Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
11:53 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Editorial
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Dangerous tactics
File - Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia is seen in Windsor in southern England May 18, 2012. (REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski)
File - Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia is seen in Windsor in southern England May 18, 2012. (REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski)
A+ A-

The U.S. has often prided itself on understanding when to practice quiet diplomacy and when to go public, so it should take special notice of the fact that Saudi Arabia has opted to engage in a rare instance of the latter.

An opinion article in The New York Times this week signaled the kingdom’s displeasure with some fundamentally important matters taking place in the Middle East. It was penned by a Saudi prince, Mohammad bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, his country’s ambassador to Britain.

Saudi Arabia has historically preferred the road of quiet diplomacy, but policymakers and officials in the United States are now facing open verbal dissent by one of Washington’s closest and most long-standing allies.

The article, in short, said the U.S. was pursuing worrying policies vis-à-vis Iran and Syria – the phrase “dangerous gamble” was used – and that the kingdom was fully prepared to act on its own to safeguard security.

Washington undoubtedly has its own way of gauging things, but for an administration that has claimed to pride itself on building consensus as it navigates foreign policy challenges, the failure to take into consideration the views of Saudi Arabia is astounding.

Some of the armchair analysts are fond of repeating the mantra that the U.S. has weaned itself off of dependence on Middle Eastern oil sources, and is thus less interested in the complex politics of this region.

But the rise in American production from several new sources of oil doesn’t cancel out the role of Saudi Arabia. As it’s been said, the kingdom functions like the “World Bank of oil,” and it will remain one of the most important countries in the world when it comes to the global economy.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have grievances, concerns and interests, and Washington’s approach to world affairs can’t act in isolation and pretend that everything will sort itself out. The U.S. and arch-enemy Iran have now begun talking to each other and pursuing a diplomatic solution to Tehran’s nuclear program. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have not been pursuing blind vendettas against Iran and the Iranian people, as a simple look at the economic scene in the Dubai will demonstrate. But Gulf countries have legitimate concerns, such as Iran’s occupation of three UAE islands, and more ominously, its persistent efforts to extend its influence through heavy-handed or violent means in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.

U.S. officials are certainly aware, even if they don’t acknowledge it, that their efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have repeatedly failed because they’re based on appeasing one side and forcing the other side to make unreasonable concessions. Move that template to the Gulf, where attempts are made to placate Iran at the expense of Gulf countries, and it’s easy to see how misguided the current approach is – and the policy has already earned a significant public rebuke.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 20, 2013, on page 7.
Home Editorial
 
     
 
Iran
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Friday April 18, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS