The Many Geopolitical Miscalculations of Saudi Arabia
American Professor/ Sr. Geopolitical Analyst
This analysis is a critique of the Zalmay Khalilzad's article that appeared in the Politico Magazine. Zalmay Khalizad was an old Neocon hand at the State Department. He dealt with the Saudis in 1980s. He was also a former US ambassador in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the UN
In this article, I attempt to macro-analyze a recent Zalmay Khalilzad op-ed in the Politico Magazine. Mr. Khalilzad, as you may or may not be aware, is the former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the UN. He is an old Neocon hand at the US State Department with extensive personal experience in dealing with the Saudis ever since the 1980s when Washington was funneling hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to the multi-national Mujahedeen guerilla fighters vis-à-vis the Saudis and the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) in combating the armed forces of USSR in Afghanistan. Washington was hell-bent to create a Vietnam for the Soviets at that time, as it’s now trying to create an Iraq for the Russians in Syria.
In this Politico Magazine article, Former Ambassador Khalilzad (and now the seemingly front-man for the Saudi lobby in Washington) is clearly trying to paint a different picture of new cadre of Saudi leadership, especially Crown Prince Nayef, who is the second man in charge after King Salman and the harsh and heavy-handed deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Salman’s own son – a robust man with a cuddly face, but one with a legacy of blood and terror on his hands – a reference to his covert support of the ISIS savages in Iraq starting in the late-2000s and in Syria since 2011 as well as his direct role in the recent tragedy in the Mena District of Mecca in September 2015 which resulted in the gruesome death (via trampling) of approximately 2400 innocent pilgrims, 500 of whom were Iranian nationals. This Mohammad Bin Salman character is definitely and directly a key figure in the Saudi Arabia’s notorious international relation activities even since the death of the late Saudi King Abdullah.
According to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a top-ranking Saudi official personally admits to him (although Khalilzad doesn’t specifically name this official) that the Saudis have been misleading the US all these years. That is a kind of admission that I would call false or contrived honesty for whatever shrewd geopolitical purpose – typical Saudi style.
This is no revelation to any of us in intelligentsia. Those of us who are Middle East experts have been saying this for decades: the fact that not only Saudi Arabia is and has been one of the greatest state sponsors of terror (Wahhabi-style), but that they are the very ideological and perverted religious source behind it all! To the Arabic language readers and speakers, this has always been very apparent by the very written word of the barbaric and lunatically-fundamentalist Wahhabi textbooks and related curriculum. It has been crystal clear for a long time, not because Zalmay Khalilzad says so, that the Saudis have been behind all sorts of terrorist causes and activities since 1960s, since they perceived a major existential threat by the Arab nationalist political ideology represented at that time by the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, a hero of sorts in the entire Arab and Muslim world. That narrative, of course, ran counter to the Saudi’s backward-minded, socio-political arrangement with the Wahhabi religious authorities [in the Arabian Peninsula] who are the other pillar of the power structure next to the 30,000 membered Saudi Family crime syndicate.
We must remember how hard President Nasser tried [during his tenure] to unify the Arab World, not in a barbaric backward-minded way as the Saudis, but one of progress and balanced modernism with a totally Middle Eastern cultural essence unlike that of pre-revolutionary, West-toxified Shah of Iran, a weakling western puppet just like the Saudi leadership.
Let us not forget an entity called, “The United Arab Republic” which consisted of Egypt and Syria when they socio-politically united in order to better deal with the Zionist Regime’s threats. Shortly after this successful unification even tough Egypt and Syria do not share a common border, Yemen also wanted to join this confederation. Its application was seriously considered and it even though the process of admitting before yet another Saudi corrosive intervention. Yemen being on the Southern borders of the Saudi-controlled Arabia was perceived as a threat by the savagely fundamentalist Wahhabis who have always been the bedmates of the House of Saud. So in came the North Yemen Civil War of 1962-1970, remnants of which the poor and defenseless Yemen of today is still intensely grappling with since March of 2015 when the criminal Saudi coalition attacked – land, sea, and air – this time with a dangerous geo-sectarian twist with perilous regional repercussions.
At any rate, with Khalilzad’s relaying of the Saudi admittance, as explained in his Politico article, the cat which was already out of the bag is now officially out: the fact that ever since the 1960s Saudi Arabia has been one hundred percent supporting all manners of Jihadi terrorist fundamentalism, i.e. Wahhabi and Salafist chaos movements with their own customized lunatic interpretation of Islam.
Could this new coming-out-of-the-closet and contrived honesty by the Saudis vis-à-vis their apparent PR front man Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, for whatever shrewd geopolitical give-and-take purpose, be an attempt to whitewash their crimes throughout the past 60 years?
Ambassador Khalilzad is suggesting we should pardon and support the Saudis, because the new leaders are more-or-less admitting their guilt, i.e. their reckless and strategically idiotic support of terrorism, if not in the near past (Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Nustra, etc.) but at least in the distant past of the 1960s and 70s. In a way, Mr. Khalilzad is even pointing to subtle justification for those evil deeds if you read him carefully enough. He is saying the Saudis had to do it. And in 1980s, since the Iranian Revolution, the Saudis actually incorporated those same old tactics to combat the Iranian revolutionary fervor. By fanning the flame of the Saddam Hussein imposed war of 1980-1988 against his neighbor Iran and supporting Saddam in every which way – politically, ideologically, financially, logistically, and militarily – along with 42 other countries who were deceived to fear the Iranian revolutionary fervor, the Saudis are strategically responsible for the death of a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, not to mention the human collateral damage. Vis-à-vis that brutal eight-year war, we could even argue that the Saudi laid the foundation of the modern version of geo-sectarian conflict in the Middle East, one that is now engulfing the whole region with potential global repercussions if this ISIS mess in Iraq and subsequently in Syria ever gets out of control.
As proven wrong by their own admittance to Ambassador Khalilzad about their 1960s gross blunders , they are now once again strategically and dangerously wrong in their false assessment of their perceived fear of Iran as proven by their misbehaviors and misadventures in Syria and Yemen. This Frankenstein monster that we call ISIS is really nothing but a repackaging of Saudi-supported Al-Qaeda, but in a much more vicious and potent way. In other words, Al-Qaeda 2.0 on testosterone, steroids, and methamphetamine, in some cases literally!
To put it simply, Ambassador Khalilzad is trying to convince his audience [in the aforementioned article] that the West should be behind the new leadership cadre in Saudi Arabia. We are to believe these people’s new aim is to modernize Saudi Arabia and to renovate their archaic Wahhabi religious doctrine. As mentioned earlier, the Wahhabi religious power structure is the second state pillar next the Saudi so-called “royal” family who get their legitimacy from the Wahhabi clerics, as long as they are in line with their dark, barbaric, medieval, and arrogant (Takfiri) interpretation of Islam which the Saudis are trying to export literally all over the world as part of that convenient political arrangement between these two pillars of power.
I don’t think we should be surprised by all these new attempts of whitewashing the Saudi crimes in the past six decades. Ambassador Khalilzad is a known Neocon diehard in Washington and the Neocons have always positioned themselves closer to the traditional US-Saudi arrangement verses a new realistic assessment of the emerging geopolitical order in the Middle East: a strong and vibrant Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon coalition in alliance with Russia. In the 1970s and 80’s, they tried to first destroy Lebanon vis-à-vis that awful sectarian civil war, followed by the bloody Iran-Iraq of 1980-88 which was followed by the 1990 US-Iraq War which was consummated a decade later in Washington’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 21, 2003. The warmongering Neocons misperceived that as their final nail in the Iraqi coffin (which they failed at), a policy that extended to Libya and now in full force in Syria albeit without the presence of conventional US military, courtesy of the consultancy of none other than Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who has been an ideological mentor to Barrack Obama for years.
Anyway, because the Neocons have failed in all their attempts to overthrow Iran, they are now trying to join it in a false common cause, i.e. ISIS. As the saying goes, “When the devil can’t defeat you, he’ll try to join you.” The Iranians, of course, are fully aware of this dynamic and won’t take the bait, hence all their sacrifice with their compromise in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which diverted a potential disaster that was being orchestrated by the Saudis and the Zionists. That is why the Saudis and especially the Netanyahu Likud Party Mafia are still sulking over that agreement.
Through his influence and expertise, Ambassador Khalilzad and his Neocon cabal are trying to convince policy-makers in Washington and elsewhere that Washington should once again get behind Saudi Arabia verses the Obama Administration and the soon-to-be Clinton Administration’s policy of attempting to cozy up to Iran. Apparently not having learned their lesson in Iraq in 2003, these Neocons still falsely assume that if they stand behind the Saudis, such military postures will be intimidating to the Iranians. Nothing could be further from the truth as Washington has completely lost its credibility across the Middle East.
The Saudis and Zionists interpreted the JCPOA Agreement between Iran and P5+1 as a direct threat to their hegemony. Although de-emphasized solely as a nuclear settlement, I believe the JCPOA was not just limited to the nuclear realm, but an attempt to eventually reach a convergence in many areas of cooperation and common interest between Iran and P5+1 (US, Russia, China, France, Britain, plus Germany). The Saudis are very much threatened by this rising power of the Iranians in settling their differences with the West. Naturally, they feel even more threatened by the planned Iranian confederation that would include Iraq and Syria. After failing miserably in Iraq, they are now hell-bent in overthrowing Bashar Al-Assad of Syria at all cost.
Ambassador Khalilzad and his Neocon cabal (along with the Saudis) are foolishly side-stepping the fact that the 2500 year old Iranian Civilization has always played the most crucial role in managing the political, social, economic, and military affairs of the Middle East, if not single-handedly but definitely in a coopertaive confederation arrangement. The Saudis' fear of the re-emergence of Iran and the Iranian’s legitimate leadership role in the Middle Eastern affairs shows their absolute lack of understanding history and the role that Iran has always seen for itself in the modern Middle East, not to mention the direct or indirect role that it has always played in the Middle East leadership.
The last noteworthy item to mention in my analysis is Ambassador Khalilzad’s reference to the public offering of Saudi Arabia’s giant oil company Aramco. Obviously, we consider this a major strategic geopolitical and geo-economic event since Aramco has always been exclusively owned and managed by the House of Saud. It is reported that this public offering raised as much as two trillion dollars for the Saudis. For a cash-strapped country like today’s Saudi Arabia, that is not a small sum. Naturally, we shouldn't look at this as a point of strength in terms of a large revenue inflow for the Saudis. The contrived fall in oil prices and the subsequent stale economic condition of Saudi Arabia is yet another example of the many miscalculations of the new cadre of young and inexperienced Saudi leadership, one which the Saudis have no one to blame than themselves.
Although shooting themselves in the foot, figuratively-speaking , the Saudis in concordance with Washington decided a few years ago to artificially devalue the price of oil in order to cripple the Russian as well as the already suffering Iranian economy since these two nations’ vision are not in line with Washington and NATO’s New World Order agenda. Once again, the Saudis miscalculated by assuming this would be a short-lived project that would not affect their economic interest in the long term. But it has.
As it turned out, they clearly underestimated the resolve of the Russian bear and the Iranian lion in thinking they would fold and subdue due to economic pressures. En contraire, it only increased their resolve.
While at it, the Saudis arrogantly strategized to double-cross Washington by assuming that their lowering of oil prices would drive out the new-and-upcoming American frack oil producers and put them out of business until their political objectives are achieved, especially when it came to crippling their regional rival Iran. That too has failed.
In their insatiable greed and hegemonic hubris, they also perceived America’s re-emergence and reentry into the global oil market as a viable oil producer, especially in selling this oil to the upcoming superpower China, as a source of direct competition even though there was plenty to go around for everybody. Meanwhile, America’s direct selling of oil to China was considered to be a win-win trade exchange with the Chinese continuation of financing the American debt structure as long as the dollar would remain the sole currency in oil trade.
The increasing, albeit humble, rise of green and clean technology should also not be underestimated as a factor for lower demand for oil. We are forecasting this trend to continue and accelerate in the years to come.
The public offering of Aramco is a clear sign of great desperation by the Saudis as all their above-mentioned policies have proved to be yet another utter failure.
It is my expert opinion that all the assurances of Ambassador Khalizad [in his aforementioned Politico Magazine article] are false and invalid. His analysis of the supposedly new Saudi attitude was a cheap propaganda attempt that tried to create a new image of confidence in the new cadre of Saudi leadership by masking their total incompetence.
My last observation in that article was Zalmay Khalilzad’s cheap use of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) by mentioning and coupling Iran with ISIS in the same sentence as if they were the same essential threats. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. This NLP tactic happened more than once in his article so his ignorant audience would equivocate Iran and ISIS. This, of course, is a typical confusion-generating tactic of the Neocons. They are the masters of distortion, false analogy, and deception, not to mention gross exaggerations. Yes, Iran is perceived by the Saudis as a threat, but ISIS is clearly the Saudi’s brainchild, for the lack of a better term. So why would they be a threat to Saudi Arabia?! They aren’t. They are the militant arm of the decrepit Saudi Wahhabi ideology. ISIS is Saudi Arabia without an embassy. Period!