January 17, 2016

PANIC IS WISE:

Saudi Arabia is in a state of panic (Tom Kool, 1/17/16, OilPrice.com )

3. Iran has assumed a very significant leadership role among Shia Arabs

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently locked in a bitter proxy war on two fronts: Syria and Yemen.

Iran has the support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, along with support from the majority of Shiites in Iraq. More to the point, Iran has even managed to grow its Shiite support base among Sunni-ruled nations. The execution of Shia Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr by the Saudis is an indirect acceptance of the growing influence of Iran among the suppressed 15 percent Shiite population in Saudi Arabia. This shows that the Saudi leadership is feeling threatened on their own soil.

4. Saudi Arabia cannot defeat Iran in a direct war

Iran is a much larger nation than Saudi Arabia by population and has held its own in numerous long wars. By comparison, the Saudis have an army that is inexperienced, led by loyalists of the Royal family who occupy plum postings. These are not the war-hardened generals of Iran.

While Saudi Arabia has a nice arsenal with the latest weaponry, the kingdom is heavily dependent on the West for its use and maintenance. Its indecisive and ineffective handling of three conflict fronts--Iraq, Syria, and Yemen--give us no confidence in its ability to take on Iran.

5. Saudi Arabia knows it won't have U.S. support for a direct war with Iran

The painfully misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are enough to deter the current U.S. administration from entering into full-fledged war in the Syrian and Yemen theaters. Washington's non-committal stance, along with efforts to broker a deal with Iran, should serve as very loud signals to Saudi Arabia.

The message to the kingdom is this: Don't go to war with the hope that that U.S. will support you. And without the West, Saudi Arabia knows it stands no chance of winning a war against Iran. The royal family will probably not take the risk of losing power by indulging in such a war.

Posted by at January 17, 2016 6:05 PM

  

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