"Obaid is a personal national security advisor to Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki al-Faisal and what he is writing is no doubt the public version of what King Abdullah told Cheney when the VP was summoned to Riyadh.
What Obaid has articulated here is not offered as a threat if the US leaves Iraq, which the US must do in my view. This is the first robust declaration that the Saudis are willing to fill the vacuum left by the United State in the region and knock back some of the unchecked expansion of Iranian influence in the region.
It's not good to have rising powers with pretensions of future greatness clashing like this -- but there is NO CHOICE.
And frankly, it's much better to have the Saudis engaged that not engaged in Iraq. Iran must be balanced -- and while this may seem like an escalation, it actually is an important potential cap on a worsening of this increasingly ulcerous mess in Iraq.
But what the Saudis are doing and what they need to be do is not new -- it has been predicted for quite a while. And this is the consequence of the Bush administration's failure to think strategically. We have now drawn Saudi Arabia into a potential collision that could destabilize that nation and seriously harm our access to vital oil and natural gas supplies.
So don't blame the Saudis for seeing the world and their region as it is -- not as George W. Bush fantasizes."
"...but Philip Zelikow's departure as Condi Rice's Counselor is very bad for those hoping for a more enlightened Bush administration foreign policy course.* meanwhile, xymphora on zelikow's resignation: "Chalk another one up for the neocons"
This is not good news for our side. Zelikow leaving indicates a few things -- Cheney still has significant power; regional deal-making in Middle East is still more fantasy than real (despite Olmert's recent moves); and our 'chances' of finding a third option between bombing and acquiescing to Iran diminish significantly with Zelikow's departure (my take anyway).
Zelikow had faults as we all do -- but he really was the only master strategist left who might have played a historic role in reshaping the US's foreign policy future. I think Rice really needed him."
* larisa appears to have a girl crush on this woman for some reason. meanwhile, re the nuclear sushi, she says:
"This is quite serious and possibly an act of war against the west. But it seems the major focus of most people is on yet another terra threat, which I won't even bother to link to because it is total bullshit! See, in the US we are hiding from theory while in actuality, a bio-nuke weapon was used on British soil, possibly contaminating a number of people and perhaps spreading into other locations outside of the crime. Hello? Can we just shut the terra warning system off for now? Just until we get this real act of terrorism under control?"* meanwhile, xymphora on russian assasinations:
"We seem to be looking at a battle royale between Boris Berezovsky and the Russian state. Gaidar is a mild critic of the regime, but an insider, and Kerimov, unlike Berezovsky and the crooks who are sheltered in Israel, remained in Russia and is a big shareholder in Putin’s baby, Gazprom."* jen's site has been pulled by Blogger. Booooo. I presume the copyright Gods got to her.
* meanwhile, jen has a new home. yay. apparently she has a new trick to get around Fair Use.
* someone from Australia made a comment over at FDL. someone replied:
"When you refresh the page, does it spin clockwise or counter-clockwise?"