JS and the Czar were celebrating the conclusion of Top Shot with a little brandy at the Castle lounge the other evening when JS asked the Czar if rumors of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran were possible…more so than Israel and Iran.
An excellent question. Indeed, many foreign policy types believe there is already a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, albeit a cold one. Rhetoric from Saudi Arabia against Israel has softened a bit. Also, you may not know that President Obama has quietly authorized a plan to sell 84 near-fully-loaded F-15 Eagles to Saudi Arabia with Israeli approval (the near-fully loaded catch being Israels contribution to the deal). Saudi Arabias foreign minister, of all people, advised Secretary of State Clinton that sanctions against Iran are a nonsensical gesture; although, curiously, he did not say what would work: that assumption was left unsaid. The UAEs own ambassador to the US said, from the perspective of the royal families, that a strike on Iran would be easier to deal with than a nuclear Iran. Egypt has granted Israels navy access to the Suez Canal. Saudi Arabia suddenly granted Israels air force flyover rights, but quickly told Iran that this was a lie.
So what is all this activity about? In fact, if one were to add up all the signs, it could be something tremendous. On the one hand, the more of these little diplomatic signals that are sent to Iran, the more Iran will see that they better make these sanctions work. On the other hand, if Iran is as dense as the Czar thinks they are, it could add up to a powerful conflict.
Remember that Saudi Arabia pretty much calls the shots among the Arabesque countries there. The Saudi Princes, along with the heads of state of Kuwait, Jordan, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, form a sort of keiretsu in the region. Many leaders, although legally not related to each other, have long-distant family ties that are perceived to be solid even today. Now pack in Egypt, and you have a pretty good combined power. Any one of these countriesbut likely allwould benefit from either Israel sitting on its hands or, better yet, having Israel act as a useful idiot and launch an attack. By this, we mean that Israel could sit back and benefit from a crippled Iran simply by not opposing the military-cum-financial actions of these nations; or Israel could be the crazy kid from down the street who beats the crap out of Iran, leaving the other nations free to say We told you so. And it wasnt us who did it. Yes, there will be loud consternations about Zionism, and complaints agianst Israeli violence from the UN and the Left, but nothing will actually oppose Israel or punish them. By tacit agreement beforehand.
Alternatively, the other side seems to be lining up as wellthis indicates that Iran is acutely aware of the arrangement. Iran has been having secret meetings with Lebanon, and Lebanon has begun to step up violence against Israel and even Saudi Arabiathe point where even the US Congress decided to cut off aid to Lebanon. Imagine that! Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have been having serious and confidential meetings with Syria, as if trying to remind Syria who will benefit them more in the aftermath of a war. Heck, Syria could go either way here, and probably enjoys the respect she thinks she has from all this attention. Either way, it rattles Iranian cages.
Some time ago, the Czar concluded that an Israeli strike on Iran is inevitable. There is no practical way to stop Iran on its nuclear weapon program, and no one wants a nuclear Iran, even despite our administrations vocal resignation as to its inevitability. However, the Czar expected the strike would have happened fairly quickly; however, with the recent slipping and sliding of regional interests, Israel is wise to hold off on a strike until the powers are aligned. After all, the region is terribly aware of the resulting power vacuum: and that vacuum will either suck in pro-Saudi hegemony into Iran from the West, or will suck in militant Islam from the East. It is best that Saudi Arabia get this exactly right, because while the Saudis are no joy to behold, they are better than the monstrosity of Iran.