Thursday, April 29, 2010

Obama is Pushing Saudi Arabia (and other Arab states) Into the Arms of Iran

It looks like the Saudis and Qataris have figured out they can't count on the United States:

The military exercises Iran held this week in the Persian Gulf were not exercises; they were part of a passive deployment. Thus, the Revolutionary Guards' navy - a separate and much more sophisticated naval force than that of the Iranian army - dropped naval mines, practiced blowing up ships, photographed underwater targets and carried out exercises in electronic warfare and the operation of Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles.

The interesting thing in the exercise was the presence of a high-level military delegation from Qatar. It was headed by Admiral Abed al-Rahim al-Janahi, who said his country wants to benefit from the Iranian experience, and that he was planning joint exercises for the two armies.

Qatar also has close commercial ties with Iran, and its foreign policy is not in keeping with the American desire that sanctions be imposed on Iran. Voices opposing such sanctions have also been raised in Saudi Arabia. Turki al-Faisal, who heads the King Faisal Institute of Global Strategic Studies, said in an interview to the al-Arabiya network that "the ties between the Gulf states and Iran are historic ties that are built on interests, blood relationships and proximity" and that despite the Iranian threat to neighboring countries, this could not be compared with the Israeli threat. Al-Faisal fully supported the proposal of the Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, to set up a "dialogue team" with Iran and said that time should not be wasted and the public should be prepared for such a dialogue.

Though Al-Faisal holds no government post, his words are considered to hold a great deal of weight. As the former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence, as a former ambassador in London and Washington, and particularly because of his family standing - he is the brother of the Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, and the cousin of King Abdullah - Turki al-Faisal reflects the position of the ruling family with regard to Iran.

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