SAUDI BLUFF PREMATURELY CALLED?
As per my own thinking and that of Professor Jonathan Landis (in a private e-mail), there appears to have been less substance and more smoke to the recent article by Nawaf Obaid in last week’s Washington Post. Which I discussed extensively in my posting of Tuesday the 5th. As confirmation of which, according to Reuters, Obaid has been dismissed. Or as the Saudi Ambassador put it: “we felt that we could add more credibility to his claims as an independent contractor by terminating our consultancy agreement with him”. It would appear that the threat of overt Saudi intervention in the Iraq conflict, if the USA were to withdraw, was one that Riyahd, did not want to make at all, or make so overt. Which of course is what the article did in fact do. In either case, it would appear that we should all regard as somewhat less pressing the likelihood of a regional war, if the USA does decide to withdraw from Iraq. Attached for your collective perusal is the article from Reuters:
Wed Dec 6, 2006 3:09pm ET
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said it had fired a security adviser who wrote in The Washington Post that the world’s top oil exporter would intervene in Iraq once the United States withdraws troops.
Saudi Arabia’s government said last weekend there was no truth in Nawaf Obaid’s November 29 article, which suggested the kingdom would back Iraq’s Muslim Sunnis in the event of a wider sectarian conflict.
Obaid stressed in the article that the views were his own and not those of the Saudi government.
“We felt that we could add more credibility to his claims as an independent contractor by terminating our consultancy agreement with him,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, told the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.
The article said the kingdom would intervene with funding and weaponry to prevent Shi’ite militias from attacking Iraq’s Sunnis and suggested Saudi Arabia could bring down world oil prices to squeeze Shi’ite power Iran.
“There is no basis in truth to the article by the writer Nawaf Obaid in the Washington Post of November 29, 2006,” the state Saudi Press Agency last week quoted an “official source” as saying.
Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries have accused Iran of meddling in Iraq.
On Wednesday the high-level U.S. bipartisan Iraq Study Group urged the United States to begin to withdraw forces from combat and launch a diplomatic push, including Iran and Syria, to prevent “a slide toward chaos” in Iraq.
Diplomats have said Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, is worried that Washington has lost control of Iraq and developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which Arab governments say is driving Islamic extremism and anti-U.S. sentiment in the region.
For those expecting an analysis of the findings of the Iraq Study Group, please circle back here, on Friday or Saturday, as I will require some down time, to analyze and think through what the learned gentlemen, have come up with. Until then, I strongly urge you to look into the following online journals:
www.Syriacomment.com,www.Belgraviadispatch.com and www.nationalinterest.org, for the best reading on the internet.