6 Jan 2016

Saudia Arabia and Iran

Saudi Arabia actually ranks worse than Iran on Democracy indices. To not throw sunshine all over Iran... it has to be said that this is no mean feat – they are both incredibly authoritarian regimes.

But most of my days I’ve been given to wonder, now and again, at the difference between how the West approaches the two countries.

The fear of peak oil is receding and the Middle-east is undergoing profound political and social convulsions. It’s not my region of specialty and I can’t project even vaguely where it is headed, but one can bet that who one counts as one’s own bastards is going to change. Again.

One academic opines:

“Although the U.S. is a long way from becoming an instinctive Iranian ally, the nuclear deal has led Washington to start broadening its base in the Gulf, working with Iran where the two sides have overlapping interests. Of which there are many these days.
 
The Saudis executed the activist, Nimr al-Nimr, last weekend because they wanted to send a message to the country’s Shiite minority and neighbors, and because they thought they could get away with it....The Saudis seem to have calculated that if Iran made any noise about the execution, it would not have leverage to do anything about it. Undoubtedly the Saudis knew the Americans wouldn’t be best pleased with them for killing a nonviolent activist — but again, they must have thought it wouldn’t matter.”

That ...was a bit brutally wishful.
 
love the cartoon with that by the way:
 
 
The new Saudi king, 80 years old, has been king less than a year. Executing people is nothing new for Saudi Arabia but the number has shot up.

Per The Guardian:
 
"By ordering the executions, King Salman may have been trying to dispel this image of personal political weakness. If Tehran hardliners get their way, Salman will be hoisted by his own petard. Iran can choose to increase economic pressure on Riyadh, which is already running big current account deficits, by flooding the international market with cheap oil. After last July’s nuclear deal with Tehran, many western embargoes, including on oil exports, are due to be relaxed soon. Ever lower long-term prices could definitively scatter the Saudi house of cards, with unforeseeable consequences."

Who wins? Well no-one, short term.... but who loses?

The Syrians. As if life wasn't shitty enough for them. How are we ever going to get a regional solution - if it's even possible - over that if two of the biggest players in the area are having a worse-than-usual sectarian spat?

But personally... I want less of a free lunch for the Saudis than they have been getting all this time. As I like to remind people: they have got more US military support over the last half century than Israel. A regime with that big a hand in the economic life of the world should be operating WAY closer to what the world regards as civilized behaviour. And if Iran gets to be more progressive into the bargain, then so be it.

1 comment:

  1. As you said, both are not exactly a shinning example of love and respect for others. But then, I really can't say we are either. The bastards learning and living of the hypocritical sons-of-bitches.

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