i thought the $12 billion infusion from the KSA, UAE & Kuwait would help keep the economy from collapsing, but i see it now as prolonging the status quo. Had the egyptian economy collapsed, it would have led to the IMF getting involved and restructuring things. This is what turned India around, we dusted off an IMF report and implemented it. There was no credible opposition. However, the Egyptian army having a hand in the economy would want to put this off for as long as possible, with gulf money.


    Quote Originally Posted by Minskaya View Post
    Edit: They are also angry that Saudi women will protest today by getting behind the wheel and driving. The Kingdom has promised punishment to those women that do so.
    heh, it will happen soon, women will drive in KSA, its becoming too impractical for male members to escort women to work. The threats will be made and things will settle down.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 30 Oct 13, at 18:35.

  2. #17
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anil View Post
    The americans can't switch sides from sunni to shia due to geopolitics and the saudis cannot ally with the russians due to ideological reasons. The sides are clear as black and white. Maybe the saudis were expecting a lot?
    US does not have to switch sides. As a contingency, US needs to be on talking terms with the Iranians in case things in afghanistan go the wrong way.

  3. #18
    Military Enthusiast Senior Contributor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The KSA is pissed because they can't play the Americans anymore.
    And you claimed that Obama bowed before the Saudis. Who do you think was responsible for the change of the relationship?

  4. #19
    Officer of Engineers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    And you claimed that Obama bowed before the Saudis. Who do you think was responsible for the change of the relationship?
    The Syrians.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The Syrians.
    Nope that is too superficial. There were other things. Such as the Egypt uprising and Bahrain intervention.
    Last edited by Blademaster; 30 Oct 13, at 17:23.

  6. #21
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    Hi all, I'm new to this forum! As the US turns away from the Middle East and focus more on the Asia-Pacific region, Saudi Arabia will increasingly have to look towards regional politics to maintain its interests.

    It is clear that Saudi Arabia sees regional politics as the only game to secure its interests, particularly as it now fears an Iran-US agreement.
    World Review | Saudi Arabia takes stand in Egypt's politics

    There was also a great article in the Financial Times which you may find interesting: 'End Western Deference to Saudi Petrodollars' (paywall):
    The Saudi royals’ frustration with Mr Obama is in part justified. But if they want to retreat into full-throated Wahhabism and pursue a reactionary and sectarian agenda turbocharged by petrodollars, then this is perhaps a good moment for the west to review this relationship.
    End western deference to Saudi petrodollars - FT.com

  7. #22
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Gulf Diplomacy in a Shifting Middle East: Continuity, Change, and Implications for the United States | Carnegie | Oct 24 2013

    Recommend people either read the transcript or listen to this talk to understand the rift in relations between the US & the GCC as well as the challenges faced by the GCC over the last few years. By GCC it needs to be emphasised that the countries going through a crisis of perceptions are primarily, KSA, Kuwait & Bahrain. Qatar isn't in that boat and does not face the same existential questions. Qatar follows a hedging strategy which seems to serve them better than the bandwagoning KSA followed. The UAE is a little closer to Qatar in this aspect than the others.

    Qatar's emir decided as early as '95 to get out from under the Saudi shadow. They were trapped between a rock and a hard place, troublesome Saudi's on the one hand and unpredictable Iran on the other. They moved into hyper-active diplomacy, invited a number of american universities to set up shop and went on an investment spree. Al-Jazeera was their PR arm and dominated the airwaves. What drove Qatar at the outset was a survival instinct and twenty years later has transformed them into an agent for change with influence. Where the other GCC members see problems, Qatar sees opportunity. They talk to everybody, almost.

    US - KSA relationship has faced ups & downs over the decades. Israel-arab conflict & 9/11 were arguably more challenging than the present rift, whose main driver is Syria. US & KSA will have to agree to disagree on that one. Very little common ground to work with.

    KSA's grievances have been building up over the years wrt to Iran. They tried to influence elections in Lebanon in 2005 & 2009 only to lose to Hezbollah. They tried to fix the rift between Hamas & Fatah in 2007 with little success. Iran won that too though the Iran Hamas link has since weakened as a result of Syria. They tried in 2010 in Iraq only to lose again. US agreed with Maliki's election and they had to put up with it. Consequently, they don't think much about democracy. Slow & gradual changes are better than wholesale overnight turns.

    KSA is usually the second partner with Egypt leading, but Egypt has had to withdraw pushing KSA into the limelight, due to the Arab spring. Then Bahrain happened and it was reported that KSA saw an Iranian hand but its also equally important that they see the upholding of monarchies in the same light. So they moved in to bolster the monarchy in Bahrain.

    They were disappointed to see the US agree with the stepping down of Mubarak & the Tunisian leader. They saw this as the US not standing by long time allies. Then Syria happens and the US decides not to do much. They feel let down and abandoned. Now there is talk of resolving the Iran issue and they see the walls closing in. The more far fetched scenario is the US is in some grand brargain to turn over the security of the gulf to Iran. This is unlikely. US will not allow any other player to dominate the gulf for a long time to come.

    KSA's weaker position wrt to Iran and their reliance on the US leads them into a entrapment/abandoment complex. If a war breaks out with Iran they will be entrapped in it or if relations improve between the US & Iran then they will feel abandoned. Western Europe went through similar wrt to US & the Soviets.

  8. #23
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    heh, it will happen soon, women will drive in KSA, its becoming too impractical for male members to escort women to work. The threats will be made and things will settle down.
    Five years later....

    Saudi Arabia: King Salman orders driving licenses for women | Al Arabiya | Sept 26 2017

    Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a historic royal decree granting driving licenses for women in the kingdom as of next June.

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