Friday, 30 January 2015

"Is it time to make Iran our friend and Saudi Arabia our enemy?"

... asks The Guardian, of all papers.
And "YES", I would say (at least to the bit about Saudi Arabia).
That article just a day after Simon Tisdall's article "Saudi Araiba and the west: how a cosy relationship turned toxic". So it seems The Guardian has something of a campaign for a change in the west's relationship with Saudi Arabia.
And not before time, either.
It's long been one of those things "I don't get".  Why should the west, the US in particular, be allies with that horrid country?
Tindall lists its poisonous doings:
The relationship with the west has survived several wars between Israelis and Arabs, in Afghanistan and in Iraq (twice); the chilling predominance of Saudi nationals in the 9/11 attacks and the rise of al-Qaida; serious bribery and corruption scandals and diplomatic rifts; recurring oil crises; deepening concern over Saudi funding for extremist religious teaching and its links to terrorism; escalating rows about egregious human rights abuses and the repression of women, and most recently, the Syrian calamity and the ascendancy of the black-shirted head-cutters of Islamic State.
To which he could (should) have added Saudi funding of mosques throughout the west, with donations of extremist literature, well documented in at least five studies.
Of course the key reason for having them as an ally was the oil needs of the west.  But then a seller always needs buyers.  Did the buyers, the US and Europe, need to be quite so wilfully blind to the shenanigans of this terrorist-supporting, woman-stoning, head-cutting state?  Even as it needed Saudi oil? Did W Bush really need to hold hands with the old bugger, the newly-deceased king?  Did Obama need to bow to him?
Now that the oil issue, at least for the US, is much less important, what with shale oil and all, the question as to why ally with the horrid Saudis is more urgent, more germane.
Johan Hari posits his reason here.  The main one being that if not for the House of Saud, there would be no counterweight, within the country, to the Wahhabists.  So, from bad to worse.  Maybe.
But how much worse could they really be.
Not much.  See the wonderful Pat Condell on the Kingdom...  They couldn't be much worse.
[LATER: "Why are we friends with Saudi Arabia?"  An earlier Condell rant...]