FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Year After Khashoggi’s Murder, Saudi Arabia is Lurching Toward Chaos

Photograph Source: Alfagih at Arabic Wikipedia – Transferred from ar.wikipedia to Commons – GFDL

The Saudis are taking a pasting. Video pictures from the Houthis of Saudi soldiers and their allies killed or surrendering inside the Saudi border town of Najran represent a devastating blow to a kingdom which is constantly threatening war against Iran.

If it can’t protect its own armed forces inside Saudi territory, what is the point of wasting time menacing Iran with military action over the massive destruction of the oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais almost two weeks ago?

This is the same Saudi Arabia which kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri, bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen and tried to wipe out Qatar’s independence. Not to mention the little matter of chopping up Jamal Khashoggi almost one year ago in the country’s Istanbul consulate and then secretly burying bits of his body, for which Mohamed bin Salman – perhaps the worst crown prince in Saudi history – now takes national (but not personal) responsibility.

The news that King Salman’s personal bodyguard has now been murdered in Jeddah – by a “friend”, we are told – only adds a hysterical note to the chaos within the country.

Are the Americans now going to be asked to act as mercenaries for this bizarre kingdom?

Clearly Saudi Arabia’s own armed forces, clotted with jet fighters, missiles, American – and British – assistants, are as hopeless as they always were. Remember how they couldn’t defend themselves from Saddam after his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which brought a pageant of international armies to “protect” them?

The Iranians may have concluded that Donald Trump – in the immortal words of American columnist Nicholas Kristof – is “the mother of all bunny rabbits”, but it seems pretty clear that Trump’s decision to tear up US commitments under the Iranian nuclear deal is a colossal disaster.

He’s now supposed to defend a vicious monarchy that threatens war against Iran for its (Houthi?) attacks on Saudi’s major oil installations – but with what? Does he bomb Iran and then ask it not to shoot back? At American ships? At US troops in Saudi Arabia?

In fact, this whole wretched saga is beginning to look less like “War in the Middle East” and more like “Carry On Up the Gulf”. We are supposed to take Iran seriously. But can this be done when it’s principal opponent – a kingdom which spoke of “cutting off the head of the snake” (Iran) – behaves like a buffoon?

It may be too soon to say that this is the ultimate crisis in US-Saudi relations; we know how Saudi money can quieten the entire world’s morality over the dissection of poor Jamal. Since our very own Downing Street buffoon takes the Saudi side, there’s no point in waiting for comment from the UK.

But pretty soon, the Americans or the EU are going to have to do what Eisenhower did when he sent Dulles off to admonish Eden during the 1956 Suez War and say: “Whoa Boy!”

Meanwhile stand by for the next episode in the “Carry On” saga. Another Saudi roar of defiance at the Islamic Republic? Another oil tanker snaffled off to Bandar Abbas? More drones – coming 30 at a time – deep inside Saudi territory? Or just more bombed wedding parties or prisoners’ bodies in the dust of Yemen?

I’d bank on the latter. It will be another attempt to destroy one of the poorest countries in the world by one of the world’s richest.

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Manuel García, Jr.
Heartrending Antiwar Songs
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
David Yearsley
Performance Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail