Amid the Arab Spring, Obama's Dilemma over Saudi Arabia

(Washington Post) Martin Indyk - The ailing 87-year-old king of Saudi Arabia probably isn't getting much sleep. Abdullah can see the flames of instability and turmoil licking at all his borders. In the south, Yemen is imploding, to the advantage of his al-Qaeda enemies. In the east, Abdullah has already sent armed forces to Bahrain to prevent Iran from establishing a "cat's paw" on the Sunni Arab side of the Persian Gulf. In the north, Abdullah sees Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as nothing more than a front for the hated Persians. In the west, a Palestinian majority is demanding that the Hashemite king of Jordan become a constitutional monarch. Meanwhile, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, that other Sunni pillar of regional stability, has already been overthrown. Historically, in times of trouble, Saudi kings have depended on American presidents to guarantee their external security. But at this moment, Abdullah views President Obama as a threat to his internal security. He fears that in the event of a widespread revolt, Obama will demand that he leave office, just as he did to Mubarak. Consequently, Abdullah is reportedly making arrangements for Pakistani troops to enter his kingdom should the need to suppress popular demonstrations arise. The writer is vice president and director of the Brookings Institution's foreign policy program.

2011-04-08 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive