Saudi Arabia on the Brink

(National Interest) Bruce Riedel - Relations between Riyadh and Washington have deteriorated sharply as the Saudis have lost faith in American commitments to stand by their friends. The House of Saud is very nervous that revolution is contagious. By intervening forcefully in Bahrain, the Saudis have now more or less taken control of the island's future. Now they are the power behind the throne. This sends a clear signal to the two Shia powers in the Gulf, Iran and Iraq, not to interfere in the business of the peninsula. It also sent a clear signal to Obama not to support reform in the kingdom's backyard. The Saudi leadership also believes they have seen this American movie before. Jimmy Carter threw the Shah under the bus in 1978 and we got the Islamic Republic of Iran. George Bush toppled Saddam in 2003 and we got a Shia government in Iraq. So the princes are circling the wagons and telling their fellow monarchs in the Gulf and King Abdallah in Jordan to do the same. Prince Bandar, former ambassador in Washington, reportedly visited Islamabad late last month to ask the Pakistanis for troops to help ensure internal stability in the kingdom and the Gulf States if needed.

2011-04-08 00:00:00

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