Likelihood of Success

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Our ugly friends, the Saudis

Posted by Ron Coleman on November 18, 2007

What does a small-c-conservative Jew do with the Saudis?

Their latest exercise (or perhaps merely their latest one to draw worldwide attention) in medieval brutality, in which a female rape victim has been “sentenced” for her “crime” (see here for a more precise explanation of what really happened) is already well known on the Web. This regime is not ready for prime time, from the civilization point of view.

Where does that leave us?

Time out, here: By “us” I mean conservatives. And by conservatives, I mean conservatives who are sympathetic to the desire of Jewish inhabitants of the State of Israel not to be murdered. I thus read out of the movement antisemitic paleoconservatives such as Patrick Buchanan; yet I am not a neoconservative or even a Zionist either — just a politically conservative Jew who observes that conservatives are the best political friends of Jews in this country and in Israel.

Now, I find the most strident anti-Saudi voices are not Jewish, or Israeli. This is despite the fact that most of those voices, such as that of my friend Mary Madigan, are fabulously pro-Israel. Many neoconservatives, such as Daniel Pipes, sing much the same tune, and other conservatives, such as Ivan Eland of the Cato Institute, urge only a nominally more “balanced” approach that focuses entirely on the Kingdom’s tyrannical nature — the criticism of neocons being not their blindness to the strategic value of the Saudi relationship but rather their supposed oversensitivity on the importance of oil prices.

The United States should take a middle ground between the confrontational approach championed by neoconservatives and the Bush administration’s policy of appeasing the Saudi regime. The Saudi government is a medieval, despotic regime with an abysmal human rights record on a par with Iraq’s. The United States should withdraw political support from the regime and withdraw the U.S. military forces stationed on Saudi territory. The United States should not pull any diplomatic punches in pressuring the Saudi monarchy on its poor human rights record, its programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and its indirect support for terrorism.

Essentially, like the authoritarian “rogue states” (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Cuba and North Korea), Saudi Arabia should be treated with suspicion, not friendship. At the same time, it should not be targeted for U.S. military attacks unless it is found directly culpable in sponsoring a terrorist attack against a U.S. target.

Putting Saudi Arabia essentially along the Axis of Evil is not a “middle ground,” however, if there is to be any hope of the relationship yielding strategic advantage for the U.S. By and large, conservative opinion in this country wants the Bush Administration to be tougher on the Saudis; and, contrary to what would be predicted by left wing and nativist fantasies about the “Zionist lobby,” this consensus by and large ignores what the primary victims of Islamist terrorism thing about Saudi Arabia’s role in the game: The Israelis, who recognize that Saudi Arabia is probably their last, best hope for a major Arab power that could broker some version of a Mideast “arrangement” that could perhaps give Israel decades more time to wait out some form of evolution in the Arab world away from violence and toward what we in the west regard as civilization — Israeli’s only long-term hope for survival from external threats.

There is no question that, as much as anyone else, the Saudis — by promoting the extremist Wahabi version of Islam — have done more to inflame Muslims to murderous violence than any other group, governmental or otherwise. But it is an error to conflate “the Saudis” into one homogeneous entity with only one agenda, except to the extent that that agenda is the maintenance of their continued power and influence. That bullet point on their “to do” list remains a key one, and that is why it is all but official Saudi policy that the State of Israel is a political and historical reality. That’s why the Israelis were ahead of many of their strongest supporters, who instinctively reject American military support of the Kingdom, and explicitly stated their support of a major U.S. arms sale to the Saudis last summer.

Saudi Arabia is a terrible place to live, but virtually none of us live there. Unlike Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, it is neither warlike in the traditional sense nor genocidal. What it once had in common with Saddam, its support of international terrorism, is clearly a policy that is changing. That does not mean we can expect the House of Saud to hand over its own members who have been supporting, and undoubtedly continue to support, our worst terrorist enemies, but it does mean that, unlike Saddam, there is a toehold of influence that the U.S. has over that process. What other powerful friends — with, or without scare quotes — does the U.S. have in the Arab Mideast?

Cross-posted on Right Wing News.

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3 Responses to “Our ugly friends, the Saudis”

  1. mary said

    The Israelis, who recognize that Saudi Arabia is probably their last, best hope for a major Arab power that could broker some version of a Mideast “arrangement” that could perhaps give Israel decades more time to wait out some form of evolution in the Arab world away from violence and toward what we in the west regard as civilization — Israeli’s only long-term hope for survival from external threats.

    According to John Loftus’ recent book, the Saudis worked with Hitler, Jack Philby, Dulles and Hitler to wage war against the Jews:

    The modern world begins, the authors suggest, at the end of World War I, when British diplomat/adventurers Jack Philby (father of Soviet spy Kim Philby and legendary Arabist) and Lawrence of Arabia endeavour to unify a bunch of warring Bedouin tribes into nationhood, best represented by Saudi Arabia. Aware that black gold (oil) lies underneath the desert sands, Philby gingerly befriends Ibn Saud, and makes him the first Saudi king. But Philby is not solely interested in empire, even his own British one; he is interested in making money, and forges an alliance with an American intelligence agent in charge of Middle Eastern affairs, Allen Dulles.

    By the 1930s, Ibn Saud and Philby are secret supporters of the Nazi rise to political power in Germany, and bring Dulles, a NYC-based corporate lawyer for Sullivan and Cromwell, in on their scheme. It is a triple game driven by their hatred of Zionism and the Jews, motivated by their obsessive seeking of profits, and designed to completely transform the landscape of the Middle East. Philby and Dulles convince Ibn Saud to allow limited Jewish immigration to Palestine, assuring him that the numbers will never challenge or upset his control. When Jews leave Germany, their assets are confiscated by Hitler, who shares a percentage of these with dummy corporations established by Philby, Dulles, and their allies. Some of this money is used to arm Ibn Saud, and intelligence disclosures to him by Philby enable Ibn Saud to become king of Saudi Arabia over other Arab leaders supported by the British government. This double-dealing by British and American corporations continues throughout World War II, and incredibly is never halted by the Western allies, who would rather that Dulles stay in place andround up German intelligence agents after World War II’s end for the upcoming Cold War against a previous ally, the USSR. One of the reasons that Jews are so hated by this clique, which includes Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, is that many Jews were supporters of the left, anathema to corporate internationalists.”

    I’m not sure how reliable Loftus is, but his portrayal of Philby and his motives rings true.

    According to most sources, Philby taught the Sauds how to make themselves useful to the Americans and the Brits. The Sauds learned to stir up trouble, then they fixed the trouble, proving their worth as allies.

    So now the Saudis fund Hamas, then they offer to help America and Israel with the ‘peace process’. The Saudis aren’t the solution to many problems in the Middle East, they’re the cause of them.

  2. The Saudis are clearly one of the worst regimes on the planet. The fact that they have gone this long without the scorn and furry from both the right and the left is beyond me.

    I pray for the day that oil will not matter, and we can do away with these barbarians as we should.

  3. Have we become a victim of Israel insecurity among Arabs going back over two thousands year?
    Have we replaced the Persian protection of Israel with our American might? Have we been an Israeli proxy by invading Iraq? Why Israeli Lobby urging the United States to invade Iran?

    We spend our precious tax money to bribe the regional nations by giving them “foreign aids”, please spare me! We arm these nations, all of them. Some of the same arms have been use to kill our people. Except for Iran, not a single American has been killed by Iranian people.

    Should we spend our money and expertise in our hemisphere rather than 7500 miles from home? Our national interests must be our first imperative. If you would travel in out of places, for example, in Southern Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, etc. you see population in dire needs, poverty similar to poverty in third world nations. If you would travel to most regions in Mexico, our neighbor to the south, you see abject poverty.

    Should we spend our national resources in these areas, rather than as bribe money to some ungrateful nations? Charity starts at home, our own USA, then to the nearest neighbor Mexico.

    I’d love to travel to those places, Saint, but I’m out of gas. — RDC

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