March 24, 2011
Saudi Tanks Roll Where Obama Fears To Tread
Saudi Arabia is the last country an American should respect, having spawned fifteen of the nineteen 9-11 murderers and continuing to fund and spew hate-filled, anti-Western, anti-Semitic Wahhabi-inspired propaganda everywhere in the world. But however grudgingly, we must tip our hats to a country with a coherent foreign policy that uses its military -- unilaterally and unapologetically -- to defend its interests and allies against real or perceived threats. Hence we might almost applaud as Saudi tanks boldly rolled through the streets of Shia-dominated Bahrain to guard its Sunni monarch and staunch Saudi ally King al-Khalifa against potential overthrow by Iranian-backed street mobs.
Behaving like a superpower concerned about its survival and willing to defend its friends, Saudi Arabia sent dozens of tanks via the King Fahd causeway into neighboring Bahrain. King al-Khalifa thanked the Saudis profusely, clearly unconcerned about the opinion of the international community as the Saudi contingent crossed into Bahrain without permission from the Arab League or the sanction from a UN Security Council plebiscite.
It's possible to imagine that the aggressive Saudis were actually inspired by past American presidents and their martial resolve. In the ante-Obaman age when Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the steely George H.W. Bush announced: "This will not stand..." And it didn't.
His son stood on the World Trade Center rubble in 2001 and proclaimed resolutely: "And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." And indeed they did.
But when the Libyan multi-generational thug Muammar Gaddafi, who among other crimes ordered the killing of 189 Americans on Pan-Am Flight 103 in 1988, turned his bloodthirsty apparatus on his own citizens, Barack Obama whispered from his makeshift faculty lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue: "He has lost all legitimacy and he must go. . ." But Gaddafi decided to stay, taunting and ridiculing this "son of Africa."
Enfeebled Obama was eventually embarrassed enough by Hillary Clinton and others to jump into action against Libya especially after the West's two new superpowers -- France and England -- promised to inject forces first. Perhaps Hillary's militarist pleadings reminded Obama that even the sex-obsessed Bill Clinton finally halted the genocide in the former Yugoslavia, though mostly through sanitized bombing from 30,000 feet. Apparently sex obsession is less debilitating for decision-makers than basketball obsession.
Surely, recent events in North Africa and the Middle-East have shaken the Kingdom to its core. The Saudis (and the Israelis) warned Obama not to throw Egypt's Hosni Mubarak overboard publicly even if they knew that Mubarak's military was hoping to push him into retirement privately. And now Saudis see that once stable autocrats and theocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and elsewhere are all teetering.
The ummah is in turmoil if not aflame in half a dozen countries and the leading sponsor, official and unofficial, is Iran, the Saudi nemesis that Obama refuses to confront head on even as Ahmadinejad leads them to Shia hegemony through nuclear dominance.
Could the Saudis or anyone else make sense of Obama's choice to support the jettisoning of Mubarak, a thirty-year US ally, in favor of so-called Egyptian democrats when Obama supported the ruthless Iranian mullahs against Iranian democrats just eighteen months earlier? And how could an oppressive, unpopular Saudi governing elite stand by as their similarly structured Bahraini neighbor with an Iranian supported opposition stumbles toward anarchy?
With the US Navy 5th Fleet home port of Bahrain, the most support the Obama team could muster for King al-Khalifa were the dreaded bromides from secretaries Clinton and Gates demanding that the kingdom liberalize. Why, the Saudis must wonder, do Obama and his military and diplomatic chiefs feel the need to meddle in their affairs when the entire US diplomatic apparatus refused to meddle in the more ominous affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Hillary Clinton, who recently announced that, regardless of Obama's fate she will leave the post at State at the end of his current term, has suddenly morphed into Margaret Thatcher. She and her boss threw average Hondurans and Iranians under the bus during earlier crises, but somehow she felt she had to draw the line in the Libyan sands.
The Saudis, tired of Obama's reluctant, indecisive and incoherent Middle East policy, have decided to take matters into their own hands. If they continue in this direction and leave the American sphere, the Saudis will inevitably drift into the welcoming embrace of Pakistan for nuclear technology and into China's whose burgeoning demand for oil will tie it to the guardian of Mecca and Medina.
In a few short years, Obama has managed to neuter sixty-five years of accumulated American power and global prestige. And in the last few weeks he has set into stone an even more a damning presidential assessment: Barack Obama lost not only Egypt and Saudi Arabia but the entire Middle East.
Most incompetent presidents are content to lose just a single country while they hold power. But Barack Obama was not about to be outdone by Jimmy Carter who only lost Iran.
Claude can be reached at email@example.com.