Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bush's Saudi visit: Something serious behind the comic-opera veneer?

US coverage of Bush's visit to Riyadh focused on the issue of oil production, almost completely ignoring the agreement that was signed by the two heads of state relating to nuclear energy production and other issues, but most importantly this (on the unimpeachable authority of Voice of America):
The agreement expands cooperation to better safeguard the kingdom's vast oil reserves and its pipeline distribution system, as well as borders.
Isn't that nice?

Oil-industry sources in the Gulf contacted by the news agency nahrainnet didn't think so. The reporter explains:
The joint communique said the United States and Saudi Arabia agreed on cooperation to secure energy production in the kingdom by protecting essential infrastructure, strengthening Saudi borders, and responding to increased requirements for energy. Oil sources in the Gulf told Nahrainnet: "The Saudis, with this agreement assigning to the United States protection of oil installations and oil fields in the kingdom, has taken an exceptionally dangerous step, because it has permitted the American military umbrella to take upon itself the taking of whatever steps it thinks will protect vital oil installations in the kingdom, even if other Gulf states like Iran think these [steps] are hostile to them, since [the possibilities] include establishment of missiles and surveillance networks, so this is a serious security development involving adding to the tinderbox of tension in the region.

The sources added: "The inclusion of this clause in the communique is an announcement of the signing of a security agreement between the two countries, including in its details the distribution of American experts in broad areas of the kingdom to construct a network of missile bases, information-gathering, intelligence and surveillance, and it will all be directed against Iran, because the Americans see no threat to regional oil, or to Saudi oil in particular, except from Iran, which has threatened to strike oil and non-oil assets of countries in the region if it is attacked by America or by Israel."
This is directly contrary to the spin that is being put on this visit by the American "foreign-policy expert" groupies, all buying into the idea that the purpose of the visit was to risk being rebuffed and humiliated on the question of boosting oil production. As you can see from the following excerpt from yesterday's NYT:
Jon Alterman, a Mideast expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Saudi confidence in the United States has been “extremely shaken,” over the war as well as what Saudis perceive as Mr. Bush’s lackluster effort on behalf of the rights of Palestinians.

“They’ll be polite,” Mr. Alterman said, “but they’re not really going to put themselves out to help this president.”

Still, Mr. Bush had little choice but to try.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe when Pelosi was in Baghdad she yelled "PSYCH" at them.....

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't there something odd in a situation in which the US military "protects" Saudi oil while at the same time "asking" for more of it? Don't the Saudis see a potential problem with that?

6:19 AM  

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