Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Britain, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he rebukes America for not militarily intervening in Syria and Iran and warns that Saudi Arabia, despite its history to the contrary, will go it alone if need be.
Saudi Arabia has enormous responsibilities within the region, as the cradle of Islam and one of the Arab world’s most significant political powers. We have global responsibilities — economic and political — as the world’s de facto central banker for energy. And we have a humanitarian responsibility to do what we can to end the suffering in Syria.
We will act to fulfill these responsibilities, with or without the support of our Western partners. Nothing is ruled out in our pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the Arab World as King Abdullah — then Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince — showed with his leadership of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Saudi Arabia will continue on this new track for as long as proves necessary. We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy. But this year, for all their talk of “red lines,” when it counted, our partners have seemed all too ready to concede our safety and risk our region’s stability.
Ooh, ouch, burn! For a country that has been an exporter of Sunni terrorism (anyone remember that outfit, al Qaeda?), the Saudi royals can become pretty sanctimonious when it suits them. They can also be astonishingly self-serving.
Washington needs to be leery of Saudi pressure lest it be drawn into a massive Holy war between Sunni and Shiite Islam.