This brings us to Saudi Arabia, whose relations with Iran are passing through a period of mutual antipathy bordering on hostility. Tehran has alleged that Iranian hajj pilgrims are being maltreated by Saudi authorities and that Saudi intelligence is accountable for the mysterious disappearance of an Iranian nuclear scientist who was on pilgrimage to Mecca recently.
Saudi newspapers with links to the establishment have carried in recent months extremely vituperative attacks against the regime in Tehran, often at a personal level directed against the Iranian leadership. They have almost gone into mourning now that the turmoil on Tehran’s streets following the disputed presidential election has receded. Ahmadinejad has alleged that his opposition kept up links with Riyadh in trying to bring about “regime change” in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia has two great worries over Iran. First, that Obama is pressing ahead with the normalization process with Tehran – a “thaw” was visible at the Geneva talks on October 1- and Tehran has begun responding to US overtures. The worst Saudi nightmare is coming true.
I’ve been watching this for a long time, but most Americans are oblivious to this.
Middle Eastern politics are never simple. Anyone who reads the Old Testament carefully will know this. But Americans on both sides of the political spectrum all too easily fall into simplistic moralising on the subject. The Obama Administration’s semi-orchestrated retreat from being a world power will bring conflicts like this to the surface. But we’ve always been trapped in a “fight or flee” mentality, and the bill for that is going to come due in a hurry.
As always, it’s time to pray…