Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush Goes Cap In Hand to Riyadh

Like Oliver Twist in the orphanage, US President George Bush has picked up his gruel bowl and flown to Riyadh to ask the House of Saud for "more please." Bush is making a private visit to King Abdullah's "ranch" (didn't know they had those in Saudi Arabia) to beg the Saudis to increase oil production and exports to the US.

From the New York Times:

"When Mr. Bush was last here in January, a similar request caused him some embarrassment. The president asked the Saudi oil minister to increase production, and was publicly rebuffed. He then took up the matter with the king, but the conversation did not get very far.

The president has little choice but to try again. Back in Washington, Democrats like Senator Schumer of New York are pressing for sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Mr. Schumer wants to limit arms sales to the kingdom, saying he wants them to “cooperate and not strangle American consumers.”

The Bush White House opposes such methods. But with gasoline nearing $4 a gallon, clearly Mr. Bush is looking for some cooperation.

In an interview with CBS Radio before leaving Washington, Mr. Bush was asked what he would tell the king this time that he did not say when he was here last.

“That I didn’t say last time?” he asked, adding, “The price is even higher.”

There it is kids. Bush the Younger, the Scourge of Afghanistan, Desert Conqueror of Iraq, the annointed Leader of the Free World, taking his begging bowl and an enormous gift basket of America's national pride to kneel at the feet of the House of Saud. Now I have seen everything. It's all become so clear. The horror, oh the horror.

The last picture I can remember of Bush and a Saudi noble they were only holding hands and kissing cheeks. I wonder what George is going to have to kiss this time?


LeDaro said...

Answer is again NO.

The Mound of Sound said...

Okay LD but the trip wasn't an entire waste. At least they gave the trained chimp a banana.

Thanks for the update. You know you would think even Bush would be bright enough to do this sort of begging behind closed doors.

Oh I get it, he wants a pretext to invade Saudi Arabia.

The Mound of Sound said...

Bill Scher, writing for "Campaign for America's Future" offered this interesting insight on why the Saudis are snubbing the United States:

"Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman told me before I visited Riyadh last fall that years ago, the U.S.-Saudi relationship was based on a perceived exchange of U.S.-provided security for Saudi-exported oil. Nowadays, Saudi Arabia questions whether the U.S. invasion of Iraq enhanced the kingdom’s security and the region’s stability. And the Saudi royals also wonder whether the giant U.S. military can really protect the kingdom’s oil infrastructure from terrorist attacks. On the U.S. side, many analysts believe that Saudi Arabia, by cutting its oil output on several occasions over the past nine years, helped drive prices up to their current peak."

The Mound of Sound said...

The more I think on this, the less it makes any sense. Bush was embarrassed, if not humiliated when he got the bum's rush from the Saud family while begging last January.

Why would he repeat this childish theatre now? Bush may be astonishingly stupid but his aides aren't, not all of them anyway. The request he made could have been done quietly, behind closed doors. It wasn't. Instead advance notice was given that he was going to Riyadh begging - again.

I don't believe for one second that he went there not knowing that he would get turned down.

This is clearly, unquestionably a set up for something, but what? Bush wouldn't do this unless he was getting something out of it and I'm sure the Sauds wouldn't have played along unless there was something in it for them too.

But what?

Any ideas anyone?

Anonymous said...

All of this sounds stupid. Do you think for one minute the Saudis can't protect themselves with all the money they have? Provide their own protection with their own armed forces? What a farse.

LeDaro said...

Bush promised that after conquering Iraq rivers of oil would flow and prices would come down - that is when a barrel of oil sold for 27 dollars. Now it is 127 dollars. May be he is looking for excuse that it is all Saudis’ fault.

Anon, it is a historical fact that Saudis and US had that understanding. Saudis would provide oil and in return US would protect them. Former USSR, China or even European nations would have loved to control Saudi Arabia. Also historically Saudi neighbours such as Iraq and Iran have been militarily stronger than Saudis.
Saudis may be rich, the upper crest only, but they are not a military power by any means.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, you're plagued with an extremely short memory. Go back to Bush the Elder and Saddam Hussein and Kuwait. When Iraq's army reached the Saudi border, who was positioned across the sands in Saudi Arabia to block them? Hint - it wasn't Saudi forces now was it.

I can't remember the name of the little town just inside the Saudi border that was seized by Iraqi forces but I do remember what happened.

Saudi forces in the form of a tank column equipped with Vietnam era Patton tanks) were dispatched to rout the Iraqis (with their superior T-72s and T-80s) and retake the town. They were promptly driven out and an American force had to do the job.

So, if that sounds stupid to you, my sincere apologies. And yes, I do think for one minute that there was a considerable time when the Saudis at least perceived the need for American protection. That seems to have changed.

The Mound of Sound said...

I must apologize, Anon. You're not the only one plagued with a less than perfect memory. The Saudi town was Khafji.

The Saudis were eventually allowed to "take" the town, mainly for symbolic purposes but they required intense American artillery and air support to drive out the Iraqis.

To put the battle in perspective, the American forces suffered 26 fatalities, the Saudis but 10.

Anonymous said...

You didn't get my point MOS. It doesn't matter what took place in the past or what pieces of paper were signed years is still stupid. The Saudis are capable of taking care of themselves.