Monday, February 19, 2007

Prince Bandar and the Bush Administration

Washington Post has a back-handedly complimentary article about the new spate of diplomatic initiatives Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of the Saudi National Security Council, has been sowing around the Middle East and in Moscow. Although the writer Jackson Diehl assumes the usual fashionable pose that Bandar is a show-off and ineffective, his factual list of Bandar's recent meetings demonstrates that the former SAG Amb to the US may be now virtually in charge of Saudi foreign policy.

Actually, this is good news, because Saud bin Faisal and his brother Turki are both ambivalent about the US and its role in the Middle East, and occasionally lean toward US opponents. Bandar, as Diehl points out, is looking out for the Saudis first, but his long and deep connection with the US predisposes him to regard the US as a tried and true protector of Saudi national interests who can be depended on. Bandar, unlike other Saudis, does remember that the US did respond rapidly to the invasion of Kuwait and fulfill its treaty obligations [The Carter Doctrine and Reagan Corollary] which the MSM in the USA now has completely consigned to an Orwellian Memory Hole.

King Abdullah is playing an interesting game with Iran over its nuclear development and aggressive foreign policy. The King holds a trump card over Iran, the ability to increase oil production and lower world oil prices, a move which would drive the chronically mismanaged Iranian economy into a tailspin. Iran is in such a permanent state of economic chaos that it must import much of its gasoline, since the country hasn't enough refining capacity. It is also using much of its oil production for domestic uses, and its export levels are declining. One more example of the curse of oil.

Here's hoping that King A, with Bandar's urging, will lower oil prices over the next year to keep the crazies in Tehran from building their doomsday machine.

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