September 11, 2011

U.S., Palestinian statehood and Arab-world credibility

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal pens a mildly worded but strongly voiced op-ed in the New York Times saying the U.S. needs to support Palestinian statehood at the U.N. rather than "risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world."

If that's not a shot across the bow, this should be:
Moreover, Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America in the same way it historically has. With most of the Arab world in upheaval, the “special relationship” between Saudi Arabia and the United States would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people. 

Saudi leaders would be forced by domestic and regional pressures to adopt a far more independent and assertive foreign policy. Like our recent military support for Bahrain’s monarchy, which America opposed, Saudi Arabia would pursue other policies at odds with those of the United States, including opposing the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Iraq and refusing to open an embassy there despite American pressure to do so.

 That's a big, big threat there. In Iraq, that would mean the Anbar Awakening would re-awaken; Shi'a-Sunni warfare would start over. That's especially true if "opposing Maliki" meant the Saudis (through appropriate third-party funneling) actually started providing money, arms or both to an Anbar Re-Awakening. The U.S. would either be hamstrung or else forced to keep more troops there. And, Iran would surely up its support for Moqtada al-Sadr, who would probably push Maliki to fight back harder, or else would himself disavow the Maliki government.

And, in an ongoing recession, if we do start to recover, any would-be Saudi help on oil supplies could go by the boards. Turki doesn't mention that, but ... does he have to?

Other than that, Turki is right: The only real losers from a Palestinian state, at least one with Hamas marginalized and the Palestinian Authority in charge, are Syria (and proxies in Lebanon) and Iran.

At the same time, as Israeli-Egyptian events of the past two weeks have shown, Tel Aviv is feeling isolated indeed. If the Saudis are leaning on us in public, they're leaning on the Netanyahu government through third channels, too.

And, Turki didn't write this column alone. This is the public expression, in some way, shape or form, of what Riyadh has privately told the Obama Administration through diplomatic channels in the past few weeks.

Will Dear Leader listen, or will he listen to Zionists and semi-Zionists in the U.S. instead?

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