US military cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Author: Tejretics ,

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  • Tejretics
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    Tejretics
    Recently, the US Senate passed a resolution condemning Saudi Arabian actions in Yemen (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/senate-rebukes-saudi-arabia-yemen-war-khashoggi-murder-181213004802358.html). In addition, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for Saudi Arabia to end intervention in Yemen (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-usa/secretary-of-state-pompeo-calls-for-end-to-fighting-in-yemen-idUSKCN1N502G). 

    Should the West continue to militarily cooperate with Saudi Arabia, given the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and only resume cooperation on the condition that the naval blockade is lifted? (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/12/opinion/saudi-arabia-arms-sales.html)

    Given that Saudi Arabian relations with Russia (https://www.ft.com/content/aa39b74c-4f0c-11e8-ac41-759eee1efb74) and China (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2168849/china-may-seek-boost-ties-saudi-arabia-it-cant-fill-us-arms) are getting better, if the West does place military sanctions on Saudi Arabia, would they be willing and able to fill that gap, allowing the Yemeni intervention to continue? 

  • Tejretics
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    --> @coal @ResurgetExFavilla @spacetime
    Would be particularly interested in hearing what the three of you think. 
  • Greyparrot
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    Yemen is a big mess right now and USA really does not have an easy fix for Yemen.
  • Greyparrot
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    If we are to follow policy trends though....

    Obama got involved in Syria's civil war....Trump pulled the troops out.

    Obama got involved in Yemen's civil war....it's very likely Trump will pull out of Yemen as well at some point.
  • Mharman
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    --> @Greyparrot @Tejretics
    Should we pull out though? When we pulled out of Iraq it left a vacuum for ISIS.
  • Greyparrot
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    It's okay to pull out as long as a dictator is in charge to keep the peace.
  • coal
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    --> @Tejretics
    Saudi Arabia has been a historical ally of the United States since the late 1940s to early 1950s, and that alliance was not always what it is now.  Initially, during the Cold War Saudi Arabia was viewed by the CIA and American decision makers as a an ideological ally where "men of the book" were united in interests against the "godless" Soviets.  However, Saudi Wahhabism was widely regarded with an appropriate amount of skepticism who were reluctant to provide the kind of military aid to the Saudis for that reason.

    The history of Saudi relations has to be read in the context of American interests in the Middle East, more generally, however.  During the Carter administration, it became glaringly obvious that the pro-Western Shah's tenure was not beyond  question.  Initial reports from reliable sources made it clear that revolution was fomenting inside Iran, though Carter neglected to take the necessary action to prevent this from metastasizing into something entirely worse and more violent.  

    In his abject naivety (read: stupidity) Carter essentially disregarded the recommendations spoon fed to him by, among others, the CIA.  The Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage crisis ensued.  This single event forever changed the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia's relationship to the United States.  Before this great catastrophe, Iran was a reliable and stable ally to the West and to the United States, in particular.  The Shah's government was relatively democratic, and progressive.  

    In this way, Iran represented one of the two pillars of American (and to a lesser degree, British) foreign policy triangulation between Iran, Israel, and the United States.  Iran's location was geostrategically vital to maintaining stable oil markets as well, and this played a huge role in the degree to which Western forces not only exercised influence in the region, but kept the Soviets out.  Iran is adjacent to Pakistan and Iraq, both then allies of the United Kingdom.  Nevertheless, Iran was regarded as a considerably more stable ally than Iraq, because of the differences in their culture and political climates.  Kuwait, after all, was cut out of Iran by the British to function as a chokepoint in Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf.  The French, at the same time, were closely allied with Syria as well.  

    (Note: most of these alliances were the result of the Sykes-Picot treaty, in which France and England carved up the Ottoman Empire's corpse according to their economic interests.) 

    A simple look at a map reveals why this was such a problem for the Soviet Union, who were already cut off from the Mediterranean sea by NATO Member Turkey, and whose sole barrier between US allies to the South was what is now Georgia and Azerbaijan.  Iran bing allied with the United States created a veritable threat to the Soviets' interests on the Caspian sea.  This, the KGB could not tolerate, and they had a solution.  The Soviet Solution, consistent with its KGB members' Sambo training, was to take advantage of forces in motion as they existed.  Sambo is the species of mixed martial arts taught in what is now Russia, but what was then the Soviet Union.  It's sort of like a mixture of Judo and Jujitsu.  Like many of the more sophisticated maneuvers in sambo, the Soviets' geopolitical strategy was to cultivate and channel the forces of Islamic radicalism within Iran which would lead to an Iranian revolution.  That is exactly what happened, and Carter in his inexcusable incompetence failed to prevent it.  In this way, the Iranian revolution shifted one of the dominoes from the US, to the USSR.  

    Saudi Arabia, the only remaining wild card on the map, became the next best alternative.  By 1980, the Reagan administration did everything in their power to make nice with the Saudis who were themselves delighted to cooperate with the US to menace Iran -- their new joint enemy.  The soviets continued to fund the development of radical islamist cells within Iran, and played a key albeit plausibly deniable and indirect role in many of the Palestinian, Libyan, and other Islamic terrorist attacks that would strike Israel, the territory of Palestine, the Middle East in general, and Europe in the coming decade.  (Note: It was after having been bitten by the cobra of Islamic radicalism that the United States began to play the so called Northern Alliance against the Soviets in their woefully incompetent efforts to invade Afghanistan.  This later came to be known as "Charlie Wilson's War".)


    More to come in a bit... 






  • coal
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    --> @Tejretics
    So, the stage was set for a geopolitical and strategic realignment of nearly everything at stake in the Middle East by the 1979 terrorism in Iran.  To even call it a "revolution" is an affront to the meaning of the word.  What happened was more fitting of Carlos the Jackal (who also had indirect ties to Soviet Intelligence) than anything approximating a "revolution" as the word is commonly understood.  No greater tragedy has occurred in the Middle East, short of perhaps the Ottoman Empire's creation in the first place, but I digress.

    The oil market tumult between Ford, Carter and Reagan and growing antipathy for OPEC (a cartel that should have been decimated decades ago) prompted further American interest in alliance with Saudi Arabia.  At that time, things like "human rights" weren't really something anyone cared about beyond a passing rhetorical gesture.  So, the fact that Saudi Arabia stoned people to death, would not allow women to drive cars, and the like just wasn't a great concern for the Reagan Administration.  Oil mattered much, much more; American demand for it was insatiable. 

    However, and not without irony, just as Islamic radicalism had been building -- after having been fomented by the soviets -- in Iran, so too was it building inside Saudi Arabia, and for the same reason.  The USSR went to spectacular efforts to further radicalize already radical Saudi Wahhabists, for the sole and express purpose of resisting the United States.  Initially, this continued without much success, though the dividends of their efforts paid off in unforeseen ways.  (That brand of radicalism was nearly identical to Bin Laden's radicalism, though Al Qaeda were schoolgirls compared to the yet-more radical Saudi offshoot of ISIS.)  Of course, wealthy Saudi Wahhabists have also funded terrorist efforts throughout the middle east and in particular against Israel... and we have pretended not to notice.  Pity.  Meanwhile, powerful elements within the Saudi royal family and among other influential persons have gone on to seek a more violent, evil, yet ideologically pure form of Islamic fundamentalism.  

    Enter, the Iraq war.  This new species of Islam spread into Iraq, especially after the US overthrew Saddam -- who mostly kept that sort of terrorism in check, by killing everyone who happened to present even a potential challenge to his authority, and sometimes in relatively creative ways.  Barbaric and evil as it may have been, the US never really cared about Muslims killing other Muslims; or arabs killing other arabs... until Saddam became inconvenient, but thats another conversation for another day.  The point is that there's a direct line between Saudi islamic extremism and the rise of the so called "Islamic State" (which, again, was never a state... so much as a loose confederation of pathological lost Muslim boys and men whose rage at the world and their fellow Muslims was was wanton as it was ubiquitous).  

    Obama, of course, knew all of this and our relationship with the Saudis strained considerably.  Members of the Royal Family who were once reliable seemed to be ceding power to more questionable forces within Saudi leadership, and their increasingly inexcusable record of human rights abuses (murdering gay men including several teenage boys, stoning rape victims, forcing underage rape victims to marry their rapists, flogging blasphemers if not murdering them, etc.) became increasingly more difficult for the West to reconcile -- in light of its invasions of, say, other countries under the pretext of human rights.  The Saudis also grew resentful over the fact that Obama used global oil prices to wage geopolitical warfare on Russia, which had the salutary effect of decimating global oil prices and placing oil at the lowest per-barrel prices it had seen in more than two decades.  

    More to come... stay tuned. 
  • coal
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    --> @Tejretics
    However, one particularly evil "up and comer" in the Saudi Royal family offered what US policy makers, or, at least, some of them, thought might be a "reformer".  This person was Mohammed Bin Salam, referred to in the media as MBS.  The problem with MBS is that he is poorly educated, not especially bright, rash, arrogant, and entitled.  He may have influence in Saudi Arabia, but it's not likely to last because he's neither politically especially savvy, nor will anything he does prevent him from facing some unique challenges once Trump is out of office.  Kushner, however, is using MBS as a way in with the Saudis.  Recall that weapons package that MBS and Kushner brokered, in which US made cruise missiles were used to murder school children in Yemen.  The Saudis have wanted that technology since Bush was in office.  Bush wouldn't give it to them.  Obama wouldn't give it to them.  Trump did, and they murdered school children.  Their excuse?  "Oops!" 

    Disgusting.  The the extent of Saudi filth does not end, sadly, with murdered school children.  The country is little more than an ISIS that had the wherewithal to maintain themselves as a state... for now.  Today, Syria approaches the status of being a failed state.  Expect that if MBS continues to draw closer with Russia, Riyadh will look like Aleppo.  This is especially lamentable given that Syria was, by any objective standard, a country that could have at one point been brought back from the dark side.  Now, that's not looking very likely.  While I have no problem with Assad using chemical weapons against ISIS, when he murdered women and children with chlorine gas, intervention was required.  

    In any case, nothing would make me happier than to see the US hang the Saudi's out to dry.  Sadly, Trump is doing what he can to sabotage the Iran deal so that he can use that as a pretext to arm the Saudis, and they will give him a golden parachute out of the United States once the Muller Report is published. 




  • Greyparrot
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    --> @coal
    What's your opinion on why Obama brokered a 115 billion$ arms deal with Saudi Arabia?


  • Mharman
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    --> @Greyparrot
    LOL!
  • Mharman
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    --> @coal
    You had me listening until you went full Trump-Russia conspiracy theory.
  • disgusted
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    --> @Mharman
    Citation
  • Mharman
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    Just take a look at the last paragraph.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @coal
    Also, how do you feel about Critical Race Theory being taught in schools?
  • coal
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    --> @Greyparrot
    Wrong thread.
  • coal
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    --> @Mharman
    Your disinclination to acknowledge basic facts about Trump and Russia does not change what those facts are. 
  • coal
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    --> @Greyparrot
    Obama did not sell the same type of weapons to the Saudis that Trump did.  Nonetheless, I disapprove of any effort by any administration to give aid or comfort to the terrorist state of Saudi Arabia of any kind, including those done by the Obama administration. 
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Mharman
    This isn't a "LOL" thread. If you don't like the answers, don't ask the questions.
  • disgusted
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    --> @Mharman
    Nothing there that could be misconstrued as "full Trump-Russia conspiracy theory."
  • Mharman
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    --> @Greyparrot

    I was laughing at Post #10. That was great.



  • Mharman
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    --> @coal
    What facts? Do you mean the BS spewed by the leftist media and congressional Democrats?

  • Mharman
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    --> @disgusted

  • disgusted
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    --> @Mharman
    Don't be concerned you never really presented an argument worth rebutting, I just did it for laughs.
  • Mharman
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    --> @coal
    How the hell would getting rid of the Iran deal benefit the Saudis?