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Monday, 09 September 2013 10:39

Saudi Arabia and Israel Team up Against Syria: Hava Nagila in Riyadh?

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Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and George W. Bush 1The Frog (Bush) and the Prince, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah In a recent interview on The Real News Network, veteran UK Independent reporter Patrick Cockburn discussed some of the members of the coalition urging a strike on Syria.  As BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote in several commentaries about the horrifying chemical attack (carried out by still unknown sources despite White House "certainty"), Obama's call for "preventive" retaliation is part of a much larger "Great Game." 

This "Great Game" is about hegemony over the largest oil producing region in the world, along with its natural gas supplies.  Despite the common perspective that all followers of Islam are US enemies, the terrain of Islamic followers is quite complex. For one major split, you just need to look to Arab Muslims as compared to Persian (Iranian) Muslims.  Then you have the Shias and the Sunnis.  Then you have more separate divisions of Islam -- and on top of that you have different ethnic Islamic followers and competing nation states.

So this is where Cockburn's reporting, and even that of the mainstream press becomes very interesting, because at the head of urging a strike on Syria is Saudi Arabia.  According to more than one report, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan (practically an honorary member of the CIA) has been playing a key role in supplying rebel groups favored by the Saudis with arms for months.

Cockburn lists Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey as key Islamic states seeking the overthrow of Assad and checkmating Iran (and behind it and Syria, Russia seeking a cut of the regional pie) -- which is supporting Assad and reportedly assisting Hezbollah in helping to defend him.  In addition, you can toss in most of the Gulf Arab states and a few others who are now openly working with the Obama Administration and rebels against Syria.

BuzzFlash reported last week that the Secretary of State boasted to a Congressional panel, "Kerry Tells Congress That Oil Sheiks Will Pay US for War to Unseat Assad":

Secretary of State John Kerry said at Wednesday’s hearing that Arab countries have offered to pay for the entirety of unseating President Bashar al-Assad if the United States took the lead militarily.

“With respect to Arab countries offering to bear costs and to assess, the answer is profoundly yes,” Kerry said. “They have. That offer is on the table...."

“In fact, some of them have said that if the United States is prepared to go do the whole thing the way we’ve done it previously in other places, they’ll carry that cost,” Kerry said.

Therefore, it was no surprise that The New York Times featured an article today with Kerry announcing:

In Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told him that Saudi Arabia would support an American-led strike. Qatar also said it would back foreign intervention, though it did not explicitly endorse airstrikes.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has remained uncharcteristically tight-lipped about its position on Obama's proposed bombardment of its northeastern neighboring state, with which it is officially still in a state of war with -- even though there have been rumors over the years of negotiations between Israel and Syria over the Golan Heights. However, as Obama's call for Congress to approve an attack on Syria appears to be in serious jeopardy, Israel's most visible and powerful lobbying face in the US, AIPAC, was let loose to lobby Congress to try and salvage Obama's strike plans, as Politico among other mainstream media sources reported (this article was datelined last Thursday):

The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that “barbarism” by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would “send a message” to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group.

Everything changed with the Arab Spring and the petrodollar dictatorships becoming more concerned about the Arab Street and Iran dominating the region -- for both being Persian and supporting Jihadists who might cause trouble for the conservative Arab regimes, even though Saudi Arabia still allegedly pays protection money to Al-Qaeda -- than with Israel.

Israel is rumored to continue to maintain a very tight relationship with the Turkish military and secret service (despite the distancing of the recently less secular Turkish government from Israel after the killing of Turkish citizens and others during efforts to break the Gaza blockade).  There have been repeated hints of back channel talks between the Saudis and the Gulf States and Israel, who would not be disappointed to see Iran's nuclear program destroyed or seriously set back.

Although it would be presumptuous to now call Saudi Arabia an ally of Israel -- or even predict a peace treaty in the offing -- it is clear that there is a nascent realignment of nation states in the Middle East.  Those who are closely aligned with the West on economic issues and those Arab nation states who want to preserve their non-democratic rule see Israel as a potential partner in suppressing the Arab street and Islamic Fundamentlists affiliated with Iran, along with now Iranian proxy paramilitary Jihadists such as Hezbollah.  Both pose a threat to Israel and the pro-US conservative Arab states.

Turkey has long been a secular leaning state, despite its more recent Islamic leaning leadership, since the founding of the modern Turkish state by Ataturk.  It also has a vested interest in ensuring that the Kurdish population of Syria doesn't break off and create a Kurdish state that could cause a civil war in western Turkey's Kurdistan.

For these reasons and many more, the interests of the Palestinians are being put on hold by many Arab nations who see Israel as a potential military necessity for their survival in the wake of the Arab Spring.

No, they won't be singing Hava Nagilah in Riyadh soon, but the Syrian civil war has made Israel a de facto ally of the some of the most improbable Arab states, leaving the Palestinians stateless and out in the cold.

(Photo: Wikipedia)