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Of Nukes and Neighbors
Saudi Arabia’s Longterm Investment

As the Saudi-led air assault on Yemen stagnates, heated words are flying among the Sunni nations over Pakistan’s apparent refusal to get involved in the fight. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Pakistan is asked to take a clear position for the interest of its strategic relations with GCC states,” [UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar] Gargash wrote in one of a series of Twitter posts Friday, reacting to the vote in Pakistan’s Parliament. “Contradictory and equivocal positions have a high cost in this crucial affair.”

“This moment of truth distinguishes true allies from media and rhetorical allies,” he wrote.

Pakistani politicians shot back:

“Monarchies perhaps do not understand the restrictions imposed on the government of Pakistan by being a democracy,” said Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, a senator with the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “Parliament is the voice of the people of Pakistan.”

The Emiratis understand who is really calling the shots in Pakistan’s foreign policy (not its parliament), and they aren’t happy that the “deep state” has decided not to jump into Yemen just yet. The Saudis, however, appeared much less perturbed. Following the visit of Iran’s foreign minister to Pakistan last week, Saudi Arabia’s minister for religious affairs arrived in Islamabad for consultations. “The resolution passed by Pakistan’s parliament is Pakistan’s internal matter,” he said. “Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have had very strong relations ever since Pakistan’s creation…we should try and improve these ties as best we can.” His schedule was not made public.

So why, despite the billions the Saudis have poured into Pakistan, do they seem rather unbothered by its prevarications, to the point of talking about “improving ties”? One very important reason: The Saudis see the Yemen fight as part of a broader regional struggle against Shi’a Iran, and Pakistan has the only Sunni bomb. If things get worse, the Saudis will come to collect their debts in concrete—or rather, uranium—assets.

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  • Aethelbald

    And when that happens, what of the Shi’ite bomb? Any way Iran could ally with Israel? Might the recent agreement with the USA be viewed in this light?

    • Kevin

      Even more improbable than Molotov-Ribbentrop – what do the Iranians have to credibly offer the Israelis that the latter might reasonably be interested in?

      • Ellen

        Interesting points. Everyone understands that the failure of American equipment in the hands of the Saudis is strictly due to their incompetence and not problems with the hardware. In the hands of the Israelis it always performs superbly. Although one must remember that the Israelis add their own finishing touches to much of the software.

        The other point you make makes one ponder. What could the Iranians offer Israel to offset the gangup of the Sunnis from all sides? How about stop making genocidal threats? How about stop supporting Hamas’ war machine? How about getting rid of Hezbollah’s missiles? There are lots of things they could do, but the theocracy won’t do any of them, even if they are the smart and strategic things to do. Theocrats are not rational except in on their own perverse way, which the Obamoids would never come close to understanding. For them to ally with Israel against the Arabs, as did the Shah, would undermine 36 years of revolutionary logic and rhetoric. It would be a crowning humiliation for them and imply that their revolution was a failure. They would rather go down fighting a war of attrition with the Sunnis, which I predict is precisely what they will do.

        Watch Syria and the border with Lebanon. The Sunni rebels are launching new attacks every week against Alawite/Shiite positions in the two countries. They are finally bringing home the cost of a war of attrition to General Soleimani in a way that he will never forget. He is going to lose, for the first time in his life. Boo, hoo, hoo.

        • ljgude

          Yes, I strongly agree with your analysis of the Iranian regime and that barring some significant change things are headed for a long war of attrition. I also think that the Syria and Lebanon borders with each other and with Israel have a high degree of uncertainty with many possible scenarios. For Israel’s sake I would hope that neither side attains dominance.

  • wigwag

    If Pakistan’s government or “deep state” won’t oblige Saudi Arabia, there are plenty of Pakistani and Russian scientists who can be bought for the right price. As for the enriched uranium, everything can be purchased if you’re willing to pay enough.

  • Blackbeard

    The Arabs have never been organized enough to stand up to the Persians. If the West is really going to step aside, as now seems likely, get ready for an era of Persian domination in the ME. If Obama thinks that will be preferable to the current chaos I am afraid he

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