Friday, December 22, 2006

What Caused the Spine Infusion?

Saudi Arabia is extremely cautious when confronting enemies.

All through the Iran-Iraq War, Saudi Arabia supported Iraq with money and cooperated in the Tanker War to throttle Iranian oil exports while keeping Iraqi sea lines of communication open. Yet it was only late in the war in April 1988, when Iran was visibly on the ropes due to American-led naval intervention and Iraqi successes on the ground, that Saudi Arabia finally cut diplomatic ties with Iran.

So this is interesting:

The Saudi Arabian government claims that Iranian support for several militias in Iraq has resulted in a "state within a state," with these private armies of pro-Iranian gunmen operating largely independently of the Iraqi government. Saudi Arabia now threatens to openly aid Iraqi Sunni Arabs if the Iraqi government does not control the Shia Arab militias (which have been active in murdering Sunni Arabs, and driving others from the country.) Iraqi Shia Arabs, and Iran, hold Iraqi Sunni Arabs responsible for keeping Saddam Hussein in power, for the 1980s war with Iran, and for decades of killing and oppressing Kurds and Shia Arabs. In effect, Saudi Arabia is threatening to go to war with Iran, via support for anti-Iran Sunni Arabs in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia's military is not nearly as good as it was twenty years ago. Yet Saudi Arabia seems willing to tangle with the Iranians now? When Iran could soon have nuclear missiles? And with Saudi Shias potentially looking to Tehran for support?

It almost makes me think that the Saudis expect somebody to do something about Iran soon.