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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/19/17

Mohammed bin Salman: a useful idiot

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Message Jean-Luc Basle

Saudi Arabia has no business taking on Iran. Crushing Iran is part of the United States' hegemonic plan, and Israel's goal to dominate the region. Mohammed bin Salman is way over his head, a peon in a power game. He will come out as a hero if the United States and Israel succeed in achieving their goals or a fool if they fail.

Saudi Arabia's sole claims to fame are the Prophet and its hydrocarbon reserves. Its population is uneducated and subjected to the will of an archaic religion, Wahhabism. It's a backward country, and will remain so as long as Wahhabism reigns supreme. All Saudi Arabia's recent attempts to influence the course of events in the region failed. The Syrian rebellion has been routed out by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad with the help of Russia and Iran. The war in Yemen triggered a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion. It has been strongly condemned by the United Nations. Salman's decision to kidnap Saad Hariri is laughable and pathetic. What good could come out of it? Coming after his decision to arrest eleven princes makes one wonder whether he has the capacity to run the country. How can he convince foreigners to invest in his pet project, Vision 2030, if, concomitantly, he jailed Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the most successful Saudi investor? Where will he find the competent people he needs?

Must Saad Hariri's abduction be taken seriously? Saudi Arabia cannot take on Iran alone. It needs the United States and Israel. Neither nation can participate in an open confrontation. They would not have a leg to stand on. Iran is abiding by the 2015 nuclear agreement signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China--plus Germany and the European Union. Donald Trump's invectives and Benjamin Netanyahu's admonitions are falling on deaf ears. The pact stands. Iran has no hegemonic view, and never has had in its history. Its main objective is to exploit its oil resources for its sole benefit, as demonstrated by Mohammed Mossadegh's decision to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1951 or Mohammad Reza's adhesion to OPEC in 1960.

If a direct participation in an open conflict is not possible, could the United States and Israel be secretly involved? If so, this will be known very quickly. What will Russia do? Vladimir Putin was in Teheran early this month. The two countries are now irrevocably linked by events and interests. Russia will come to Iran's rescue, if it is attacked. Abandoning Iran would mean abandoning Syria and soon facing the United States in Eastern Europe, in Ukraine or in the Suwalki corridor -- an unacceptable series of events.

Neither the United States nor Israel will achieve their respective goal. From his confrontation with Iran, Mohammad bin Salman will come out as a fool in a dangerous and unrealistic game which benefits the industrial military complex, as demonstrated by the $310 millards arms deal, the American oil service industry, and Wall Street with the forthcoming floating of ARAMCO shares on the New York stock exchange. Will the Saudis ever learn their lesson?


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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School

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