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March 28, 2007


What the hell is Cheney trying to accomplish... beside controlling every major policy decision.

I think the Saudi's are going to strike a deal with the Russians, who are closer, not currently menacing, and a lot better informed and careful than the current cuckoos who are gutting our foreign policy, our government and everything we thought we stood for as a people.

BooMan has pointed out that Jordon's King Abdullah has opted out of a Sept meet in DC as well. His moderate voice has fallen on deaf ears one too many times.

Yeah, I was going to add that, mainsail.

Which suggests the Sunni "moderates" may finally have lost patience, across the board.

Particularly interesting since Jordan, in particular, has had a good look at our intell work in hte Middle East.

Hello Marcy

I think perhaps this might be the Bush Administration's tipping point, a final one for the US, more or less, begun by Johnson's tipping point in 1967 when Israel demolished the USS Liberty and he did nothing. Things happen very slowly in the Arab world and they are also very optimistic. It is likely they went on believing the BS the Bushes dealt them "We are your friends!" until they have finally lost that patience. If Bush bombs Iran, Iran will flatten the oil installations on the other side of the Gulf. The Sa'udis know this, as do lots of people --- all except Bush; his not-caring must be irritating the Sa'udis.

Rice sticks out as real light weight in her job and utterly unbelievable. Israel has done so extraordinarily horrendously on the West Bank -- no one seems to have pointed out that the walling-off and increased road blocks completely prevent any cohesion to the small quantity of land they have left to the genuine owners of the land, the Palestinians.

The Sa'udi loss of patience could be very dangerous to our economy indeed. The Chinese for the moment, and other parts of the developing world in the future, could take a large quantity of the oil output. Perhaps Sa'udi will say "adios!" to us.

Jordan's losing patience is very dangerous to our armed forces in Iraq. If Bush bombs Iran the Iranians will pour over the long Iraq/Iran border, and we do not have enough soldiers to do anything but leave. The only ways out are difficult through Kurdistan to turkey -- a very long way, --- out through Syria Ha! Ha1, --- or out through Jordan. If we irritate Jordan too much life could be difficult. Jordan is a great safe country to have at our backs now; it would not be fun for Jordan to become even only ambivalent.

We have supported Israel so far down the road we casn probably put things right only by forcing Israel to return to General Assembly 181 of 1947 with full reparations, and for them to hope the Palestinians will accept that!

Jordon's King Abdullah spoke to a joint session of Congress recently. He believes the Iraq occupation will ignite up to three more civil wars unless they can head it off.

He must believe the DC meeting to be a thorough waste of time or even counterproductive. We know he's committed to finding a peaceful resolution.

Abdullah went to private school in the US, Deerfield Academy. He was captain of the wrestling team.

Actually it was a diarist who wrote the post you referenced, his name is Sun Tzu. Just an FYI.

Well, and perhaps I am dooms daying here, but where does China fit in the mix. It seems to me that I have read that they are building alliances with Iran and Saudi. We owe both Saudi and China a lot of money. I don't think it will end at a worst case scenario because there are an awful lot of smart people who will intervene eventually and I remember what just 8 years of Clinton did in regard to relationships around the world. (and how quickly relationships can sour under new management) Point being that there is flexiblility that comes with new leadership.

so which side is dead eye dick on, the Sunni or the Shia ???

does anybody know ???

seems to me that we're on BOTH sides in this argument

we don't call them mayberry macavellians for nothing

We really don't know who we are fighting in the ME. First we hear we are fighting al-Qaeda, then the Ba'athist deadenders and the Sunni resistance, then Moqtada al-Sadr and the Shi'ite death squads, then we support the Shi'ites because they are the majority and have the balance of power in the government, such as it is.

Then towards the end of last year we hear we are considering either a "tilt Shi'a" option because, after all, they are the majority, but wait, no, it is a pro-Sunni tilt with our BFF's the Saudis because we hate Iran and they support the Shi'ites.

All through this we prohibit Israel, supposedly our bestest BFF, from talking to Iran or Syria, and of course we won't either, and the Saudis shouldn't either.

No wonder the Saudis and Jordanians are concluding that we are absolute amateurs who don't know the first thing about what we are doing in this part of the world. We have no clear objectives here. All we have are conflicting slogans like "Be resolute!" "Support Democracy! (if they elect the right people)" "No land for peace!" And it all just comes down to no peace, perpetual war.

No wonder the rest of the workd thinks we are dangerous.

steve clemons was trying to make the point that condi should appeal directly to george for support since it appears that cheney is attempting to sabotage her efforts... steve is passionately dedicated to reason and moderation but insists on advocating reasonable actions to steadfastly unreasonable people... thinking that george is going to respond to ANYTHING reasonable has a six-plus year track record of being a complete waste of time... moreover, i can't think of a single indication that george DOESN'T support whatever it is that darth is up to... finally, i suspect that condi was attempting to make some moves of her own in hopes that the utter disarray the white house is in post-libby and mid-gonzogate would be enough of a distraction to keep darth off the scent... guess not... in any case, i wouldn't give you a nickel for the time or energy of trying to get george's support...


"No wonder the Saudis and Jordanians are concluding that we are absolute amateurs who don't know the first thing about what we are doing in this part of the world."

Well, what we have here is a 250 year old country trying to play politics with countries ten times that old. Muscle only goes so far.

It would be very ironic if it were a Bush administration that severed the special relationship between Saudia Arabia and the US. On the one hand, it is possible that it is payback time for the Bush/Cheney strategy of setting up Iraq as an alternative to the Saudis as oil supplier and miltary outpost. It may also be that the Saudis feel the need to cut themselves loose from the US given the spiralling destabilization and radicalization in the Middle East. Nevertheless, if Hoagland is reporting it I can't help thinking it may in reality be some inscrutable Kabuki (or is there an Arabic equivalent?). I have never gotten any sense that the Saudi ruling class has any desire or sees any upside in moving out of the US sphere of influence.

I think your instincts are right on target, Marcy. I have been to KSA several times (and lived there for 6 mos) and have traveled widely in the Arab world--and it is, indeed, a very big deal for the Saudi King to publically turn his back on Bush in the way that he is. Arabs are extremely courteous people (when they are not in the street!)--and the Saudis are the most polite of all. One does not ever shame an ally/friend in public, cause him to loose face. Period.

I have been thinking about this all day, and I think this is payback to the Bush family for causing KSA to loose face, both with regard to Iraq (supporting the Shia at the expense of the Sunni minority) and Israel. Particularly Israel. I also think that Cheney was read the riot act (a scene to which I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall--imagine someone rapping Darth Vadar's knuckles!) when he was summoned to Rhiyadh a few months ago, and since Cheney has obviously not taken their "lecture" to heart, they are making good on a threat they implied then.

KSA has long realized that they do not need the US as an oil customer--they have been assiduously cultivating economic and diplomatic ties with the Asian tigers for some time (if you read the Saudi press, you will see that they have been making a big deal about this), so unless there is a strategic advantage for maintaining their "special" relationship with the US, well, why put up with the baggage?

I am particularly fascinated that they sent Bandar, of all people, to deliver the news. That is a direct slap in the face to Poppy Bush for not managing his boy better. The Saudis are intimately familiar with these kinds of dynamics, and while they were likely to cut Geo Sr some slack--for awhile--they are communicating to him in no uncertain terms that they have lost all respect for him.

I don't think the Saudis objected to our removing our bases, did they? It was a major objection of bin Laden's, IIRC, and others in the Islamic world, since Saudi incudes Mecca and Medina, the two holiest shrines in Islam (3rd being Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem). I'm also not so sure they completely mind being off the hook as our primary supplier, especially if they have degraded their fields through overpumping. But they do want our protection against any invader.

Our being stuck in Iraq and stuck to Israel is starting to make that problematic, however. Perhaps the Saudis have concluded they can't really count on us and are trying to make a separate accommodation with Iran (which, incidently, has never shown any territorial ambitions outside its borders under the mullahs; don't confuse them with the ancient Persians).

I did like the apt image of Condi dancing with a corpse, though.

just look at the population of saudi arabia and the united arab emirates, etc.

if every child over 6 was inducted into their armies, these tiny nations still would not have enough people to protect their borders or their oil in any sustained conflict with iran, iraq, or egypt.

should they continue to depend on the united states for protection?

we are probably not going to get anywhere with the saudis in the next two years because of the inflexibility of this presidency,


we have a large pool of area and subject matter experts inside the state dept and out (though probably less inside than in 2000),

and a large number of experienced politicians and diplomats who could lead negotiations in the middle east for the united states - to the benefit of the united states AND the countries of the region.

the problem is the bush administration has NEVER displayed the slightest interest in employing any of this talent or experience.

let's hope we can muddle thru until january 2009.

whoever comes next will surely understand that sunshine, soybeans, corn, switch-grass and technology won't do the job in the short run.

we need time to develop alternative energies for a nation so large as ours.

we have wasted 6, soon to be 8, years of precious time.

and compounding our folly, we have created a chaotic power vacuum in just that area where the oil we need is mined.

there's a word for this kind of behavior:

it's spelled S-T-U-P-I-D-I-T-Y.

My reaction to these stories was that being an ally of the US in the middle east must be a huge burden at this point, and all the nations there say things among themselves (perhaps for local PR) that often differ from what we hear.

There is also a large risk of further destabilisation because of Iraq and maybe an opportunity (in addition to a real need) for Iraq's neighbors to work together and find a successful exit from this mess that we made.

I also wouldn't blame people in the region for walking away from the WH until someone else is in charge.


Everyone who has not read this, should. Immediately. It shows the level of amateurism the administration has reached. And it is shocking.

If you were a Saudi and read this article, you'd back away from this administration, too.

Willful idiocy, blindness, and...god help us.

Yeah, this is the game. The next shoe to drop is in the Israeli media. I'll be watching there.

Haaretz is alway a place to check out.

Different words for different ears, as it suits the needs of the day.

I have no idea what the real story might be, but I would not jump to too many conclusions based upon one publicity stunt.

One thing makes me nervous. If the Saudis KNEW that we were ready to attack Iran, wouldn't they want to distance themselves from us in a showy way to avoid repercussions?

Bush has done too much damage, with more to come,he must be impeached. E.W.you are a national treasure.

k. jensen said:

We owe both Saudi and China a lot of money. I don't think it will end at a worst case scenario […]

So long as things don't get much worse politically I'm sure you're right, at least that our creditors won't pull the plug; after all, they have an interest.

But if a weapon against us were needed, I think it would be in the financial markets, especially since in many other ways the U.S. financial position right now is shaky. In today's news,

Indirect bidders [on new U.S. Treasury notes], which include foreign central banks, bought 29 percent of the two-year sale, down from 52 percent in February.

“Demand that was there is gone, and it's a little bit of a worry[. …] It's doubtful that the five year [to be auctioned today] will do well if the two year had trouble.”
[My emphases—pd]

In an annus horribilis like this one is shaping up to be for Some, who knows what that means? Coincidence? A coming Long Good Friday if Some don't stop acting like they have all the cards? My official bet is nobody knows nothin'.

I'll also speculate that Abdullah doesn't want to be in DC in April because he expects that Iran will be topic number one in the news, talk about awkward.

For me, a connection between Abdullah's behavior and forecasting any movement Palestinian-Israeli dispute isn't clear, it's a rallying point.

We're talking about a gang of trustafarians and hatchlings from the sheltered environments of right-wing think-tanks, where the free flow of ideas isn't exactly encouraged. They learn how to demagogue and how to cheat, but they don't learn how to think for themselves and they certainly don't learn how to cooperate.

The latest example: When it was revealed that 95% of Bush Junta e-mails were sent not on government e-mail but on Republican National Committee servers, the Bushies stopped sending stuff by e-mail and now -- get this -- use TEXT MESSAGING. From CELL PHONES. Which are NOT AT ALL SECURE.

Here's a good article about Abdullah and the Saudi's thinking, from my perspective:


A Tony Karon piece on the same topic.

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