Saudi King Requests Cease Fire Now.

14_7_2003_saud20al20faisal "We are requesting a cease-fire to allow for a cessation of hostilities," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said after an Oval Office meeting with Bush.

Saud said he gave the president a letter from Saudi King Abdullah asking that Bush help seek an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East conflict."  Yahoo


Well, so much for Sunni Arab support of the Israeli campaign.  The US had been claiming that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt favored Israel in the present unpleasantness.  This action repudiates that position.

It will be interesting to see if the Administration continues to make their previous claim, and what Egypt and Jordan will do.

Pat Lang

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24 Responses to Saudi King Requests Cease Fire Now.

  1. The Agonist says:

    Neocon Jibber-Jabber

    Remember all that jibber-jabber just a few days ago about how every Sunni Arab regime opposed to Hezbollah and was tacitly on the side of Israel? I didn’t believe it either, as I’m with what Ian said here:
    It should be noted that the governments of most

  2. pbrownlee says:

    Has the Government of Israel calculated that it may never have a US Administration more in its pocket and (relatively) helpless than right now?
    The extraordinary adventure in Lebanon could reflect a lack of total Israeli confidence in the “right” outcome of the US mid-term elections in November.
    For Olmert the clock may be ticking – this is der Tag.

  3. Hedley Lamar says:

    Prince Saud’s letter may reflect the Saudi concern over fellow Sunnis in Iraq. Even appearing to lean towards Israel over the Lebanon mess could bring down Shi’i retaliation against Iraqi Sunnis. And given the Saudi concerns there–which go back a long ways–a full-blown Iraq-Saudi Arabia crisis could ensue.

  4. MarcLord says:

    Translation from the original Saudi dialect: “Help, please. Our royal butts are in a sling if we let this stand any longer. We may be blowed up by our domestic extremists any day now.”
    Which way does the Bush Admin go? Show weakness by calling off Israel and betray some key lobbies, or show strength by doing nothing and fan the embers of resistance in Saudi Arabia. Neither approach makes for good theatre and both might play as wimpy on Fox News, so they are clearly unacceptable. Luckily, I have an elegant solution: bomb both Israel and Lebanon immediately, then call for a cease fire.
    The Barfight Script could work. Bush plays the part of the metaphorical Bouncer, goes up to Israel and breaks a beer bottle over its head, then kicks Lebanon in the Hezbollahs. Drags both parties out by their ears and throws them down bleeding and seething at a conference table, threatens further beatings if they don’t shake hands and be friends. Then empties their wallets and takes all their cash. (Hey, it worked for Tito, didn’t it?)
    Bush gets to look tough, stops the fighting, and stays in character by acting like a sadistic imbecile. His poll numbers skyrocket and the Preznit gets on the cover of Time for prescient, creative, and firm statecraft. Here I come, Nobel Prize. More importantly, the goal of making every country in the world hate the Bush Administration would finally be achieved. Really, why should Israel be neglected any longer? They’re part of the world, too, you know.

  5. Taylor Marsh says:

    SAUDIS to Bush: Time for a Ceasefire

    Every wingnut pundit was spouting off last week about how so many Arab rulers were criticizing Hezbollah. However, what the conservatives didn’t say was that these Sunni Arabs were actually pushing back at the Shia in their region. No more.

  6. zanzibar says:

    Faisal’s request to Bush was inevitable with Al Jazeera running away with a ratings coup with their 24 hr coverage from Lebanon with their shock value visuals playing on many Arab TVs.
    Similar to Faisal, King Abdullah in Jordan allowed a “sponsored” protest in Amman against Israel’s attacks on Lebanese infrastructure and civilian population.
    First these Arab regimes (Saudi, Egypt, Jordan) played to their US benefactor criticizing Hizballah and hoping Israel put Hizballah in their place with more than just a bloody nose. Now, with images of the death and destruction in Lebanon getting viewership better than American Idol here they had to “act” to placate the Arab street. It was just a matter of time.
    What I am very curious about is Sadr’s call to Maliki to cancel his visit to the US this week where I suppose the original plan was an Allawi redux. Now that visit and his speech to the joint session of Congress will have to be blacked out in Iraq if he needs to help his “buddies” Cheney and Rove out for this Nov.

  7. ikonoklast says:

    “Bush said he has directed Rice to discuss with Mideast leaders how best to end the fighting in Lebanon. The chief U.S. diplomat will not meet with Hezbollah leaders or their Syrian backers.”
    Ok, I’m stuck on stupid. How do you arrange a “maintainable cease-fire” if you don’t talk to both sides? Do they expect the Saudis to pressure Syria into reining in Hizballah? Considering how they’ve been wrangling for control of the Levant, that’s not a winning strategy … oh. “Ending the fighting” doesn’t necessarily mean one has to negotiate, just impose enough force to make it stop. Duhhh.
    So, Rice wants to make the Israelis promise to back off when the theorized international force is deployed. Or, since “Bolten said before the meeting that the U.S. will stand firmly behind Israel, noting that an attack on an ally is considered an attack on the U.S,” Rice can try to make sure Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Jordan and Egypt don’t get too pissed off while Israel does whatever it had planned all along.
    Or … spin it this way: the Saudi delegation went into this morning’s meeting prepared to accept loss of face from the US ignoring its stated wishes, in return for US/Israel beating up on the Shia. The Saudis and the other Sunnis can still publicly wail and gnash their teeth in public over US/Israeli intransigence. Meanwhile, the hypothetical international force arrives in Lebanon, thus providing a regional deterrent to Iran and Syria and augmenting the overstretched US forces in Iraq. Since a UN force will probably consist mainly of NATO troops, Turkey can be once again be enticed away from attacking the Kurds with promises of EU membership. The Kurds can bolster the Iraqi defense forces, and this also quashes the bruited military coup in Turkey as well as the whispers of an Iran/Turkey alliance to control northern Iraq.
    Thus: Israel secures borders, Shia states lose influence while Sunni states gain, US government buys time in an election year, oil supplies remain secure but pricey. Losers are the Iraqi and Lebanese civilians, but as we’ve seen, no one really cares about them anyway.
    It’s a brilliant plan!! Overarching strategery!! As long as they don’t run out of crack at the State Department …
    Which brings up the serious question of who is running the Mideast desk at the moment: State, Defense or Cheney’s cabal?

  8. MarcLord says:

    for future reference, do you have direct and routine access to the news service you referred to?

  9. zanzibar says:

    Marc, I got this from Juan Cole’s site. I like it as he sometimes posts translations of reports in the Iraqi press. Worth it as its interesting to find out what the other side is reading.
    BBC Monitoring translates form al-Sharqiyah Television:
    ‘July 21, 2006 Friday
    HEADLINE: Iraqi Shi’i cleric Al-Sadr urges premier to cancel US visit
    Text of report by Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV on 21 July
    Delivering a Friday sermon at Al-Kufah Mosque [21 July], [Shi’i] Iraqi religious cleric Muqtada al-Sadr asked Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki not to visit the United States.
    Al-Sadr said: “We heard that the prime minister is planning to head for America. We call on him not to do that.”
    Al-Sadr added: “Do not go there for the sake of the two dear Al-Sadr martyrs and you will have our support.”
    Al-Maliki, who is planning to visit the United States within the coming week, is scheduled to address a US Congress session on 26 July after meeting US President George Bush.
    Source: Al-Sharqiyah TV, Baghdad, in Arabic 1400 gmt 21 Jul 06’
    USG Open Source Center paraphrases Iraqi press reports, July 22:
    ‘ Al-Zaman carries on the front page a 300-word report entitled ‘Al-Mahdi Army Parades in Solidarity with Hizballah; Al-Sadr Demands Al-Maliki To Cancel His Visit to Washington. . .
    Al-Mashriq carries on the front page a 1,200-word report citing Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr forbidding Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from visiting the US. . .

  10. MarcLord says:

    thanks, zanz, just curious if you were physically over there. Juan Cole is only on my monthly rounds, so I miss a lot of good stuff. Thanks again for surfacing Sadr’s Al-Maliki demand. Seems unlikely he’d cancel the dog-n-pony in front of Congress, but methinks it’ll be hard to effectively keep the news of his doing so from spreading in Iraq.

  11. Hedley Lamar says:

    Oh well, what the Saudis want is pretty much academic at this point…
    Saudi Arabia asked President Bush on Sunday to intervene in Israel’s military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon to stop the mounting deaths, but administration officials said they remain convinced that an immediate cease-fire is not the answer.
    Boy, that was quick.
    Wonder what happens to oil prices now, eh?

  12. zanzibar says:

    Marc, Nope. I am physically in the good ol USofA.

  13. Simply a note indicating I just ran across your blog and very much enjoyed it as a Middle East hand, albeit very different area, myself. Particularly your comments on IDF etc.
    The Lounsbury

  14. DC says:

    Contrary to your analysis, I submit that a cease-fire is certainly in Saudi’s interest. The longer this conflict drags on, the more angry the Shiite element in SA will become. So there needs to be a delicate balance between supporting the Lebanese non-shiites and doing whatever it takes to squash Iran-dominated Hizbullah. Plus, we don’t know what REALLY took place in that meeting with Bush. Rice immediately goes to Beirut…we’ll see…

  15. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Who are you addressing? If it is me, then you can’t read English. pl

  16. ckrantz says:

    I wonder if the letter is intended for political cover or a genuine request? The Saudis have every reason wanting hezbollah crushed it seems to me. They and the rest of the US sunni alies clearly don’t want a resurgent shiism in the ME

  17. DC says:

    “Well, so much for Sunni Arab support of the Israeli campaign. The US had been claiming that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt favored Israel in the present unpleasantness. This action repudiates that position.”
    — My apologies, Pat. It’s not about me being unable to read English, but the reader having trouble interpreting exactly what you meant to say. I initially interpreted your post to mean SA has contradicted an earlier position. I see now that you’re probably saying that a cease-fire will be in the interest of both (SA and Israel parties). If you’re not saying that, well, then I’m saying there’s no inherent contradiction in what’s going on here. – peace –

  18. J says:

    A senior member of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Iraqi Shi’ite militia, the Mahdi Army, says the group is forming a squadron of up to 1,500 elite fighters to go to Lebanon.
    There will be more from other areas, that will now flock to Lebanon to fight Israel.
    Israel has opened up a Pandora’s box thanks to their air bombing of Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructures, that neither Olmert or Bush will be able close, short of nuclear razed earth.

  19. ckrantz says:

    OT but relevant I think. Anyone else seen reports in the news about a partioning
    of Baghdad that the reuters report talks about?
    ‘”Iraq as a political project is finished,” one senior government official said — anonymously because the coalition under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to the U.S.-sponsored constitution that preserves Iraq’s unity.
    One highly placed source even spoke of busying himself on government projects, despite a sense of their futility, only as a way to fight his growing depression over his nation’s future.
    “The parties have moved to Plan B,” the senior official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi’ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad’s mixed population of seven million.
    “There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west,” he said. “We are extremely worried.”‘

  20. Hedley Lamar says:

    “There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west,”
    Ah yes, the Good Old Days!
    The Berlin Wall. Checkpoint Charlie. I am a Jelly Doughnut.
    I knew those crafty neocons were going to bring back the Cold War, divided city and all.

  21. Peter Brownlee says:

    I took the point to be that you cannot (or at least should not) maintain that your policies have the support of key Arab Governments if this has been explicitly contradicted by those Governments — thus:
    “The leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia are due to hold talks Tuesday to discuss ways to reach a cease-fire in Lebanon, as the US resists calls by the kingdom to put pressure on Israel. ‘We requested a cease-fire to allow for the cessation of hostilities, to allow for the rebuilding of the forces of Lebanon,’ Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said after Sunday’s meeting of more than an hour with Bush and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
    “The Saudi-Egyptian talks are part of a flurry of diplomatic activity to end fighting, with the UN considering dispatching envoys to Syria and Iran and Jordan’s King Abdullah II arriving in Kuwait to discuss developments.
    “Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah will meet in Alexandria to discuss ‘measures to be taken to declare an immediate cease-fire and end the human and material losses resulting’ from the war, Cairo’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) said.
    “Mubarak repeated calls on Monday for an immediate cease-fire, saying a longer-term solution could be worked out later.
    “Mubarak also warned that the onslaught could cause ‘a humanitarian catastrophe’.
    “After the cease-fire we can deal with all issues causing the current problem,’ he told MENA, suggesting a package of longer-term proposals, including a prisoner swap, to resolve the crisis once a cease-fire is in place.
    “Mubarak said broader regional issues had to be addressed after the end of the hostilities, including a dispute over Shebaa Farms.”

  22. canuck says:

    Israel to maintain buffer zone
    Plans to maintain control until international force present

  23. Charlie Green says:

    This entire invasion seems to be based on as solid a foundation as our invasion of Iraq according to Charley Reese:
    If his facts are right, Israel is the attacker, not the Hizballah.

  24. Carroll says:

    Hi…I just started reading here and maybe someone can clue me in on what this may mean…
    “RIYADH, July 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said on Tuesday Israel’s military offensives on Lebanon and the Palestinians could ignite a war in the region, state media said. “If the peace option fails because of Israeli arrogance, there will be no other option but war,” Saudi state television quoted the king as saying in an official statement.”
    Suppose there is a larger all out war in the region…could the Saudis remain netural? I don’t see how taking the US position would be safe for them in that case.
    How many Arab allies would the US/Isr have in the event of regional war? enough to protect the Saudis?
    Seems to me if the Saudis had to choose sides they might have to choose the Arab side period. Cut off our oil supplies and a war would be over.

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