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Iran and Saudis in Twilight War
  1. Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 6, 2012, 1 a.m.—A Saudi diplomat, returning from a jog, is shot dead by an unknown assailant.
  2. Karachi, Pakistan, May 2011—Two armed men kill a Saudi official. Pakistani police suggest a radical Shiite group is responsible.
  3. In October 2011, American officials uncovered a plot they say was organized by Iran and aimed to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. The scheme appeared strange, almost ludicrous.

The press and the commentariat focus on Israeli-Iranian hostility as if nothing else were happening in the Middle East, but in fact the hostility between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic is at least as influential in shaping events.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a death struggle, and America’s Arab allies are as concerned as the Israelis about the need to deal with Iran.

Those who ignore or minimize this side of the problem not only open the doors for anti-Semitic speculation about the supposedly all-powerful group of Jews directing American policy from behind the scenes; they cut themselves off from understanding the actual dynamics of one of the world’s most important and fast moving crises.

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  • Kris

    The Saudis detest and fear the Iranians, but what are they doing about it? “The RSAF maintains the third largest fleet of F-15s after the JASDF and the USAF,” so why are they not taking action against the Iranian nuclear program? Unfortunately for us, it seems that they are willing (or able) to act only strategically, by spreading Wahhabism.

  • alex scipio

    Frankly, the BEST way to end the problem of Iran getting a nuke is to give ONE nuke to the Saudis. Covertly is just fine. Let Israel do it, even.

    Because Sunni Arabs hate Shia Persians even more than they hate Jews or Americans, the Iran problem would be solved in a heartbeat.

    American just needs to learn to keep OUT of some conflicts.

    If we had kept out of the Iraq/Kuwait problem, Saddam would have taken Kuwait (and…?), have then taken Saudi Arabia (ditto – Iraq still was selling the West oil), but then would have over-reached and turned west toward Israel, who would have annihilated him, probably with theater nukes. Problem solved. No American fingerprints. No American deaths.

    But noooo… we always have to get in the way of natural selection. Had we stayed OUT of WW1, Belgium & France would’ve been toast (… and…?) but a strong Germany likely would’ve precluded the USSR and the tens of millions Stalin killed…. and the ETO of WW2 (another 50 MM) and Red China (another 80MM) and Korea and Vietnam (French and American experiences), etc., etc.

    Just because America CAN do something does not mean we MUST.

    We need to learn to get out of the way of Natrual Selection. Countries making the decision not to be strong enough to defend themselves (are you listening Europe?) need to accept the consequences of those decisions. And we can stop paying for the defense of the West.

  • http://- Ashoka

    In 324 BCE, Chandragupta, ruler of the Mauryan Empire set out to conquer the weaker surrounding kingdoms to expand the territory of his people. His military, while not extraordinary, devastated the primitive neighbors and avoided those that could not be won in a day.

    Nothing changed under the second generation of the Mauryan Empire. The territory continued to increase, as did the size of the military.

    Ashoka was anointed the new emperor in 274 BCE. Immediately he began instituting his law of oppression by administering capital punishment for even the slightest infractions. His cruel heart showed mercy upon no one.Desiring to win rather than demand acclaim, Ashoka decided to surpass the efforts of his predecessors by brutally demolishing the kingdoms previously unscaved. The kingdom of Kalinga had with its borders, long kept the Mauryan Empire from accessing much of the Ganges river. This was enough of a reason to initiate an invasion. He led his military to eventual victory but in the process lost as well.

    Standing along the front lines, Ashoka witnessed first hand the massacre of hundreds of thousands waged war on complete strangers. He knew so many had lost their lives simply because, he, the king, had ordered them to do so. Women became widows, children now orphans, Ashoka asked himself exactly what had his people won in war.

    Great changes in policy fell on India following the war. Ashoka relinquished all intent in expanding his lands by military means. He had nothing to gain in battle and no reason to fear outside invasion. Instead he turned all his attention to the welfare of his subjects, and so began an era of peace and internal progression. By example Ashoka taught and persuaded his people to love and respect all living things. According to Dr. Munshi, “he insisted on the recognition of the sanctity of all human life”.

  • Jim.

    Apologies for the repeat comment, but it’s more appropriate here.

    If the Saudis want us to take out their threatening neighbor instead of doing it themselves, we should absolutely offer to do it…

    …cost plus.

  • J R Yankovic

    How do I keep MISSING these interesting posts?

    Some very good – and moving – stories too. Certainly I wish more of the world’s great conquerors had been like Ashoka.

    But I’m trying to imagine the Wilhelmine Germans, having concluded their rampages through most of Europe and Russia in the wake of a hypothetical WWI victory, being filled with a similar remorse. I remember, many years ago, paging through a reprint of a collection of essays (translated into English) by what seemed to be a number of prominent German strategic thinkers of the early 20th century, including perhaps a few military strategists. The bombastic vehemence, and even violence, of the general tone and sentiments led me to suppose it could only have been published in, at the earliest, the late 20s or early to mid-30s, perhaps under the auspices of the Nazis or some other anti-Versailles radical nationalist organization. Then I noticed the name of (President?) Paul von Hindenburg among the contributors. Something didn’t add up, so I immediately went to the date of publication: 1913.

    At all events I have to believe a victorious post-monarchical Germany, under the leadership of charismatic figures like that great philo-Semite Ludendorff, would eventually have plowed deep into Aryan central Asia, perhaps eventually reaching the borders of India. At which point they’d have had ample opportunity both to rediscover and to apply the pacific wisdom of Ashoka. Which I can only imagine the great Ludendorff doing with the utmost thoroughness to every corner of the empire, including remote and difficult outposts like Tanganyika and South-West Africa. But not, of course, before he’d done his best to conciliate the newly-Bolshevized Russia, where extremism had already been proceeding from strength to glory under the wise ministrations of soon-to-be German Foreign Minister Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau.

    I think John Foster Dulles put it best (in so many words): Suppress or frustrate the ambitions of the NATURALLY STRONG and they’ll only get worse! They’ll become rabid, maniacal, even genocidal! Sadly we stubborn Yanks not only failed to learn from our WWI-Versailles mistakes, we went from bad to worse. We not only devastated but TRUNCATED poor Germany. Which of course ensured only the most predictable of results. The proud, unjustly thwarted Germans, seething with vindictive rage, proceeded to raise up . . . an ADENAUER?

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