Oh boy,,,,,What does the recent U.S. deal with North Korea have to do with Saudi Arabia?
Question: What do Israel and Saudi Arabia have in common?
In 2007, Iran sent representatives to Saudi Arabia and to each of its Gulf Arab neighbors to offer defense and military cooperation while pledging non-aggression and free passage in the Gulf. The real message was clear: Iran was on the path to becoming a nuclear power and wanted its neighbors to fall in line.
Task: King of Saudi Arabia Age: 83 Whereabouts: Riyad
Answer: A deep-seated fear of an Iran with a nuclear arsenal. Iran is an outspoken threat to Israel but also has territorial designs on its oil-rich neighborhood including the Gulf states with their large Shi'ite populations susceptible to Iranian influence.
Question: What does the recent U.S. deal with North Korea have to do with Saudi Arabia?
Answer: Plenty. By agreeing to remove North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, the United States is telling the world that a rogue state with nuclear weapons is not the worst that could happen. Iran is just such a rogue state.
In 2007, Iran sent representatives to Saudi Arabia and to each of its Gulf Arab neighbors to offer defense and military cooperation while pledging non-aggression and free passage in the Gulf.
"During my visit to Saudi Arabia, I had discussed the issue of establishing a security and defense alliance between Iran and GCC states," said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at the time.
The real message was clear: Iran was on the path to becoming a nuclear power and wanted its neighbors to fall in line.
For its part, Saudi Arabia warned that Iran's nuclear program was jeopardizing the Gulf region. Saudi King Abdullah said the Iranian program, which he did not name, must be contained and that the region must be free of weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush administration has made a convincing stand against Iranian ambitions. In the aftermath of the North Korean agreement, however, the United States no longer seems to be the reliable ally it once was in the eyes of Saudi royalty.
Maybe they should be calling Olmert, apparently they really DO have something in common
Meanwhile King Abdullah finds himself at the center of the global oil crisis. When the heir apparent to Chinese President Hu Jintao set out on his first official state visit, Vice President Xi Jinping chose Saudi Arabia.
"I have selected Saudi Arabia for my first foreign visit in order to promote our ties," Xi said. "The situation is favorable for further growth of economic cooperation in diverse fields between the Kingdom and China."
Saudi Arabia has been a leading oil supplier to China. Xi, accompanied by more than 200 Chinese business representatives, is angling for a special relationship with a kingdom that can best help China slake its grown thirst for oil.
In March, Vice President Dick Cheney made perhaps his final foreign policy initiative in office with a tours the Gulf with the key visit being with King Abdullah. The ostensible purpose of the trip was clear: "The conversation [will focus] on one issue: the need for an immediate increase in Saudi production," a U.S. diplomatic source said.
Saudi King Abdullah, left, greets Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah after the opening ceremony of the Jeddah Energy Meeting on June 22. Ali Jarekji/Reuters
"I'm not sure he'll [Cheney] seek anything more than a good and thorough discussion about the current situation in the global energy markets," a senior official said. "The schedule allows for quite a bit of one-on-one time with King Abdullah."
But oil may not have been the only topic on the agenda.
At issue is U.S. credibility in a region increasingly dominated by Iran which, like North Korea in East Asia, is continuing to develop WMD programs while spreading its influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf with no decisive response by the West.
The strong international reaction to the U.S. war in Iraq, fueled by a hostile Democratic Party and the establishment media in the U.S. has helped thwart the resolute stance against state-sponsored terrorism that President George W. Bush advanced in his first term.
As a result, King Abdullah is feeling more isolated these days and is using his power in the world oil market to suit his needs which are less and less aligned with those of the United States.
Abdullah also has his hands full at home where many princes in his kingdom support Al Qaida financially. And the domestic network of Al Qaida has it as its top priority the destruction and disruption of Saudi Arabai's supply of oil to the West.
All in all, presiding over one of the world's most important sources of oil at a time in which rising demand is oustripping supply, is not as much fun as it should be.
There is no financial crisis in Saudia Arabia as there is in much of the world at present. But fear is in the air, all the same.
Ever get the sensation that the entire rotten structure is tottering?
Meanwhile the IAF practices as the unavoidable approaches.