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Yemen update 5\16\2015..Saudi rulers, with a Machiavellian streak

Saturday, May 16, 2015 13:42
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(Before It's News)

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Saudi Option of Yemen War to Blow Iran P5+1 Deal

By Finian Cunningham

The Obama White House pulled out all the stops this week to indulge the «insecure» Persian Gulf Arab oil sheikhdoms. The assurances lavished by President Obama on his guests – with meetings in the Oval Office and later at the presidential retreat Camp David – may assuage Arab feelings of insecurity in the short-term. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir enthused at the conclusion of the first US-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, describing it as «historic».

But there seems little doubt that the bitter relations that have been festering between the Saudi-led GCC and its main Western patron in Washington will continue to deepen and corrode the «extraordinary relationship» that Obama tried to talk up.

That festering resentment towards Washington among the Saudi rulers especially may play out in an escalation of the Yemen crisis by the Saudis as a calculated way to sabotage the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran. The Saudis see that potential deal as a sell-out by the Americans. The temptation will be for them to force Washington to take sides over a ramped-up war in Yemen, which they are trying to portray – without any evidence – as an «Iranian backdoor» to the Arabian Peninsula. An escalation of the conflict in Yemen and provocations to Iran, such as attacks on its humanitarian aid convoys, may draw Tehran into an open war. That result would scotch any P5+1 nuclear deal, which is what the Saudis really want.

Against a backdrop of tensions that have been simmering for months, this week the American president tried his best to pander to his Arab guests. Obama referred to a friendship «dating back to Franklin Roosevelt» when the US first embarked on a strategic pact with Saudi Arabia’s founder Ibn Saud in 1945; Obama talked of his country and the Persian Gulf Arab sheikhdoms being the «cornerstone» of regional security; and he promised a new defence partnership «to face external aggression» with «fast-tracking of American weapons transfers».

Nevertheless, despite the grandiloquence, Obama fell short by not unveiling a written military treaty between the US and the Arab sheikhdoms. A new formal defence pact was what the Gulf rulers had been demanding ahead of the US-GCC summit this week.

Days before the summit opened, an editorial in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Aswat newspaper put it starkly to Obama: «Actions speak louder than words.» The paper, which reflects conservative Saudi thinking, urged the Obama administration to enshrine a binding military pact with the Gulf states. Adverting to the underlying mistrust, the editorial said «without written guarantees, it would be easy for the US to contradict what it has agreed to only verbally»……………………….

……………………………..Escalating the war in Yemen may be the Saudi option of trying to force Washington’s hand over Iran.

As the Asharq Al-Aswat newspaper noted, with a tone of petulance: «The US wants to have its cakes and eat it. It seeks to have distinguished relations with the Gulf and Iran at the same time.»

In other words, for the intransigent, insecure Persian Gulf monarchs, there is not an inch for any accommodation with Iran, no matter how incipient that move toward accommodation may be.

Yemen could be the desperate way for the Saudis to blow the P5+1 negotiations.

An Iranian civilian cargo ship bearing 2,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid and medical teams is due to dock in Yemen in the coming days. The vessel has first to pass through the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea – waters infested with Saudi and American warships, as well as Saudi F-15 warplanes scouring the sky above. Iran has already warned in no uncertain terms that any interference in the passage of its aid ship would constitute an act of war, which Iran will respond to.

Saudi rulers, with a Machiavellian streak, will be weighing up their options to do just that.


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