Unless the new US administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the US-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk. Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi foreign minister, told the UN Security Council that if there was no just settlement, “we will turn our backs on you…”
America is not innocent in this calamity. Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region, but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents. If the US wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact – especially its “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia – it will have to revise drastically its policies vis a vis Israel and Palestine.
Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran wrote a letter to King Abdullah, explicitly recognizing Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab and Muslim worlds and calling on him to take a more confrontational role over “this obvious atrocity and killing of your own children” in Gaza. The communiqué is significant because the de facto recognition of the kingdom’s primacy from one of its most ardent foes reveals the extent that the war has united an entire region, both Shia and Sunni. Further, Ahmadi-Nejad’s call for Saudi Arabia to lead a jihad against Israel would, if pursued, create unprecedented chaos and bloodshed. So far, the kingdom has resisted these calls, but every day this restraint becomes more difficult to maintain…
Also, see this analysis from a retired US Foreign Service officer who was twice posted to Saudi Arabia:
It’s not the showdown at the OK Corral just yet, but warning flags are flying.
As much as the government of Saudi Arabia wishes to maintain friendly relations with the US, that relationship is in jeopardy. This repeats the warning that then-Crown Prince Abdullah gave the Bush Administration back in 2002: The US must try to rein in Israel if there is to be peace and stability in the region. In the views of Saudi and Arab publics, the Bush Administration was an unmitigated disaster for the region, for Arabs, and for Muslims at large. Some of this is indeed hyperbole, exaggerations made to score political points as well as misdirection by groups like Al-Qaeda to stir up resentment toward the US. The Iraq incursion started it, Abu Ghraib heightened it, stories coming from Guantanamo pushed it into the stratosphere. Gaza has simply made the situation intolerable.