Iran: Keeping The World’s Oddest Couple Together
Published on: October 16, 2011
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  • Confused but Curious

    Nice review, but a key point appears missing:

    The Iranian Pressident has gone on record at Columbia, boasting of Iran’s unique status as having no gay people.

    This lack of Iranian gay people surely affects the strategic balance: Perhaps it was the Saudi Ambassador’s brazen flaunting of a purple tie with matching pocket square that sent Achmadinejad over the edge, in a lethal homophobic rage…

  • cubanbob

    Drill baby, drill and we don’t need them anymore. But they will still need us. I like that tune a whole lot better.

  • RebeccaH

    If Iran and Saudi Arabia went at each other tooth and nail, and managed to blow each other up, I wouldn’t mourn, as long as we got our troops home from all those little dungheap countries first.

  • John

    Don’t forget: 15 of 19.

  • “We first fell in love [with the Saudis] over America’s interest in preventing Great Britain from controlling all the oil in the Gulf. Back in the 1930s and even into the 1940s, Britain hoped to make control of the Gulf a new pillar of its tottering empire. The Saudis, on the other hand, wanted an alternative to the suffocating British embrace, and this coincidence of interests led to a uniquely close relationship between the world’s biggest Christian democracy and the world’s strictest Islamic kingdom.”

    So THAT’s the sort of healthy, robust, rational “on-the-ground” alliance that managed to come out of the friction between US and British allies. Imagine, then, what closer Brit-Yank understanding and co-operation might have achieved. As well as greater US sympathy with a declining Britain’s security concerns. Inevitably, of course, such an approach would have come into conflict with the measured Anglophobia of FDR (“perfidious Albion” and all that), to say nothing of the rabid Anglophobia of some of the more seasoned Roosevelt-haters. It might also have clashed with a venerable American tradition – especially strong, it seems to me, in certain “isolationist” quarters – of always kicking a nation when it’s (on the way) down.

    Not that either of us, Brits or Yanks, could have done much to dilute the virulently Wahhabi strain of Islam favored by the Saudis (and by Brit-traitor, early adviser to the monarchy, and possibly Rockefeller asset Harry St John Philby). On the other hand, who could have expected such phenomenal Hashemite longevity on the throne of Jordan? Might, then, the same dynasty’s prospects also have been better in Mecca, had not US geo-petroleum agendas in the region been so much at loggerheads with the Brits’? (Personally I’d have liked to have kept the Turks in Arabia as long as possible, which I believe was both Churchill’s and Asquith’s preference in the years leading up to WWI – maybe even beyond. Then again I suppose that’s the price you pay – chimerical notions of “pan-Arabia” – for political hucksters like Lloyd George and T E Lawrence coming out on top.)

    Meanwhile the Saudi-sponsored, Wahhabi-driven homogenization of non-Arab and diaspora Islam continues apace. And who knows how much it has already done to unhinge and de-stabilize Pakistan. So what do you think? Might now more than ever might be the time to come up with an alternative to an increasingly suffocating Saudi embrace?

  • LarryD

    It’s been observed elsewhere that the plot doesn’t seem up to typical Iranian standards.

    On the other hand, inventing such a plot really doesn’t do Obama & Co any real good, though I could see them as too short-sighted to foresee a fake plot being exposed and the politically dire consequences following.

    The most plausible explanation I can think of, is that this plot was laid on in a hurry, with the Iranians scrambling to exploit Fast & Furious turning into a serious scandal after all, by making it appear that one Mexican cartel responding to arms supplied to another cartel that is their deadly enemy by an act of terrorism. And killing the Saudi Ambassador would be icing on the cake, for the Iranians.

    Well, the truth will out, eventually.

    Reply to J R Yankovic: Hopefully, in 2014, we’ll stop throttling our own gas and oil development, we have enough resources to greatly reduce our imports, perhaps even become an exporter.

  • aallison

    Setting the geopolitical record straight:
    The title of the first illustration should be.
    “. . . of the Greater Middle-East” ( The fact that Central Asia is not Semitic is an important piece of this very, very messy equation.

  • LAG

    “I was once at a private briefing where a Saudi diplomat threatened his American audience: we can cut off your oil anytime we want, he said. We can destroy your currency. You need us more than we need you.”

    I would love to have the opportunity to answer that appropriately. It would go something like this: “Go ahead. We will come and take it all away from you.”

  • Good comments, LarryD (and hopefully accurate predictions).

    And now a few of my own POST-thoughts:

    A Saudi Arabia that is geopolitically integral, diplomatically astute, and quietly yet uncompromisingly extremist in religious ideology;

    an Iran that is geopolitically marginal, diplomatically boorish, and loudly and obnoxiously extremist in religious ideology:

    These, for some reason, seem to be among the chief desiderata of US Middle Eastern policy over roughly the past 35 years.

    I tend to think every Western generation gets the Russia it deserves, and the Iran it (secretly) desires.

  • Fischer Tropsch technology is mature, and could turn the US self-sufficient in terms of liquid fuel within 5 years. FT plants produce at far below today’s price for crude oil and can use both coal and natural gas as feed stocks. The US would have a bad time of it for those 5 years. The Sauds would not survive the decade as we would likely overshoot and become a petroleum exporter. Ultimately the Saudis need us more than we need them.

  • RGS44

    Strange bedfellows indeed! And Saudi threats to our national wellbeing should have the US focus more on what they are doing by promoting Wahabi intollerance in the US at the tune of hundred of millions a year than what they can do with their oil spigots and US Treasuries in the Markets. There is no question that such dichotomic relationships always end, often messily.

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