Under Public Pressure, Saudis Threaten Regional War

The king of Saudi Arabia threatened that regional war would take the place of the ‘peace processes’ of the past.

Being stranded on the wrong foot for the past two weeks, this is brilliant strategy to counter the three problems the Saudis have: the opinion on the street, militants (al-Qaida) and Iran and the rise of Shi’ite power.

“Saudi Arabia warns everybody that if the peace option fails because of Israeli arrogance, there will be no other option but war,” state-owned media quoted the king as saying. . . .

“No one can predict what will happen if things get out of control,” said the statement from the king, who was due to hold talks with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak later on Tuesday.

. . . “The Arabs have declared peace as a strategic choice … and put forward a clear and fair proposal of land for peace and have ignored (Arab) extremist calls opposing the peace proposal… but patience cannot last forever.”

Unknown to the world is the de-facto nuclear alliance between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The latter’s generous assistance and free oil to Pakistan during the nuclear-test sanctions are not unnoticed. Nor is the ritual visit by every politician to Umrah and the Saudi capital, and the numerous private visits by the Saudi leaders to Pakistan.

This was the logical end of this confrontation. I can’t predict where it will go from here, but there is nothing quite like Israel to unite the Muslim nations. Ahmedinejad had a point when he said ‘Israel has just pushed the self-destruct button’.

Also, Hizbullah’s guerrilla tactics have proven that Israel is not invincible. The only problem was nukes, and in a hypothetical war-games scenario, it takes three to take out Israel, and about 20 to seriously dent Pakistan. Of course, nukes are not to be used, it is just the calculus is used to pressure the adversary.

This should also lead to Musharraf actually cozying up to Osama, and probably an under-the-table reconciliation between Osama and the Saudis, brokered by rich Gulf businessmen.

There you go: a possible scenario from me. However, war is a throw of the dice, and the outcome is as unpredictable as ever. But, credit to Condi Rice, the Middle East is not the same any more: the rules have changed. Well, the other side gets to play too, don’t they?