Saudi Arabia Won’t Attack Iran. But It May Pay Someone Else To

What do American Hessians cost these days?

There is a longstanding joke told in the Middle East about Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to fight its own wars.

“Saudi Arabia will fight until the last Pakistani,” the punchline goes, in reference to the fact that Pakistani troops have long supported Saudi’s military endeavors. The punchline has expanded lately to include the Sudanese, a recent addition to the Saudi army’s ground troops.

Saudi Arabia is accustomed to buying labor that it deems too menial for its citizens, and it extends that philosophy to its army.

There is always a poorer country ready to send cannon fodder for the right price.

The military assault in Yemen is sometimes referred to as “the Arab coalition”, a respectable term for a Saudi-led group of combatants that, in addition to allies in the Gulf, includes forces from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, as well as Sudanese child soldiers, whose deaths are handsomely compensated for with cash paid to their families back home.

When asked what fighting in Yemen under the command of the Saudis had been like, some returning Sudanese troops said that Saudi military leaders, feeling themselves too precious to advance too close to the frontline, had given clumsy instructions by satellite phones to their hired troops, nudging them in the general direction of hostilities.

Where things were too treacherous, Saudi and coalition air forces simply dropped bombs from high-flying planes, inflating civilian casualties.

This is how Saudi fights: as remotely as possible, and paying others to die.

It is baffling, in the light of last week’s attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, that there is so much speculation about Saudi and Iran going to war.

Saudi does not “go to war”: it hires proxies, and depends on US gullibility to continue the lie that it is the regional peacekeeper, and that any threat to the country destabilizes the region.

The US and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the attacks, which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and fighting the Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s war.

The Pentagon has announced that it will be sending hundreds of US troops, in addition to air and missile defense equipment, to Saudi Arabia as a “defensive” move.

Why does a country that was the world’s largest arms importer from 2014 to 2018, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, need so much help? In 2018, the US provided 88% of all weaponry sold to the country.

By the end of 2018, Saudi was responsible for 12% of global arms purchases.

It is clearly not in need of more military kit from the US to defend it against drone attacks.

What, then, does a country that is involved in one military campaign, in Yemen, and which appears so vulnerable to attack and in need of constant protection, do with so many weapons? Buying the weapons, rather than deploying them, is the point.

These multimillion-dollar purchases maintain commercial relations with western allies from whom it imports arms, and who in return turn a blind eye to Saudi’s human rights abuses, assassinations and kidnappings, because there is too much money at stake.

Saudi Arabia’s entire foreign policy model is based on using its wealth to buy friends and silence.

And so Saudi must continue to play on US fears about Iran, ensuring that its bodyguard is always “locked and loaded”, as Trump stated in a sabre-rattling tweet after the drone strikes.

At the same time, Saudi continues to destabilise the region by meddling in the internal affairs of other Arab countries, passing on arms to other dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa, and launching aggressive social media intimidation and disinformation campaigns.

Even Twitter clamped down on Saudi accounts last week.

And still the country is perceived to be a vulnerable innocent, a bulwark against chaos in the Middle East.

Bellicose in the extreme, and yet aware that it is highly unlikely to suffer the consequences of its pugnaciousness, Saudi is currently locked in escalating conflicts with Iran, Qatar and Yemen, propping up military regimes in Sudan and Egypt, messily meddling in Lebanon, and continuing to fund random Sunni hardline endeavours all over the world – and generally getting away with it.

Saudi will not go to war with Iran, but the US may do so on its behalf.

Meanwhile, Saudi looks on – as ever, the indulged and unpunished provocateur of the Middle East

Source: The Guardian

  1. CHUCKMAN says

    “Meanwhile, Saudi looks on – as ever, the indulged and unpunished provocateur of the Middle East”

    That leaves out, just as you might expect if you are aware of the extreme bias of “The Guardian,” one of the most bent newspapers on the planet, the real “unpunished provocateur,” the one behind Saudi Arabia.

    Israeli influence is almost entirely responsible for Trump’s blundering stupidities in the Middle East.

    And, indeed, Israel is largely responsible for the new military strength of Saudi Arabia.

    Before the blood-brother bond between Netanyahu and the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia would never have been allowed to buy those mountains of American weapons.

    “Talk of tens of billions of dollars in new American arms! Are you crazy, you schnook?” Netanyahu would have been on the phone to the President in the middle of the night.

    They used to despise Saudi Arabia in Israel. Not that many years ago.

    Now, they are embraced almost as the closest allies. The embrace is never bragged about in public – that could have serious consequences for the general population of Saudi Arabia and the stability of the Murderer Prince’s Crown.

    But there has been a profound change as these two wealthy outsiders realize how much in common they have, and as the new Saudi Tyrant works hard to earn “creds” in the right places, doing all kinds of desired dirty work in Syria and Yemen and other places.

    I call them wealthy outsiders because relative to the hundreds of millions who inhabit the region, they are both outsiders by culture and circumstances.

    The Saudi Crown is only a little older than Israel is. It is not an ancient kingdom. As it likes to style itself.

    It was formed at very close to the time of Hitler’s accession to power in Germany, just a few months before. And just three years after the end of Hitler’s reign, Israel was created. In a region of truly ancient civilizations, they are both newcomers, and they are both viewed by many as usurpers.

    And they are both rich usurpers. After all, in any society, being wealthy sets you apart from most of the population, as we see so starkly – with the one percent versus the rest – now in the United States.

    And the relative wealth of Saudi Arabia and Israel sets them apart from most of the Middle East.

    The Saudis with immense reserves of oil, and Israel with immense flows of foreign aid and resources from the private sector in America and Europe. Israel is likely the most heavily subsidized entity in history.

    So, they do have a lot in common when compared to the great mass of the Middle East. And they both need to protect what they have.

    The importance of their being both kinds of outsiders and wealthy trumps all ethnic or religious differences, at least for the ruling class. Ordinary folks in both places don’t count for much, just as is the case in most places.

    Especially now that Saudi Arabia has totally ceased to make the sounds it made twenty years ago. Then it tried to appeal as something of a leader to the region’s Muslim masses, but that has now been forgotten for the most part.

    Fear over the consequences of 9/11 drove the Saudi Crown away from some its old ways even before the new Crown Prince took over, killing and kidnapping and bombing his way to favor in American and Israeli eyes.

    After all, America could have invaded immensely wealthy Saudi Arabia just as easily as it did impoverished Afghanistan. There were a number of facts in those events that easily could have been bent to supporting the purpose.

    So, the Saudis began changing their ways even before Prince Bone Saw took command with a wave of kidnappings and huge ransoms and hidden violence.

    It was quite noticeable to someone like myself who occasionally read some Saudi Internet publications. The tone and approach changed dramatically. Some of my old articles critical of affairs in the Middle East used to be reposted on certain Saudi sites, but that stopped completely.

    The good Prince wasn’t really first in line for succession, but the half-senile old King went along, undoubtedly having had words put into his ear about how favorably the fresh and progressive new Prince would be received in Washington and Tel Aviv.

    So, established succession practices were dumped, and the Crown Prince started shedding a bright new light over the Middle East. It included a big PR build-up in the “Western” press, the good old Guardian, for example, being rather lavish with favorable articles about a man who would prove a mass killer.

    There was also a big PR tour arranged in the United States in which the Crown Prince washed the blood from his hands long enough to shake hands and banquet with many American politicians and notables.

    Only a little gesture or word now, here or there, about some event in the region phrased for the ears of the locals, something Israel completely understands, having a leader who has done nothing but lie for his entire career, thirteen years as Prime Minister, lying ceaselessly to his own people and to the leaders of other countries and international organizations.

  2. John C Carleton says

    Iran will kick USA’s butt short of nukes.

    Israhell is scared to attack Iran, they want the USA to do it for them.

    Iran short of Israhell using their illegal nukes, would kick Israhell’s butt.
    Even with their nukes, there would be no Israhell left.

    Russia don’t want what Iran has to offer.


  3. Séamus Ó Néill says

    I don’t think America is going to go to war. I know Saudi is vital for the petrodollar, but the writing’s on he wall…..America’s already bankrupt but they’d like to keep their perceived hegemony a little longer. Another war , especially with Iran, would finish it completely and see it strenuously fighting to avoid third world status. It’s bereft of true friends and there’s a myriad of countries who’ll cheer loudly at its demise !

  4. JustPassingThrough says

    D.T. has got an election to win.

    Iran is too big of a risk.
    There is no coalition.
    The brits can’t even coalesce within their own borders.
    PL doesn’t have enough horses.
    Australia is busy slaughtering kangaroos.
    The canadians are already at war with CN and RU and whomever else they can think of.
    The IDF doesn’t have the balls.
    Maybe send rapturous pompeo and j. guano.

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