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Parsing The Kingdom
Insights From a Saudi General
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  • rheddles

    Got to start somewhere.

  • Kevin

    I’ll be interested to see when he pops up in Beijing. China rather than Russia seems Saudi Arabia’s natural ally and the logical replacement to their departingbAmerican patron. Russia is an economic competitor and a declining power whose longer term use to the Saudis is limited. China is both a customer of their oil but also a potential supplier of all sorts of goods. They have also been willing to invest heavily to secure resources. A three way Saudi-Pakistani-Chinese entente could also bolster Pakistan and further China’s seeming desire to constrain and harass India. Of course having more friends is always better and if they can have both Chinese and Russian patronage (plus some from Western Europe and the U.S.) all the better from Riyadh’s POV.

    • rheddles

      Unless the overture to Moscow is really a way to frighten the Americans into restoring the relationship in the next administration. Given a choice of the three with which would you prefer to be aligned?

  • ljgude

    Good review of some of the perviously unthinkable possibilities and realignments that come out of the Obama administration tilting too far toward Iran and tilting…heck dumping, Israel, Egypt and the Saudis.

  • Blackbeard

    After 50 years of telling their people that the Jews were demons the Arabs are going to find it very hard to back down.

    • FriendlyGoat

      True, I suspect, but every inch they have to walk that back is a good thing.

  • Ellen

    Nice analysis – something no one in our major foreign policy analysis cliques would ever think of, because they are so addled with the conventional wisdom of the last 50 years. One thing many people don’t realize is that there is a large pool of people in Israel with an appreciation and even love for Russian culture. I am not just speaking of the recent 1 million plus immigrants, who were very heavily assimilated into this culture before departing. Most of the original generation of Zionists were from the Russian Empire and had a tie to certain aspects of Russian culture such as classical music, Russian folk songs, etc. That generation has died off but the legacy lives on.

    This affection on the part of Russian Jews, needless to say, was never reciprocated by the Russian Bolshevik leadership beyond Lenin, who was partly Jewish and had a high opinion of Jews. The rest of that lot were anti-Semitic, including many of the so-called Jews like Trotsky. That is why it wasn’t hard for the Russians to be so pro-Arab and incite repeated war against the newly born Jewish state.

    However, Gorbachev had a different more neutral view. And Putin is actually philo-semitic for a variety of interesting reasons. He has supported wholeheartedly the revival of Russian Jewish religious life under the auspicious of the Chabad Hasidic movement, whose chief rabbi in Moscow is a personal friend of Putin. The American elite in Washington tends to underestimate the importance of cultural affinity in international relations, but in Israel that is not the case. There is a large contingent there who would like to have a positive relationship with the Russia of Putin. And if now the winds are favorable, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a major change in Israeli-Russian relations, as Obama wreaks long-term damage on the US-Israel relationship.

  • scottacracy

    youve got be kidding me, so you call iran a paper tiger, since they cant support their allies the houthies? first off, they arent iran’s allies, iran doesnt care about them, this is all propaganda, also, if they are a paper tiger, and maybe they are since the gulf states outspend them 10 to 1 on military, then how exactly is it that iran is the most dangerous country in the world that we should never negotiate with? who is the danger in the world? who is about to starve to death 18 million in yemen? the article also says saudis will agree not to interfere in iraq if they can get more influence in the levant, really, they have to be bribed not to interfere in iraq? and all this time you tell us everything is about iranian mischief making? what exactly do you call what saudi “interference” in iraq/syria/yemen then? this is the joke, you excuse anyone on earth to support any dictatorship/proxy/al nasra/etc, and call it “national interest” as long as they are anti iran and pro Isr,, but anything iran does is “mischief” or terror, oh yeah, and iran is just supposed to sit back and take it while the gulf states and turkey arm their anti iranian proxies to the teeth, the only threat from iran is that they will be an actual country in the community of nations again, which means economic and policitcal competitor, too bad walter russel meed cant understand this

    • JR

      Grammar is your friend.

      • Ellen

        It could be his friend, but friendship requires an investment. Don’t hold your breath.

  • FriendlyGoat

    We Americans have our reasons for not liking the attitudes of Putin—–AND Iran——AND Saudi Arabia—–AND Assad—-AND some of the actions of some of the Israeli leadership. All of them have their own varying degrees of reasons for disliking us. How we have ever imagined or caused any of them to imagine that our Presidents or Secretaries of State are supposed to be the permanent brokers or referees in “peace processes” is really a curious oddity when you think about it. People criticize Obama for stepping us back from that imaginary role (somewhat back, anyway), but seeing the Saudis and Israel working together on anything is progress. Leaving these powers to their own mingling has the potential for the hope TAI is cautiously expressing here.

  • Anthony

    Interesting times indeed, “vectoring resources” and another view from other side of world (are Russia, China teaming up with Iran). Asia Times: atimes.com/2015/08/irans-s-300-a-russian-deal-or-a-sino-russian-deal/

  • Hindin Joseph

    > The large Russian emigration to Israel since the fall of the Soviet Union has helped to create strong human and economic links; Putin has pursued a pretty pro-Israel diplomacy even as he’s kept up ties with Iran.

    I am sorry to disappoint you, but this statement is not exactly grounded in the reality.

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