Saudis warn Bush they might move in if Iraq falls apart

posted at 9:40 pm on January 16, 2007 by Allahpundit

This was news a month and a half ago. Tonight it’s just confirmation.

Saudi leaders are privately “deeply skeptical” that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could implement the U.S. plan, the senior U.S. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, who is traveling with Rice…

The Saudis’ primary concern is the Sunni population of Anbar province, the senior U.S. official. The official said the Saudis had informed Washington that they were considering a plan to send troops into the province if Bush’s plan failed…

While the focus of Rice’s tour is to drum up support for the U.S. initiative in Iraq, she was also seeking to put out a diplomatic brush fire over Iran after a top Iranian diplomat visited Riyadh to meet with King Abdullah to complain about the U.S. military build-up.

That “top Iranian diplomat” was the mullahs’ national security chief (and head nuclear negotiator), Ali Larijani, who came bearing a note from Ahmadinejad. With the Saudis keeping Iran’s oil profits low, “Mahdi” taking heat at home for his bellicosity, and the U.S. now focusing on Iranian operatives inside Iraq, Tehran’s suddenly in a bit of a spot. StrategyPage:

The Iranians have their allies in the Iraqi government, and sense that the U.S. is going to attempt a housecleaning. Resisting this won’t be easy, because most Iraqis back the idea of less Iranian influence on Iraqi politics. The consulate raid, and other captures and intelligence missions, have revealed many details of Iranian operations in Iraq. It’s now the Iranians, and their Iraqi allies, who are on the defensive. The Americans are apparently serious about disarming the Shia militias. That would still give pro-Iranian many police and army units (heavily infiltrated by pro-Iranian Iraqis) to play with, but the Americans are going after those as well.

SP also notes that Sunni jihadi attacks are dwindling (although they might have spoken too soon). Could the Saudis be starving them to keep their side at bay and give the U.S. a freer hand to go after the Shiites?

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What else could they do? They see the weakness of the democrats in Washington and (at the same time) fear a nuclear Iran – as they should. I don’t think the Saudi’s would issue a “warning” if they didn’t really intend to make a move. I’m betting they’re very serious about this.

thedecider on January 16, 2007 at 9:49 PM

The Saudi’s are threatening to send troops in ? Whose troops? As for Condoleezza Rice and that rats nest known as the US State Department; rather than worrying about diplomatic brush fires being caused by the Iranians whining to the Saudi’s, maybe she should be more concerned with the Iranians direct role in the deaths of US troops, along with all the other pot stirring they’ve been doing for the last 30 years.Maybe it’s time someone got little Condi a nice piano and sent her on her way.

As to the last part, sounds promising. Nice to see you check-in at StrategyPage,AP;it’s a great site.

tomk59 on January 16, 2007 at 9:54 PM

It’s a pretty cynical and ugly calculation, but if the Sunnis and Shiites are at war with each other over Iraq then they’ll have less opportunity to take us on over here. Bleeding the treasuries of the Saudi and Iranian governments is appealing as well, as they’ll have less to fund terrorism with.

Either that, or they can shape the f up in Iraq.

Peace or bloodbath, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. You make the call.

thirteen28 on January 16, 2007 at 10:05 PM

Well, I would say, why not help us out now so the plan doesn’t fail, but I couldn’t do it with a straight face.

Must be nice to sit back on your fat arses doing nothing just because you sitting on top of huge oil reserves.

The Saudis can go pound sand.

reaganaut on January 16, 2007 at 10:15 PM

I’m worried about Saudi involvement. They have lots of money. I don’t know if I got these numbers right or not, but I estimate we’re spending about $7 billion monthly and the Iranians are spending about $20 billion monthly, and the Saudis can comfortably invest at least $40 billion monthly. We would be horribly outspent in the middle of some surrogate sectarian war. I’m amazed at these numbers, and wonder if there’s some fiscally responsible way to manage it all. I suspect the Saudis are threatening involvement just to make us look bad. Iran has demonstrated its willingness to quagmire, but never the Saudis, who seek the easy way out. They’ll never do anything to jeopardize what they’ve got, and their “investment” would be nothing more than a payoff to leave Anbar alone and make life more miserable for us. I say give the money to us. Let us be your favorite charity, and we’ll protect who you want or not. It seems to me we should have a plan in place to drain their treasuries anyway.

dapro on January 16, 2007 at 10:45 PM

I thought you meant move their country! *brain cramp*

SouthernGent on January 16, 2007 at 10:47 PM

Reminds me of the historical relationship between Russia and Serbia. Fellow Slavs and all that, you know, and the Great Powers were always worried that the Russians would move into the Balkans to rescue their brethren. Somehow it never turned out that way. The Russians always seemed to backslide on their promises. I’m not sure the Saudis would renege, but who knows?

jaleach on January 16, 2007 at 11:27 PM

If Iraq falls under Iran’s influence, then that puts Iran at Saudi’s doorstep. Iran might even forget about Israel for a while if they had the chance to aquire Mecca and Medina.

Coyote D. on January 17, 2007 at 1:57 AM

I ‘figger’ if we pull out of Iraq prematurely, for whatever reason, ‘it don’t really matter much’ what the Saudis do or don’t so in Iraq or Iran or anyplace similar.

The entire region will become a bloodbath, if not a world-wide Armageddon.

The Saudi’s don’t have much of a military anyway, so all they could do is play tribal politics, make threats and maybe hire mercenaries / surrogates.

LegendHasIt on January 17, 2007 at 2:24 AM

An Iran vs Saudi war?

Works for me.

uptight on January 17, 2007 at 4:07 AM

An Iran vs Saudi war?

Works for me.

Who do you root for? That is the problem in the region and why we have to create a space for democracy in Iraq. We need a third party in the region. Iraq is the only place we have a fighting chance for moderation. Everyone else is either a dictator already on our payroll (Egypt, Saudi, Jordan), a permanent enemy (Syria, Iran), or hopelessly compromised (Lebanon). If Iraq doesn’t work we’ll be back in ten years, after nukes go off in American cities, and end up having to kill everyone.

The Apologist on January 17, 2007 at 5:54 AM

These guys have the big time card to play: oil. Rumor has it Bush’s SOTU address will focus on energy independence. About time. But hey, it’s never too late, let’s try to look a couple moves ahead.

honora on January 17, 2007 at 8:49 AM

Does anyone know what kind of military capability the Saudi’s have? They have plenty of money and plenty of Western support so I assume they could be quite formidable but I haven’t heard much on the subject.

JaHerer22 on January 17, 2007 at 9:17 AM

So Bush tells Maliki that he’s got to disarm Mookie’s boys, because the new Democrat majority isn’t gonna let us keep our troop levels where they are much longer. He can probably get away with the Surge, but if there’s nothing to show for it in 6 months, enough RINOs will join the Dems to make a veto-proof majority. As our troops withdraw, the House of Saud will step in to prevent a power vacuum. Do you really think they’ll care if a Shi’a PM gets to stay in office? Do you think they’ll have nice RoE that treats your political/confessional allies with kid gloves?

Bush=Good Cop
Dems/RINOs/Saudis=Bad Cops

So, Maliki, do you still think you need the Mahdi Army to stay in power, or do you realize they’re exactly what’s going to force you out? And by the way: Tick, tock, tick, tock….

The Monster on January 17, 2007 at 9:48 AM

Saudi Arabia has been sending troops into Iraq for years now. They’re called suicide bombers.

I’m wondering exactly who would fear Saudi Arabia’s incompetent regular military. Their military lacked the motivation to defend their own country when Saddam invaded. They lack competence to fight a war or occupy Iraq. They’re a joke.

I am particularly fond of the scenario of Iran invading Saudi Arabia. Even though it would send gas prices sky high, it would be worth it to see their cities burn. Then, when the Iranians had killed a boatload of Wahhabi bastards and exhausted themselves, America kicks their tired butts and establishes a new Wahhabi-free state in the east, where all the oil wells are. The people of Jeddah in the west get Mecca and Medina and the revenues from the Hajj. And the Wahhabis are sent packing back into the desert of the Najd to practice their death cult on the scorpions.

Tantor on January 17, 2007 at 12:04 PM