Saudi security analyst: “We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Saudi government has made no public comment so far on the phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama, whose country Saudi Arabia sees as the main military protector of its interests, and new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, whose country Saudi Arabia sees as its main threat.
Its journalist, Ellen Knickmeyer, alleges that Sunni-dominated Gulf Arab governments, especially Saudi Arabia, fear that Shiite-ruled Iran wants to use Shia populations in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen to destabilize Gulf Arab governments and try to throw the regional balance of power toward Iran.
Saudi Arabia wanted to do more to boost the power of armed Sunni rebel groups on the ground in Syria but the U.S. declared Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra to be a terrorist organization, while many in the Gulf consider the rebel faction to be a legitimate, predominantly Syrian fighting force against Mr. Assad.
Prince Saud al Faisal, speaking to the Friends of Syria group, a coalition of Western and Gulf Arab countries and Turkey, said that Saudi Arabia wants “intensification of political, economic and military support to the Syrian opposition . . . to change the balance of powers on the ground” in Syria.
Ms Knickmeyer reports that the state-run Saudi Press Agency carries a transcript of his remarks.
The Gulf Research Center
The Geneva-based Gulf Research Center is said to ‘maintain cooperation agreements’ with major partners such as Emirates Bank, Shell, Glaxo Smith Kline, the University of Queensland, the Saudi Arabian Marketing and Agencies Company (SAMACO) group, Pakistan’s National Defence College and the FRIDE Foundation.
Ellen Knickmeyer reports that Dr Mustafa Alani, Saudi security analyst and Senior Advisor and Director of the National Security and Terrorism Studies Department at the Gulf Research Center, said that Saudis now feel that the Obama administration is disregarding Saudi concerns over Iran and Syria, and will respond accordingly in ignoring “U.S. interests, U.S. wishes, U.S. issues” in Syria: “They are going to be upset—we can live with that. We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States.”
Gulf security analysts are reported to have said that Saudi and other Gulf Arab countries have little leverage to advance their aims in any U.S.-Iran diplomacy. Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in Qatar, is quoted as saying that Saudis have only a few other means, such as directing more of their arms or energy deals to Asia.
In an ill-judged article by John Stanton (October 30’s English edition of Pravda), he asked, “Why does the world’s most powerful nation bow down before the House of Saud even as it becomes less dependent on Persian Gulf and Saudi oil?”
Other commentators are now saying that the American administration now evidently does feel freer to act, now that its new energy resources have been developed.
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