The head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar bin Sultan announced a "steep turn" the foreign policy of his country. According to him, now the Kingdom will cease to focus on Washington, ignoring the interests of Riyadh. If this information is confirmed, the middle East and the world in General will see big changes. Foreign policy Saudi Arabia has never been public.
The leaders of the Kingdom, not seeing any need to be accountable to their own people, always kept in secret their goals and methods of their implementation. Partners and allies of Riyadh has received all the necessary data in confidential conversations with Saudi diplomats.
This is why information about the abrupt change of foreign policy priorities of Saudi Arabia, at the same time — and, probably, it is caught in the disposal of the Agency Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, had the effect of thunder in a clear sky.
The one who was behind the organization of this leak, no doubt, wanted to make it clear that this time the situation is very serious. The US is indeed at risk of losing its main ally in the Arab world. Strictly speaking, a diversion about the changing strategic priorities of the Kingdom could only be one person — Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who actually controls and external intelligence, and foreign policy.
That this idea belongs to him, illustrates this fact: the day before the publication in Paris was a meeting between U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry with his Saudi counterpart Saud al-Faisal. What was discussed is unknown, but, according to reports, the Saudi Minister did not threaten American breakup. For such an important announcement was good only the Bandar. In conversation with foreign diplomats, and drew sensational information.
A list of the claims of the Bandar to the United States is quite extensive. In his opinion, the Americans made a fatal error, abandoning the bombing of Syria, are at a strategic miscalculation in trying to improve relations with Iran; Washington through fingers looks at the continuing colonization of the Palestinian territories and the Jewish settlers does not support Gulf monarchies in their struggle against the growing power of the protest movement. In addition, the Saudis can't forgive the US "betrayal" of his old friend — former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, overthrown in indecisive silence of Washington.
In fact, Bandar has in mind the following: the U.S. has lost its leadership position in the middle East, do not have any coherent strategy in the region, rushing from side to side, forgetting and not appreciating your old friends. If very briefly, Riyadh cannot trust Washington. Moreover, Americans themselves are doing their best to the Saudis confirmed in his disbelief. Before and not carried out the strikes on Syria Riyadh asked Washington to send to the Persian Gulf ships. So the Saudis wanted to protect its oil-producing Eastern province against potential threats from Iran. However, the United States responded to this request with a decisive refusal. For Riyadh, it was a real shock.
It is easy to imagine the thinking of the Saudi rulers after the incident. If the Americans did not help even with such a trifle, what to expect from them in a more serious situation? The king and his court does not want to be in the place of Hosni Mubarak, for the sake of which the USA and didn't lift a finger, and then another, and welcomed the "democratic change" in Egypt. The lack of any response from Washington on the Shiite uprising in Bahrain only reinforced the suspicions of the Saudis about the reliability of its "strategic partner". Especially in oil-producing provinces of the Kingdom enough Shiites who, like their Bahraini co-religionists, complain of harassment by the authorities.
It is not surprising that in these circumstances, Prince Bandar decided on his move. According to an unnamed Saudi diplomat, his country no longer wants to be in situations where she's just going in the Wake of the decisions taken in Washington. Now Riyadh wants to conduct a completely independent policy that does not depend on the Americans and not to rely on them.
The Saudis have already indicated that this may mean in practice.
First, they stop to look at the views of the United States to Syria. At the request of the Washington-Riyadh are not forced arming and financing the most radical of the rebel groups, but now the situation may change: they will start to get heavy weapons, including man-portable air defense systems.
Second, Saudi Arabia will continue to increase support for the military, who took power in Egypt. Recently, the U.S. significantly reduced military and financial aid to Cairo, not trusting the new authorities of this country. Riyadh also sees them as direct heirs of Mubarak — a great friend and ally of the Kingdom. The influence of the Saudis in Egypt is increasing rapidly.
Thirdly, Riyadh announced that it will now be to purchase weapons not only the United States and its allies, but also from other countries. This measure can be very disruptive to American military-industrial sector, with extensive influence at the Capitol. The explanation is simple: Saudi Arabia last 70 years was one of the most solvent buyers of U.S. weapons, paying for them many tens of billions of dollars. Care of the client to competitors — a really serious loss.
Fourthly, the Saudi authorities can narrow down the presence on its territory of U.S. oil companies by involving Chinese and European. Here will inevitably begin to murmur the oil lobby in the US.
Fifthly, now that Riyadh keeps almost all of its gold and foreign currency reserves (more than USD 700 billion) in us securities. Nothing prevents in the medium term, to revise this policy and invested in euros, pounds and yuan.
Another consequence of the rupture of relations with the US, may be the transformation of Saudi Arabia in nuclear power. Riyadh have repeatedly hinted that the excessive strengthening of Iran and its continued nuclear program will not leave the Kingdom other choice. It should be noted that to achieve this goal, the Saudis will need to create from scratch the nuclear industry. They can buy everything needed in Pakistan, with whom Riyadh has traditionally excellent relations.
The advent of nuclear bombs in the homeland of Wahhabism, Osama bin Laden and most of the participants of the September 11th attacks — not a pleasant prospect for the world community. In case of realization of these threats of relations between the US and Saudi Arabia will inevitably deteriorate. Full independence of Riyadh from Washington will create an entirely new geo-strategic reality, which will differ from the current one. "Orphan" Saudi Arabia, with its limitless oil reserves will inevitably attract the attention of China, whose growing economy needs new resources and energy — especially. The formation of a kind of Alliance between these countries is not so unbelievable. Beijing does not put a condition of doing business respect for human rights, civil liberties and the like, and inserts its customers depending on a political conjuncture.
Saudi rulers such attitude is like balm for the soul. In addition, the Chinese have something that the Saudis are now so sorely lacking in relations with the United States — formed foreign policy strategy that is not affected by domestic Affairs in Beijing. In exchange for these benefits the PRC asks only one thing: regularly lifting oil. And that is what the Saudis do best.
In case of rupture of U.S.-Saudi relations probably other, more exotic alliances and coalitions. But today to talk about it too early. It is more important now to understand how serious the intentions of Riyadh. According to some observers, the leaks about the policy shift — it is only the Saudi bluff, designed to draw attention to US, forgetting about their "strategic partner" and his / her interests.
However, John Kerry a day after the publication of sensational data admitted that relations with Riyadh are really going through hard times. To go into details, he did not, saying only that his country still appreciates its ally. The statement is, of course, comforting, but Americans now need to move quickly to action that Saudi Arabia has not really gone to the Chinese.
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