Over at ConsortiumNews.com, Robert Parry has done an outstanding job of covering the Syrian conflict. He’s offered his Swiftian question is the spirit of intellectual honesty. Saudi Arabia is a threat to peace based on the oil kingdom’s behavior in Syria and also with Russia’s President Vladamir Putin.
“September 23, 2013 Exclusive by Robert Parry: Saudi Arabia – confident in its leverage over energy and finance and emboldened by a de facto regional alliance with Israel – is throwing its weight around with threats against Russia. But this muscle-flexing is drawing a tough reaction from President Putin, reports Robert Parry.
“All across Official Washington – from politicians to pundits – there has been much swaggering about the geopolitical value of threatening to bomb people as a way to extract concessions and enforce compliance. Think Syria on chemical weapons and Iran regarding its nuclear program. So, if that’s the case, maybe it’s time to put “on the table” a bombing threat against Saudi Arabia.
“It now appears that the primary obstacle to peace talks that could resolve the bloody Syrian civil war is the obstruction from al-Qaeda-connected jihadists who are beholden for their military and financial support to Saudi Arabia and other oil sheikdoms operating under Saudi Arabia’s political/diplomatic wing.” Should Cruise Missiles target Saudis, Robert Parry, August 22
The de facto alliance with Israel concerns the Saudi’s direct efforts to end the momentum of the Muslim Brotherhood, a stealthy organization around for decades that has worked with Western intelligence. The MB came to power in Egypt and initiated Muslim law through constitutional changes, attacked minorities, and drove Egypt into economic collapse. The MB threat to the Saudis comes in the form of the Arab Spring movement, MB dominated, and the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia to challenges to the royal family. The solution was to bankroll Egypt’s military, which acted on nationalist principles but targeted MB.
Parry also emphasizes the recalcitrance of the Saudi supported Syrian rebels. It’s no secret that the Saudi’s bankroll the worst elements in Syria’s rebel faction through weapons and other assistance. Now the rebels are stalling on peace talks.
Despite what you may have read in some New York Times opinion columns, the Syrian government has agreed to send peace envoys to Geneva. But the rebels have refused, insisting on a long list of preconditions, such as the U.S. delivery of sophisticated weapons and a reversal of the rebels’ fortunes on the battlefield. The real problem seems to be how divided the Syrian opposition is, with schisms from pro-democracy moderates to violent jihadists including some who film themselves eating the internal organs of dead Syrian soldiers and executing defenseless captives. Robert Parry, Sep 23
The other element in the mix of Saudi acts concerns the meeting between Prince Bandar, now calling the shots in foreign policy for the kingdom, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Remarkably, Bandar tried to bribe and threaten Putin into backing away from support of the Assad regime. Parry draws on an excellent report in Al-Monitor, which I will quote directly.
[Prince Bandar told President Putin] I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.” Russian President, Saudi Spy Chief Discussed Syria, Egypt, As-Safir in Al-Monitor, August 22
This isn’t Tony Soprano threatening to burn your bar down unless you pay protection. It’s a high level game of threats to get Russian cooperation. Parry points out Putin’s response:
I’m told by a source close to the Russian government that this mix of overt inducements and implied threats infuriated Putin who barely kept his anger in check through the end of the meeting with Bandar. Putin’s redoubled support for the Syrian government is seen as one unintended consequence from Bandar’s blend of bribes and warnings. Robert Parry, Sep 23
Anyone who has read Parry over the years knows that he’s not serious about targeting Saudi Arabia. However, his willingness to show how the current logic on terrorism in the West plays out with states like Saudi Arabia is a true service to the debate on foreign policy and our alignment with a decadent, terrorist supporting oil kingdom.