You would have to assume Prince Saud Al-Faisal was speaking sotto voce to the Israelis – he couldn’t have been expecting anything from the weirdly distracted Obama administration – when, according to the AP, the Saudi Foreign Minister opined publicly at a Monday meeting with Hillary Clinton:
“Sanctions are a long-term solution,” the Saudi minister said. “But we see the issue in the shorter term because we are closer to the threat,” referring to Iran. “We need immediate resolution rather than gradual resolution.”
He didn’t identify a preferred short-term resolution.
U.S. officials traveling with Clinton said privately they were uncertain what al-Faisal meant, since the Saudi government has been explicit in its support of sanctions against Iran. They said he appeared to be suggesting that sanctions may not be effective and that other action could be required.
No kidding? I wonder what those other actions might be. Challenging Ahmadinejad to a game of Chinese checkers? Whoever the “U. S. officials” were they were being more than a tad disingenuous. Prince Saud might as well have been singing John McCain’s favorite Beach Boys song aloud. You remember the one – a parody of “Barbara Ann” with a little extra oomph in the lyrics (“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb…Bomb Iran” for those of you who missed the last election). And Saud was most likely singing to the Israelis because it would be hard to have confidence in the Obama people at this point when they have spent their entire term in office allowing the mullahs more time (approaching fourteen months now) to build a “Barbara Ann” of their own.
As for sanctions, who could believe in them? Certainly not a Saudi, who lives across the street from the mad mullahs, or certainly not even any remotely impartial observer who has watched Khamenei & Co. put the boot to their own people since the Iranian election/selection. If they can shoot their own citizens in the streets, do you think they’ll really be worried about sanctions from abroad, sanctions that any un-law-abiding mullah knows never hold up for long anyway? Clinton herself is now finally admitting that Iran is “moving toward a military dictatorship.” Toward? What has it been? Well, a religious and military dictatorship lead by theocrats who believe in the coming of their Mahdi/messiah amidst global chaos. Those kind of millenialists are going to worry about sanctions? They love the bomb more than Dr. Strangelove did – or Slim Pickens…. Well, maybe a few of the more cynical mullahs in the pistachio business have more sense, but I wouldn’t bet the house on them.
No wonder Prince Saud is worried. I wouldn’t be surprised if he woke up in the middle of the night whispering, “Benjamin Netanyahu, save me.” Not that I would want to be Netanyahu. You want to be the leader of a country these days, you’re asking for a lot more than you bargained on. I wouldn’t doubt Barack Obama is feeling that right now – and then some. With all his domestic problems, he needs Iran like the proverbial hole in the head. But Iran he is going to have – in a big way – like it or not. I don’t know what he or anybody else is going to do about it, but it may be time to reconsider the famous words of Trotsky… even if he never said them.