Alliance of Tyranny and Terror
By Samir Karam
Translated By Jackson Allan
18 January 2013
Edited by Heather Martin
Lebanon - al-Safir - Original Article (Arabic)
Never before has the strategic coordination between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia been as broad and deep as it is now.
The two allies are no longer concerned only with preserving the Saudi regime and protecting it from the aggressive groups and movements that cause destruction in the region, as was the case in the 1950s and 1960s. Rather, in the recent period they have become concerned with attacking the powers that constitute, through their very existence, a threat to the Saudi regime and U.S. economic and military policies and interests. These interests are, when stated directly, the existence and expansion of the Zionist state and its control over the areas surrounding it.
We live in an era of the alliance between tyranny and terror. That is because the superpower represented by the U.S. and the regional power represented by Saudi Arabia, centered in the Persian Gulf, aren’t satisfied with the alliance between them. Rather, they have entered a new stage — beginning with what is now called the “Arab Spring” — which is distinguished by their new alliance with the armed terrorist organizations in the region. Some tend to see this alliance between the tyranny of Saudi governance and U.S. hegemony, on one hand, and the armed terrorist organizations, on the other, as a repetition of U.S. experience in a previous period. During the 1970s, the U.S. had allied itself with the armed terrorist organization al-Qaida in Afghanistan, when its goal was to “liberate” the country from Soviet military presence. That was a temporary alliance that, before long, turned into open hostility as the U.S. military presence replaced the Soviet military presence in the country. The U.S. military forces switched from supporting al-Qaida to fighting it, and the U.S. war against the organization extended to wherever the organization itself existed in the Middle East and Africa.
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While the idea of an alliance with al-Qaida may have come more from the Saudi leadership than the U.S. leadership, it is clear that the alliance has now come to include Saudi Arabia, the U.S., al-Qaida and several armed terrorist organizations that employ al-Qaida’s methods in both combat and politics. Irrespective of this interpretation, the obvious fact is that the alliance between Saudi-U.S. tyranny and armed terrorism is now imposing itself over the whole region, without any care for the continuous fighting going on between American soldiers and the very same large terrorist organization [i.e. al-Qaida] in Afghanistan. Maybe this reveals a contradiction, but that contradiction does not conceal the desire of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to fight change in the region by all means possible and with great financial sacrifice. In this new alliance between tyranny and terror, Saudi Arabia supplies the terrorist groups with arms and weapons while the U.S. military leadership plans their attacks, wherever they occur. Perhaps the noteworthy thing here is that the two sides — Saudi Arabia and the U.S. military leadership — aren’t even concealing their roles. Rather, they are performing these two roles openly, with near unanimous approval from the ruling regimes of the region on those roles and, of course, the goals toward which they aim.
The alliance between tyranny and terror played its part in Libya, and now we are seeing it perform the same role on a larger, more bloody and violent scale in Syria. Perhaps we must wonder, as the citizen of any Arab country wonders, whether this alliance will come to conduct the same activities in Yemen and Jordan, and perhaps in Egypt after that, if circumstances in those countries don’t seem to be complying with the will of this Saudi-U.S. alliance. In any case, the fact that Saudi Arabia tends to be stepping outside the realm of its previous foreign policy, in which it struggled against Israel, gives the impression that, at the very least, Saudi Arabia isn’t part of the group supporting the resistance against Israeli. Rather, it is part of the group looking for peace with Israel, regardless of whether it’s an official peace or a peace achieved by not attacking Israel and its policies and, moreover, by not attacking the U.S. policy of supporting Israel no matter what, irrespective of any changes that occur in U.S. foreign policy. This is because Saudi Arabia, these days, tends to accept the idea that the U.S. policy on Israel can’t be opposed, let alone resisted.
* * *
The cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. entered a new stage with the advent of the “Arab Spring.” This stage is characterized by the fact that it has enabled Saudi Arabia to tighten its control over the Gulf region and to present some degree of challenge to Iran, which, generally speaking, actually surpasses Saudi Arabia in terms of military and strategic power. Even so, the Saudi challenge is, for Iran, taking the place previously occupied by the Israeli challenge. It seems clear that Saudi Arabia’s increasing closeness with Israel, both as an entity and in terms of its role in the region, is also bringing it closer and closer to the U.S. We might be inclined to believe that the alliance between Saudi-U.S. tyranny and terrorism is a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s convergence with Israel. But the truth, which seems obvious, is that the convergence with Israel is a reflection of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, the alliance of tyranny and terror. This convergence has reached a new peak, to the extent that an Israeli-American journalist, Larry Lando, has written about the “amazing level that Saudi-Israeli cooperation has reached,” based on the writings of Saudi journalists in Saudi Arabia’s English-language press.*
There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia’s new policies are costing the kingdom a lot financially, but they have also forced it to the point of direct military intervention. Saudi forces were sent to Bahrain in order to support the monarchical regime, on the pretext of confronting the danger of Iran, and confront a wave of revolutionary activity that rose against the injustice occurring in that country. In this context, Saudi Arabia found its way to become a key, official non-member partner in NATO. Now it participates with its forces and weapons in the maneuvering exercises that NATO conducts within the Middle East and Persian Gulf zone. This enabled Saudi forces to play a part, alongside NATO, in events in Libya during the past year.
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The fact that Saudi Arabia is performing these military and non-military roles in the region does not conceal the U.S.’ concern — as well as the concern of its principal ally in the Gulf — about developments occurring inside Saudi Arabia. Although these developments — or regressions, said more appropriately — that are threatening Saudi Arabia are absent from the Saudi press, including its English-language publications, the U.S. press shows no reluctance whatsoever to report on them, not even as a matter of courtesy to the U.S.’ main ally in the Middle East and the largest source of its oil supplies. While any discussion about Saudi Arabia’s internal crises remains absent from the Arab press, the U.S. press is publishing details on the crisis of the succession to the Saudi throne. This crisis is occurring due to the concurrent deterioration in the health of both King Abdullah, who is ninety years old, and Crown Prince Salman, who is seventy-seven years old — especially given the latter’s brain disease and the fact that it is affecting his intellectual abilities. U.S. circles interested in the problem of Saudi succession nominated Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who is from the second youngest generation of Saudi princes, to take the throne. Washington has put all of its political influence in the kingdom behind the task of raising him to the position of crown prince so the next king of Saudi Arabia will guarantee stability there. The term “stability,” in this context, means guaranteeing that Saudi Arabia will maintain its alliance with the U.S. and, therefore, continue to act as a strategic base and an undisputed source of oil.
The U.S. has remained silent in the face of the Bahrain problem, especially in regard to the intervention of Saudi Arabia’s armed forces. Here, we must point out that the U.S. maintains its largest military base in the whole Gulf region inside Bahrain. It seems that, so far, Washington has not seen any justification for reminding the outside world of this fact in its treatment of the Bahraini disturbances and Saudi Arabia’s direct intervention in the country. “The New York Times” relayed, on Jan. 10 2013, the comments of James Smith, the current U.S. ambassador in Riyadh, who stated that the U.S.-Saudi relationship has “three pillars ... oil security, stability and counter-terrorism.” He added that “pressure on human rights and political change were [sic] unproductive.”**
Likewise, the U.S. press has not covered up the facts surrounding the spread of poverty in Saudi Arabia at the current time: “In a country with vast oil wealth and lavish royalty, an estimated quarter of Saudis live below the poverty line … millions of Saudis struggle on the fringes of one of the world's most powerful economies, where jobs and welfare programs have failed to keep pace with a population that has soared from 6 million in 1970 to 28 million today.”
Surely, the Arab peoples await a future fraught with struggle and conflict against the new alliance between tyranny and terror, against the outside domination of the U.S. and the domination from within the region of Saudi Arabia. What is certain, though, is that this alliance cannot live for very long.
* Translator’s note: The original source of this quote could not be located. The author is probably referring to Barry Lando, who is Canadian by birth, not Israeli-American. In October 2012, Lando published an article that, based on an unidentified Israeli source, pointed to Saudi-Mossad cooperation. His discussion of the Saudi English-language press, in a separate article published the previous month, only pointed to critical perspectives on the Arab world’s long-lasting hostility towards Israel. See: http://barrylando.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/saudis-backrolling-israels-mossad.html; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-lando/a-sautiisraeli-connection_b_2082755.html
** Translator’s note: The New York Times did not publish an interview with James Smith on Jan. 10, 2013. Rather, the author is referring to an article published on the same date in the New York Review of Books, which paraphrased a conversation that the author had held with James Smith during the previous May. See: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jan/10/will-saudi-arabia-ever-change
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