The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the KSA), needs to Kiss Iranian Ass (KIA). The Heads of State of China (Xi), and Pakistan are traveling to Tehran and Riyadh this week to defuse hostilities between the two governments. And, I’m sitting back in a coffee shop, thinking to myself: who started this animosity? Why are there hostilities between the governments? I mean it wasn’t so hostile 35 years ago – right?
Now, as you can probably tell from my ‘moniker’ (the Supreme [Dr.] baharmedia Kh.Kh.Kh.) – I am no fan of the regime in Tehran. But, people need to be decent, fair and above all objective. What are the facts here? Who did what to who, when?
First of all, lets understand why China (and Pakistan) are suddenly involved. China imports about 7 million barrels of oil a day. Roughly 60 % of this comes through the Straits of Hormuz, and roughly 80% of it flows through the straits of Malacca (near Singapore). China is heavily invested in Iranian and Iraqi oil production; and imports several million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia alone. In addition, the price of oil has a fundamental impact on the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is on the rocks (check out the near 20% drop in the Shanghai market past few weeks), and any sudden increase in oil prices would put China on its back.
A shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz would be devastating, and most likely bring BOTH China and the United States into something of an alliance to restore shipments. China, traditionally prefers to resort to private diplomacy instead of military force to resolve these sorts of issues. With the risk of escalation, Xi’s visit to the region is a good move.
Pakistan on the other hand, is a Saudi Arabian lackey, and was probably asked by Riyadh to help diffuse the situation. Pakistan’s involvement is a sign that the Saudi’s do want to de-escalate; although their actions (especially the impetuous, short-sighted, even dumb actions) of the 29-year-old upstart prince in charge of the Saudi Defense establishment and Saudi Aramco oil company, have sent completely different signals.
In my mind, actions speak louder than words, and here is a list of specific actions Saudi Arabia has taken that can only be interpreted as destructive or down right evil towards Iran (and Shiites). Can someone give me a comparable list of actions the Mullahs in Iran have taken that has been similarly (in scale and scope) of evil?
So I did a quick google search, and I found that:
- ISIS is supported by KSA
There is no secret about this. ISIS by all accounts is supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qater, Israel, Europeans and the U.S. But of these backers, Saudi Arabia, was fundamental to the setup of the group; and involved in financing and arming ISIS since 2006. Yes, for over 10 years, the ‘gangs’ that eventually became ISIS, were being quietly set up by Saudi Intelligence to undermine the Shiite government in Iraq, and Iranian influence in the region. It’s a simple fact.
Now that ISIS has gone rogue, all of ISIS’s backers are in denial mode. The dogs (ISIS), have turned on everyone – started slaughtering people – the world got outraged and now suddenly they are the enemy.
But the history is clear. And one fact has been consistently true: the only group consistently fighting ISIS since its inception has been Iran. ISIS has been Iran’s most serious, most bloody regional enemy. And, naturally, the KSA, has essentially financed its way to becoming Iran’s enemy.ISIS is basically fighting Saudi Arabia (aka KSA)’s proxy war against Iran.
But it’s a war Iran did not start!
- The Iran-Iraq was sponsored by the KSA
In the summer of 1980, Saddam Hussein visited the Royals in Saudi Arabia, and handed a message from Jimmy Carter through the Saudis. Carter believed that Khomeini had ‘turned’ on him (after he had helped topple the Shah and engineered Khomeini’s rise) and wanted the new regime in Tehran toppled. The Saudi told Hussein that they would provide Iraq with financial assistance and intelligence. They suggested that if Saddam Hussein succeeded, he would become the defacto leader of the Arab world, a modern “Nasser”! The message was seductive.
And several months later, Iraq invaded Iran. Iran’s oil industry was shut down, and Iraqi troops took over key Iranian southern provinces. This started a massive, 8 year war that led to over 1 million casualties on both sides. Saudi Arabia provided massive loans to Iraq. And when the war ended, in a stale mate, Saudi Arabia found itself with hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Saddam Hussein – who was in no shape to pay it back. The war Saudi Arabia had precipitated, led to serious boomerang impact on Saudi Arabia itself.
Saudi Arabia not only supported Iraq, but encouraged other Arab states to do so. Lavish multi-billion dollar loans were provided – ALL in the name of war against Iran.
Again this was another Saudi proxy war that Iran did not start.
- The KSA killed a leading Shiite Cleric
Nimr al-Nimr, 57, a Shiite cleric from Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, was a well-known figure at anti-government demonstrations and criticized Saudi rulers in some of his sermons for their treatment of the kingdom’s Shiite minority. In 2009, he threatened to lead Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslims to secession, provoking a government crackdown in the minority’s eastern heartland.
He had been arrested numerous times, before his final arrest on 8 July 2012. Apparently Saudi police shot al-Nimr in the leg and arrested him in what police described as an “exchange of gunfire.” Saudi police fired into a crowd of thousands who protested al-Nimr’s arrest, killing two men, Akbar al-Shakhouri and Mohamed al-Felfel. Al-Nimr started a hunger strike and allegedly was tortured.The Asharq Center for Human Rights expressed concern for al-Nimr’s health during his hunger strike on 21 August, calling for international support to allow access by family, lawyer and human rights activists. On 15 October 2014 al-Nimr was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court for “seeking ‘foreign meddling’ in Saudi Arabia, ‘disobeying’ its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces. He was executed on or shortly before 2 January 2016, along with 46 others.
The question everyone in the media had was, why was he killed now? His death sentence was handed out over a year ago. It seemed as if, Saudi Arabia’s new ruling family wanted to send a message to Iran. But why now? And by the way, Saudi’s had arrested Shiite clerics before, and even handed out death sentences. But never followed through with executions. Ever.
So what changed? Why is there suddenly new animosity versus Iran?
- 464 Iranian pilgrims died in the KSA in September
For some stupid reason, there was a stampede during this year’s Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and 464 Iranians died. Needless to say, Iranian authorities were besides themselves. This follows on a prior event in 1987, where 275 Iranians were also killed in Mecca during Hajj.
The rage over these deaths has been huge inside Iran; and it both instances it was followed by misinformation, and mismanagement on the Saudi side, which raised suspicions. The original death count this year was 275, and nine days later it became 464 Iranians.
In conspiracy minded Iran, these deaths were planned and premeditated. And the Saudi’s did nothing to dispel Iranian fears. And to make matters worse, the Saudis have now banned Iranians from participating in the Hajj.
Now, I have a simple question in my dead, did the government of Iran cause these deaths? Again more trouble – disseminating from Inside Saudi Arabia (Not Iran)!
- The KSA continues to support local dictators and war with Iran
In November 2010, whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, disclosed that King Abdullah has repeatedly urged the US to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear program. And the Saudi ambassador to U.S. (who is now the foreign minister) urged Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” referring to Iran.
According to a London Sunday Times report. Saudi Arabia has already given Israel the green light to use its airspace in the case of an attack on Iran. “Once the Geneva agreement is signed, the military option will be back on the table. The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs,” an unnamed diplomatic source told the paper.
Very recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the French Daily: Le Figaro about the situation, stating that Israel and the “leading state in the Arab world” (Saudi Arabia that is) agree when it comes to Tehran and its nuclear capabilities.
Saudi Arabia simply hasn’t stopped ‘wishing’ war on Iran!
You can’t blame any part of this animosity on the Sunni-Shiite rivalry. Saudi Arabia itself has a very large Shiite population. I mean, there is NOT a fundamental religious dispute at work here that has led to the animosity. During the 1960s and 1970s the two countries were actually in a strategic alliance with considerable political, military and security interactions. The West, and the US in particular, used these two states to deter the influence of Soviet communism in the Middle East.
The Mullahs have always (rightly) regarded Saudi Arabia as a proxy of the “Great Satan” (the U.S.) in the region. And the Mullah’s fear being undermined by the U.S. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has accused Tehran of attempting to export its revolution…via its minority Shiite population.
“The Saudis’ worst nightmare would be the administration striking a grand bargain with Iran,” said former diplomat Robert Jordan, who was US ambassador to Riyadh from 2001 to 2003.
But, you really have to wonder why? How has Iran threatened Saudi Arabia – in any way? Saudi government insecurity with its Shiite minority is not of Iran’s making. Are Americans paranoid about Mexico stirring the pot with its minority Mexican-American population? If there are issues with Hispanics in the U.S. it’s largely the outcome of domestic issues – not U.S. – Mexican relations. I believe, the Saudis are fundamentally mischaracterizing Iran’s role with its own internal issues. Iran is right to be sympathetic to the plight of Shiites; but it is not fundamentally responsible for their alienation and unhappiness. Saudi Arabia is scapegoating Iran, when it should be more focused on its own internal dynamics. i.e. the lack of freedom, and democracy, wealth distribution, etc. etc.
There is a more fundamental truth than all this. Iran is simply a convenient scapegoat – assisting those in power in Saudi Arabia in their other battles. It is a simple fact that the Saudis have become increasingly isolated. So in an effort to end their isolation, the Saudis are spotlighting Iran, and pointing to Iran (not them) as ‘THE’ destabilizing force in the region. By killing Sheikh al-Nimr (the Saudi Shiite cleric) there were in fact trying to provoke Iran into a radical reaction just as sanctions are about to be lifted.
It is important to also recognize that one method of containing the destabilizing internal discord is for those in power to create and intensify an external conflict and thus silence the internal challenges to their power. Hence the spat with Iran.
The actions Saudi Arabia are taking are not only brutal, and extreme, but completely misguided. They will not lead to peace and de-escalation in the region. In fact, they are their own worst enemies. Only ruthless idiots would behave like Saudi princes. Their days are numbered and it’s not because of Iran. Maybe the days of the Mullahs are numbered too…but it won’t be because of Saudi Arabia.
My bet is, the Mullahs will outlast the Royals in KSA. But, one thing I do not need to bet on, is the simple fact that Iran HAS NOT caused Saudi Arabia harm. Iran and ‘Shiites’ are simply being used as a scapegoat by a very insecure, totalitarian state to deflect blame.
So my message to Chinese and Pakistani mediators, is: you need to spend time in KSA to share some wisdom with the Royals. Teach the young impetuous prince, nobody is stupid and we can see right through their behavior. It’s very clear that they are using Iran as a scapegoat for their internal problems. And they need to stop externalizing and start looking in the mirror. The problem my friends is within Saudi Arabia – not outside. We all know it.Everyone knows how primitive and brutal they are. It’s a simple fact that they sponsored ISIS’s killers, and that 9/11 hijackers, Osama Bin Laden, … etc. etc. all came out of Saudi Arabia – NOT Iran.
They can throw their money around, and try their best to portray Iranians as evil. But facts are facts. The Saudis are in a state of panic all around – from diminishing status in OPEC and dwindling reserves (CASH), to its proxy wars that they cannot afford to let turn no full-fledged wars and its growing friendlessness. The fact that oil fell briefly below $30 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time in 12 years is hurting Saudi Arabia too. At the end of the day, Saudi Arabia has overextended itself, and overestimated its prowess. Iran has a much larger population, and a much larger military that is very experienced at war. Saudi Arabia does not have the clout that it once had to be able to go to war with Iran effectively. Do they really want to start an all-out war against Iran?
So the message to KSA’s royals is they need to KIA!