CHARLOTTE, October 25, 2013 – There are rumblings in Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom is upset with the United States because of the Obama administration’s policies in Syria and Egypt.
Depending on your source or your perspective, making the Saudis angry may or may not be a big deal. There appears to be a lot of noise coming out of Riyadh these days that Saudi Arabia strongly desires to sever ties with the United States.
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The first thing that immediately comes to mind is America’s dependence on Saudi oil. However, with domestic fracking making great and rapid strides in this country, are we really as dependent as we used to be? If not, wouldn’t that mean that alliances with the Saudis would be no great loss?
It is often difficult to know whether the Saudis are friends or enemies. That is why it so difficult to understand whether their anger should be a concern. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam which has been causing worldwide chaos since its inception. The Saudis are the primary source of financing for global jihad which has become a constant threat in the United States and the West.
Would it really be so terrible if the Saudis got really, really angry with us?
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s concerns lie in the way the Obama administration botched the crisis in Syria and how it is handling the fighting in Egypt. Because of that, a strange relationship has evolved, no matter how fragile or temporary, between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
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Not that those two countries suddenly in love with each other, but because they both have concerns over their individual national security. Syria is heavily supported by Iran, so their nuclear weapons program is the primary unification point between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
With Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry bungling their way through the Middle East, Russia now has greater influence in Syria than before. Though Saudi anger might not keep us focused, it is impossible for us to ignore Israel.
The cold shoulder from the Saudis therefore becomes a red flag flying over the region that highlights Barack Obama’s weaknesses. That is not a good thing for the United States.
On this side of the planet we frequently hear the word “dependent” as it relates to our need for Saudi oil. Rarely do we think of Saudi “dependency” on the United States for security, however.
One of the key elements in the 9/11 attacks in 2001 was the fact that Saudi Arabia used the American military to protect its borders during the uncertainty of the first Iraq war. By gritting their teeth and choosing the United States, the Saudis totally embarrassed their native son, Osama bin Laden, by refusing his protection. The entire world knows the rest of the story.
Now, roughly a dozen years later, the desert dwellers in the Kingdom are becoming weary of their so-called “dependency” on the United States and that could lead to some nasty complications when it comes to any new set of battle lines that are continuously being drawn in the sand.
In addition to the uprisings in Syria and Egypt, the Saudis are unhappy with American diplomatic efforts regarding Israel and Palestine. Not that much would have changed even if the United States had been totally focused, but the Arab world doesn’t like to be ignored. The Middle East is like a spoiled brat that must be constantly coddled and spoon fed in order to feel important.
Israel and Palestine have been at odds for centuries. Tune in at the dawn of the 22nd century and the story will still be unresolved. That, however, is not what is important. What matters is that we are expected to pay attention. To do otherwise creates hurt feelings within the world’s most insecure region.
Saudi Arabia and the United States are not particularly fond of each other, but they realize that one must lean against the other to remain standing. If one discovers it can do without its begrudging partner, it could result in a major foreign policy split.
It’s not much different than two lovers going their separate ways. Better to be the one ending the relationship than the one being told it is over.
So keep on fracking. It just may be the key to our freedom from the stranglehold of Saudi Arabia
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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