To my knowledge, nobody has explicitly linked the Saudi-brokered “unity government” deal between Fatah and Hamas to Saudi royal factionalism. And I’ve seen no news reports to suggest that any royals have criticized the deal.
Give it time.
The US response to the deal–signaled by Secretary of State Rice in comments earlier this week as she departed for the region–was quite icy.
This is not a White House initiative sponsored by the office of the Vice President. These are not Cheney’s Saudis. These are Baker’s Saudi’s.
The unity deal between Fatah and Hamas appears to mark a major victory for “unreconstructed,” Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. By some accounts, Saudi King Abdullah appears to neither to have pressed for nor received many “pro-Zionist” concessions from Hamas, least of all the recognition of Israel or the renunciation of violence as a tool in the struggle. Others suggest Hamas may have given a nod toward implicit recognition.
Overall, the Mecca agreement appears to represent a successful Saudi effort to undermine the Bush administration’s Fatah-backed war against the Hamas government.
Regional reconciliation is, in essence, a Baker/Abdullah initiative. And it aims to include all players–including Putin–in the classic Right Arabist collaborative initiative.
Regional rivalry is the Cheney plan.
So, has Cheney lost his Saudi’s? Or are they just laying low and deferring to Abdullah for the moment.
The Cheney plan provides for a “regional realignment” that explicitly links the US, Israel and the Saudis in confrontational alliance to battle Iran and Syria via proxy wars within the Palestinian Authority (support for Mahmoud Abbas in a civil war with Hamas), Lebanon (support for Fouad Siniora in a civil war with Hezbollah), and Iraq (support for a campaign against alleged Iranian influence), if not support for an outright military confrontation against Iran itself.
So far, the Saudis royal family appears to be trying to hold together amidst US pressure to pick a side.
How long will that last with Cheney working overtime to cultivate Saudi allies?