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Saudi’s Threats Against US Ring Hollow – OpEd

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By Seyyed Mohiyeddin Sajedi

On the verge of raising the proposal of the recognition of Palestine at the United Nations, the Saudi Arabia government has warned Washington that in the case of a US veto of this bid, it would terminate its partnership with the US on sensitive regional issues, like Afghanistan, anti-terrorism campaigns, and that it would also abstain from sending an ambassador to Iraq.

The threat is unprecedented in kind and points to issues which are also vital for the well-being of Saudi Arabia itself, forbidding Riyadh to relent or soften on the matters. This very fact throws a massive question mark over the seriousness of these threats.

The Saudi state hasn’t officially issued these threats. Not even the Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal himself has made any mention of the issue; it was rather his brother who published an article in a US newspaper and interspersed these massive threats in its midst. Though one can’t deny that the very publication of the article bears a message from the Saudi regime, there are doubts galore that this government would succeed in casting aside its slavish following of US policies and in supporting the Palestinian nation go so far as to jeopardize the very existence of its own regime.

The Saudi government now constitutes the frontline of the opposition to the Arab revolutions. This government still doesn’t see its own people and other countries as being worthy of democracy, elections, and parliaments. All Riyadh efforts are focused on sustaining the status quo and preventing change in Arab countries and to avoid the formation of democratically elected regimes. Prior to threatening the US in an unofficial article, the Saudi government had threatened the new Egyptian regime that a Mubarak trial or the restoration of ties with Iran would lead to a halt in investments in Egypt and the withdrawal of Saudi assets from this country.

The Saudi government punishes the nations of the new revolutionary regimes and forestalls the success of revolutions in other Arab countries which are on the brink of regime change.

A browse through the Cairo press reveals that some Salafi groups are asking the families of some 900 Egyptian martyrs to forgo their retribution right for the lives of their children and forgive Mubarak, so that he would spared an execution verdict, in return for receiving money, housing and automobiles. The Salafi groups, in turn, are paid by Saudi Arabia for the costs. These groups have played no role in the Egyptian revolution as they deemed any revolt against the ruler as religiously forbidden. The Saudi efforts to grant refuge to Mubarak or preventing his prosecution have bore no fruits. The new strategy entails penetration into the new political and social structure of Egypt, through the provision of aid to the new Salafi groups.

On the precise day when the people in Cairo attacked the Israeli embassy and drove its ambassador off their land, they also attacked the Saudi embassy and accused its government of seeking revenge of the revolutionary nation of this country through disrespecting the Egyptian pilgrims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

In the case of Bahrain, the Saudi regime entered the fray in person and dispatched its army to clamp down on the public uprisings and sought to derail its path to one of religious divisions between the Sunnis and the Shias. Riyadh enjoys the US backing in this move. Both fear that a triumph of reforms and a change in the situation in Bahrain would lead to change in Saudi Arabia, particularly its eastern regions, which hold the main sources of Saudi oil.

Similarly with Yemen, the Saudi regime struggles to manage the ceiling limit of change. The people in their demonstrations denounce the Saudi and US interference to keep Ali Abdullah Saleh in power. Both are struggling for the power transition to take such a planned course so that it would pose no danger to Riyadh and Washington, that the war with al-Qaeda would continue, and thoughts of change and reforms would not strike the minds of the Saudi people, who are socially close to the Yemeni nation.

The thought of change in the political regimes of Arab countries is a nightmare that has robbed the sleep of the Saudis eyes. Even in the case of Syria, Saudi Arabia only undertook action and cast aside its doubts over wielding pressure on Bashar Assad after the US had persistently raised such a request. Ironically, the Saudi government withdrew its ambassador to Damascus under the pretext that the Syrian leaders are neglectful of democracy, while it itself doesn’t have the slightest regard for democracy.

The Saudi and Qatari governments exploit their financial reservoir to dominate the Arab League and to wield it at the service of their regional policies. Normally, any pressure on Syria by the Arab League is initially fashioned in Riyadh and Doha and is then ratified by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council for it to be subsequently dispatched to Cairo, the Arab League headquarters.

As regards Tunisia, granting sanctuary to the toppled dictator has enraged the people of this country. The new regime of Tunisia has officially requested Saudi Arabia to hand over Zein El-Abedin Ben Ali. According to state sources in Tunisia, Riyadh doesn’t even observe the diplomatic relations with this country; the reason being that the Tunisian government took every one, including Saudi Arabia, by surprise and the Saudi government has no plans for interaction with the new situation in Tunisia.

Saudi Arabia is losing the people in Arab countries. The sole remaining place left for the political maneuvering of Riyadh is the Palestine case. Riyadh is the innovator of the Arab plan for peace with Israel in return for its full retreat from the Arab occupied lands in 1967. Neither the US nor Israel have endorsed this plan and one is hard-pressed to find any support for it among the Palestinian people either.

Saudi Arabia cannot sever its ties with the US in Afghanistan and the al-Qaeda case, because it is itself grappling with the problems ensuing from this self-grown organization. Withholding the dispatch of an ambassador to Iraq will not cause any concerns over the future of Iraq either.

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