Monday 25th November
Robert Fisk, that wily old Independent reporter of all matters Middle East believes that almost all of the Arab uprising, the civil war in Syria and the struggles between Sunni and Shia is really a massive power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. There have even been rumours that Saudi has a secret deal with Pakistan to ‘borrow’ their Nuclear capacity if needed. Who knows? Anything is possible these days. And so, what do we think about the deal, that is no deal but a possible precursor to a deal with Iran? Well, it is a start. And jaw-jaw is always better than war-war.
One way of looking at the last few decades would be that the West was doing everything in its power to isolate and eventually defeat Iran. Saudi Arabia was our ally and co-incidentally the Saudis were the world’s greatest producers of oil; no wonder they had to be our friends. But now that the USA itself thanks largely to fracking is again the largest oil producer, maybe we don’t need them so much now.
Also they are the least democratic large nation on earth (the Saudis not USA, but that may be debatable), how much longer can the West support such a country? And Iran is possibly returning to the fold, coming in from the cold a bit, starting to be a tad more conciliatory. But this deal may not stop them from their Nuclear ambitions at all. The Isreali’s are certain it won’t, but then the Isrealis are suddenly scared. Syria is still a mess and so hardly a threat to them, but if Iran is now preferred to the Saudis suddenly Isreal looks more and more isolated.
I have always believed that Isreal is the real problem in the Middle East, or Isreali intransigence anyway. They have steadfastly refused to negotiate in any serious way on the Palestinian question, they continue to attempt to expand their borders, the only country in the world trying to do so. And the reason is that they know that however badly they behave America will always come running to their rescue. But maybe that perspective is changing too; America itself seems to be changing, more inclusive, more international; more interested in stopping wars than starting them. On the surface it looks as if Obama has been a failure as a President, but maybe he has changed things more fundamentally. And if he can actually pull off a deal with Iran he could indeed go down in history as one of the greats.