Monday, April 07, 2003
Our Friends, the Saudis: I have no doubt that the Saudis were in a serious bind. They didn't want to upset us by totally denying us staging rights for Iraq, but they knew, deep down, that we were aiming to build a real, non-whacko ally in the region. Places like Qatar, the UAE, and Yemen have their own issues with radical Muslims, but they jumped on our coalition with both feet while the Saudis dicked around. That's because the Saudis knew that this op could spell the end of their oil and diplomacy dominance in the mideast. Yes, they're an ally in that they're a "friendly" nation, but they only in comparison to, say, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. (In addition, the fact that we have bases there is a direct result of Saddam's threatening behavior in the first place. With him gone, we can roll up the bases and move out, denying the Saudis the additional money from their leases and the indirect budgetary benefit that out military presence affords them.) Now that the potential exists for an ally that doesn't require a moral blindness on our part, things get even tougher for the House of Saud. This was a no-win decision for them.