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Saudi Arabia Openly Supports U.S. New Strategy in Iraq

By Mac     Jan 17, 2007 in World
Help can come from unexpected quarters. . . especially in the enormously complex reality of Middle Eastern politics.
U.S. troops efforts to crack down on those Iranians who support insurgencies, and who themselves are internationally-sought criminals, is part of the overall change in U.S. strategy. One new goal is to stop Iran's attempt to cause chaos in Iraq. (What took the U.S. so long?!) This is a goal welcomed by the Iraqi government.
After a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice last week, Saudi leaders expressed their support of the new Bush agenda in Iraq. Saudi Arabia, which is largely Sunni, has long been concerned with the rising power of Shi'ite factions in the Iraqi government. (Iraq's population is largely Shi'ite, however Saddam's government was Sunni. During his reign, Shi'ites were persecuted.) Since the early balance of powers in the fledgling government, the power of al-Maliki's Shi'ite loyalists has increased, leaving Sunnis largely disenfranchised at this point. Iran is Shi'ite - and supports the rise of Shi'ite power in Iraq, putting it at direct opposition to Saudi Arabian goals.
Saudi Arabia hinted to Rice that it intends to militarily assist the Sunnis in Iraq if necessary. Meanwhile, loyalties to Iran increase within the Iraqi government. The Sunni Iraqi VP, Tareq al-Hashemi, concerned over the growing imbalance in the government, has warned the West that recently government ministers openly discussed deliberately providing strategic support for sectarian militias to get revenge for past terrorist atrocities...
Four days ago, U.S. officials say, a raid in the Kurdish-controlled city of Irbil captured Iranian "diplomats" who may also have been members of the Revolutionary Guard -- a military organization comprised of the most dedicated agents of the regime in Tehran. The Iranians are believed to have been smuggling bombs into Iraq, and even several harsh critics of the war now acknowledge that the Bush administration has a point. For example, the authors of a detailed analysis in the left-wing Guardian newspaper in London concede that the idea "of the Iranians inspiring 'managed chaos' to raise the price of the American occupation is, at least, believable. Indeed, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered recently to help the Americans out of the quagmire in Iraq on condition that they promise to withdraw."
These U.S. measures to stem interference and chaos-creation from Iran, have further pushed Iraqi government loyalties to Tehran...
If the Iraqi govenment does not step up and begin to see its own part in creating a peaceful future as more important than factional pride, the U.S. cannot help no matter what the strategy.
The Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said:
"We agree fully with the goals set by the new (Bush administration) strategy, which in our view are the goals that, if implemented, would solve the problems that face Iraq. Implementation also re-quires a response by the Iraqis to these goals. Other countries can help but the main responsibility in taking decisions rests on the Iraqis."
Perhaps Saudi Arabia is destined to play a larger role in resolving the Iraq quagmire than anyone could anticipate...
More about Saudi, Arabia, Strategy, Iraq, Iran