“the wolf by the ears”

The question often arises of the strange doings of Saudi Arabia and their apparent fecklessness in not taking up positions which would be satisfactory to us in the West.  Truth to tell, Saudi Arabia is not a "nation state,"  is difficult to think of as a homogeneous "nation," but is a "state."  In fact it is a family enterprise.  That is why it is called, "Saudi Arabia."  The family of owners are the Al-Saud.

The Saudi government is run as a family business with the help of people who have proven or who hope to prove their loyalty to the family. The idea of Saudi "citizenship" is a bit of a joke. Saudis are "subjects" of the monarchy, not citizens in the sense that would be understood elsewhere, even in other Arab kingdoms. Jordan, for example.

The perceived legitimacy of the Saudi state rests on its three hundred year old alliance and symbiosis with the Wahhabi sect of Islam. As a result of that relationship the Saudi government has felt required to fund many zealot schools and other projects around the world. In the process, they have "created" a mass environment in the kingdom that is xenophobic, and intolerant of other peoples’ ways and beliefs.

The Saudi government now has the problem of placating the largely anti-Western ‘Ulema and masses while retaining some sort of "working" relationship with the US. Difficult.

To borrow an expression from Mr. Jefferson, the Saudi establishment has "the wolf by the ears."

Hobson’s choice.

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One Response to “the wolf by the ears”

  1. common sense says:

    This is why I think it useful to get some sense of which way the Sauds are going.
    Rather dismally I feel we’ve pushed to our limits. We are increasingly dependant on others for little pieces and an often resentful world is taking a bit of blood.
    The Russian-Chinese- central Asian declaration that we didn’t need those bases was an example. And I predict that when a draft Iraqi constitution is sent out it will ignore at least some of Rumsfeld’s ultimatiums.
    The right never knew all the people we need, if you read their blogs we have resources to invade Iran and Syria and send troops to the border to keep illegal aliens out. They consider it a sign of strength (as so insecure big mouths) to continually knock France and speak of the joys of nuking Mecca.
    Rove focused on these spoutings, within his context (domestic politics) we were winning, our poor naive president wasn’t fully informed that there was an interrelated world out there, no one told him those other countries were really important. How as he supposed to know?
    But now I think it’s coming home. The United States can be pushed. Pakistan just implied a few days ago if any of our troops strayed across the border that apropiate responses would be taken.
    I think there is a smell of weakness and people are responding, hedging their bets and I believe the only “strength” we’ve been projecting is bluster, a bluster whose limits are becoming clear.
    I thik we’ve been smacking the tarbaby.
    To remind everyone of a large scale strategic issue read Volkner on the current economy, it’s pecariously balanced. Now think of possible effects of oil shortages, panics and all the psychological things that can collapse markets.
    This threatens the Bush “economic miracle.”

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