[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com]
Lightning paced thriller writer
of International Intrigue
National Bestselling Author

Hostile Allies
by Allan Topol, [IMAGE]2007


Photo Courtesy: Julie Zitin
[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com] It’s finally out in the open. The Bush Administration’s efforts to conceal the increasing conflict between the United States and Saudi Arabia have failed. Lest there be any doubt on this issue, it was King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia himself who set the record straight. At the recent summit meeting of Arab leaders, Abdullah described the United States’ struggle to improve the lives of the Iraqi people as an “illegitimate foreign occupation.” With friends like this, who needs enemies.

Hey, wait a minute, Mr. King. Our troops are dying daily and we’re spending billions like water to promote stability in your neighborhood and to protect you from an onslaught by Iran and the Shiites it supports. And by the way, if you’re having memory loss, we saved your throne in the first Gulf War. Had we let Saddam Hussein swallow up Kuwait, he would have taken over Saudi Arabia next.

The Saudi conflict with Washington has been brewing privatively for months. Last November, the day after Thanksgiving, Vice President Cheney was still digesting turkey when he was summoned to Riyadh to meet with King Abdullah. Nobody was talking after this meeting, but word leaked out that it was a bitter exchange. The Saudi King was blaming the United States for the rise in Shiite power and influence.

The tough public statement by the Saudi King about the United States’ role in Iraq was astounding. In the past, the Saudi monarch has operated in a private, subtle and discrete manner. This unusual step can be explained by a single word: FEAR.

The Saudi’s are scared to death that the basic power structure in the Middle East is disintegrating. For decades, the Sunni Muslims led by Saudi Arabia have had all of the guns and money. Hence the power. The Shiite Muslims, despised by the Sunnis for fourteen centuries, following a bitter war about Mohammad’s succession, have been viewed by the Sunnis as heretics. The Shiites have been poor, disenfranchised and powerless.

What’s changing now in a radical realignment is that Iran, a Shiite, but non Arab state, is emboldening Shiites throughout the Middle East. In Iraq, Shiites who comprise sixty percent of the population, have taken control of the government, to the extent one exists. If the Iraqi government fails, the result will be partition. There will never be rule by a Sunni dictator like Saddam Hussein again.

This brings us back to fear. Ten percent of the Saudi population consists of poor Shiites who have no role in the government. They happen to reside in the eastern portion of the country, which has all the oil. King Abdullah is worried that with encouragement from Shiites in Iran, the Saudi Shiites could look at what’s happening in Iraq and get funny ideas of their own. They might decide to break away from the country and form a separate state with all that oil. If that happens, the Saudi King and his entourage would be back riding camels along a desert landscape littered with bankrupt high rise buildings.

The Bush Administration has desperately been trying to prevent an open break with the Saudis. To placate Abdullah, Condoleezza Rice has mounted a full court press to resolve the Israeli Palestinian dispute. At first blush, it seems odd that the Saudis, who have been so hard line against Israel that they would never utter the “I” word, have suddenly become the proponents of establishing relations with Israel, once Israel resolves its dispute with its neighbors. However this is the Middle East. The bizarre constantly occurs. Again, this Saudi policy can be traced back to the Saudi fear of Iran.

The Iranians have been exploiting the Israel Palestinian dispute by supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon. They have also been currying favor with the Syrian government. The Saudis are fearful hat the Iranians will control not only Syria but Lebanon and the Palestinians, squeezing Saudi Arabia in the middle. Abdulla’s effort to play peacemaker for the Palestinians has produced frustration for the Saudi King. The Palestinians refuse to behave rationally, and the Israelis won’t commit national suicide even to appease Washington.

Abdullah will have to live with his fear and frustration. What a shame. Having all that money from petro dollars and being unhappy.