The US arms deal with Saudi Arabia–first floated publicly in April 2007–is back in the news.
As I noted in an earlier post, the issue of US military aid to Saudi Arabia has traditionally been one of the best ways of distinguishing between Right Zionists, who have historically opposed such aid (as they did during the “AWACS” affair at the start of the Reagan administration) and pro-Saudi Right Arabists who see the aid as crucial, not only for enhancing the US-Saudi alliance but for containing regional Iranian influence.
During the Reagan years, the Israeli government and Right Zionists in the US waged a relentless (losing) battle to thwart military aid to the Saudis.
Today, the Labor-Kadima coalition behind the Olmert government in Israel looks set to give a green light to such aid (in part, no doubt, because Israel will receive its own significant boost in military aid).
Right Zionists appear more skeptical, refusing to endorse Secretary of State Rice’s argument that the primacy of the Iranian threat necessitates a united front with the Saudis.
Recalling a time when the Bush administration appeared to be distancing itself from the Saudi regime, the Jerusalem Post offered up an editorial entitled, “Bush In Retreat.”
The striking thing about the Saudi side of this deal is that it seems to reflect a Bush administration that is not just winding down, but winding backward. Was it not Bush who taught us, as a White House fact sheet put it: “For a half century, America’s primary goal in the Middle East was stability… On 9/11, we realized that years of pursuing stability to promote peace left us with neither. Instead, the lack of freedom made the Middle East an incubator for terrorism. The pre-9/11 status quo was dangerous and unacceptable.”…
Iran is the enemy, but this does not mean that Saudi Arabia is a friend…
It his hard to escape the impression that we are witnessing the return of a “realist” US foreign policy that Bush spent the last six years working to discredit and displace. If Iran is the center of the axis of evil, then Saudi Arabia is the center of the axis of “realism” and the pre-9/11 worship of “stability” as the strategy for safeguarding Western interests.
A New York Sun editorial–entitled, “A Saudi Strategy“–goes even further, demanding a direct confrontation with the Saudis and even recalls the old idea of grabbing the oil-rich Shiite-populated Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Reading over the weekend of the latest contretemps involving the Saudis — whether to sell them $20 billion worth of weapons — we found ourselves retrieving Max Singer’s celebrated op-ed piece calling for independence for the Eastern Province. The piece, one of the most remarked upon we’ve ever run, appeared in the April 26, 2002, number of The New York Sun and advanced a radical proposition….
Mr. Singer argued… for splitting the Eastern Province from the rest of today’s Saudi Arabia — with our help.
Now that is a policy to sink one’s teeth into…
Yet today a weakened government in Israel is acquiescing in such an arms transfer on the grounds that we need to arm the Saudis for a fight with Iran…
[O]ur own view is that the Saudis are more a part of the problem than the solution…
The better strategic line is to support a sustained effort at defeating our enemies in Iraq, work to support democratic, pro-American elements in Iran, and dismantle the Saudi tyranny. Splitting the Eastern Province from the rest of today’s Saudi Arabia would, as a strategic matter, accomplish several aims. Those living there, the liberal open-minded merchant communities who have worked with Americans for decades as well as the oppressed Shiites would welcome a liberation and support it. Among other things, an independent Eastern province could curtain the corruption of the Al Sauds, and it would defund the Wahabi movement.
Within the Bush administration, Right Zionist figures like Cheney Middle East adviser David Wurmser also once endorsed the plan to “liberate” the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. But Wurmser is, apparently, on his way out and most of the public grumbling about the Saudi plan comes from Dem Zionists in Congress like Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler.
The White House may have circulated the idea (first, in a New York Times Op-Ed by Zalmay Khalilzad and then picked up by New York Times writer Helene Cooper) that it was frustrated with the Saudis. But this was little more than a somewhat desperate bid to leverage some cooperation from Saudi King Abdullah–on Iraq and Iran–in exchange for the military aid package.
The New York Sun is skeptical of the Saudi deal, in part because it has reluctantly concluded that “neither America nor Israel appears prepared to lead… a fight [against Iran].”
Be that as it may, there are at least some figures within the US military brass who appear to be itching for a fight with Iran.
And it is this eagerness that helps explain why Dem Zionists like Martin Indyk and his Brookings Boys, Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, have recently embraced the current strategy in Iraq.
In a New York Times Op-Ed entitled, “A War We Just Might Win,” O’Hanlon and Pollack endorse anti-Iranian energy behind the so-called “Anbar Model.”
Forget the old Sunni Arab nationalist insurgency. Time for a new war and a new enemy.
In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
That “popular animus” appears to run deep among ex-Baathists and the Sunni Arab national insurgency.
As I argued in two recent posts (here and here), the real meaning of all the chatter about al-Qaeda in Iraq is that the Bush administration has retreated from its war against the Sunni Arab nationalist insurgency.
But before declaring “peace in our time,” it is essential to note the payoff of such a strategy for Zionists like Martin Indyk: confrontation with Iran.
On July 29, 2007, Maj. Gen. Lynch appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and, in answer to caller questions, Lynch told some “sweet little lies” to completely erase the entire history of the US war with the Sunni Arab nationalist insurgency (beginning at 39:52 of the broadcast).
CALLER: The references lately have been so escalated to al-Qaeda in Iraq… What is the percentage of fighters in Iraq who are affiliated with al-qaeda?
MAJ. GEN. RICK LYNCH: That’s a great question. As I say, I’ve got three pods/parts of enemy over here… I’ve got Sunni extremists all of which–or at least the majority of which are associated with al-Qaeda–I’ve got Shia extremists, and I’ve got Iranian influence that’s feeding the Shia extremists.
To answer your specific question, I’d say that 70% of the enemy that I fight on a daily basis is either al-Qaeda or associated with al-Qaeda…
CALLER: Where are the insurgents coming from? Next, what is the source of the weapons?…
MAJ. GEN. LYNCH: I’m losing soldiers to Explosively Formed Penetrators… EFP/IEDs and they are coming from Iran. Last two weeks, one of my major operating bases had 50 rockets lined up against it. Luckily we found in advance and took out… All were clearly marked with Iranian markings. I’m finding munitions all the time in my battle space from Iran. I’ve got indications of training being conducted in Iran for terrorism that is taking place in my battle space. So when you ask where the insurgents are coming from, where they are getting there munitions from… in my area, its coming from Iran.
It may be the case that 70% of the enemy Lynch fights on a daily basis is al-Qaeda. That speaks less to the size of al-Qaeda, relative to the larger Sunni Arab nationalist resistance, than it does to the honest truth that Lynch isn’t fighting the Sunni Arab nationalist insurgency much any more.
But if Lynch has made common cause with the Sunni insurgency responsible for the vast majority of US casualties in Iraq, he is also clearly beating the drums for war with Iran.