ROVING EYE The House of Saud
paranoia By Pepe Escobar
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great
Arab Revolt, please click here.
A very quiet summit recently took place at
a North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO) base
in Molesworth, in the United Kingdom. Facing the
British was none other than Prince Turki
al-Faisal, former director general of Saudi
Arabia's feared Mukhabarat (intelligence
services), and once a very close friend of slain
al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Turki was there to explain the House of Saud's
take on the great 2011 Arab revolt. In a nutshell;
he told the British - and the Americans - to
forget their silly ideas about "democracy". This
was all an Iranian plot.
The deployment of
Saudi Arabian troops in Bahrain and Yemen, and the
deployment of Wahhabi mercenaries in Libya and Syria
was nothing other than tools
to fight in ideological combat - and engage in
hardcore repression - against the spread of
Shi'ite Iran's influence.
The icing in
this desert cake is the ongoing transformation of
the Gulf Cooperation Council - in fact now a Gulf
Counter-Revolution Cub - into an alliance of Sunni
monarchies, with the incorporation of Jordan and
Morocco to current members Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab
The House of Saud remains the
proverbial staunch ally of the Washington/London
"special relationship" - its petrodollars ($300
billion in oil revenues in 2011, made possible by
owing 12% of global oil production) buying
everyone in sight from Egypt to Libya and
Palestine, while Arab al-Qaeda-linked networks
merrily bolster the uprisings in both Libya and
Yet - in this House of supreme
paranoia - what if the day comes when they
wouldn't be regarded as indispensable, staunch
allies anymore? What if Washington/London are
convinced that a more acceptable Middle East
should have Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood as
On the crucial energy front, the
House of Saud didn't fail to notice the fact that
the US will prefer to concentrate its future
energy needs on gas - and not oil, and this while
Saudi oil reserves are declining and China is
already Saudi Arabia's top trade partner (that's
one of the key reasons China abstained from United
Nations resolution 1973 on Libya; Beijing didn't
want to antagonize Riyadh).
Washington/London certainly increased
their own fears of a regional disaster when Prince
Turki was very clear Saudi Arabia would go for its
own nuclear bomb in case Iran did the same -
although there's no evidence whatsoever, according
to the International Atomic Energy Agency, that
Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program. By
the way Prince Turki himself made it clear on a
separate occasion; the only regional actor allowed
to have nuclear weapons is Israel.
Prince Turki's message at this "secret" NATO
meeting was essentially that we're top dog in the
Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, and from now on we
do what we want to do first, not necessarily what
you want us to do.
That could be the
definitive hint for Washington to finally drop
this inconvenient, medieval but staunch ally that
stubbornly wants to stop the flow of history - but
it won't be interpreted as such.
about Iranophobia The House of Saud has
used the great 2011 Arab revolt to propel
Iranophobia in the Sunni Arab world to all-out
hysteria. Iranophobia has been deployed as a
Saudi-orchestrated psy-ops for years now - geared
towards isolating Iran in the arc from Northern
Africa to Southwest Asia.
While trying to
depict Iran to Arab public opinion as the ultimate
evil, the House of Saud may hope to obscure the
role of the real profiteers - Western neo-colonial
powers which occupy or control, directly and
indirectly, the Arab world. Most of all,
Iranophobia is extremely useful for the House of
Saud, as well as the al-Khalifa Sunni dynasty in
Bahrain and the Emirates rulers, to mercilessly
repress their own people.
In the West,
Iranophobia has been misunderstood as a cold war
between Saudi Arabia and Iran. No; it's a
counter-revolutionary pys-ops conducted by the
House of Saud out of supreme fear of Iran's
regional alliances - with Hezbollah in Lebanon or
the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad - as well as
Iranian support, for instance, for the Houthi
rebellion in northern Yemen in 2009.
There's also a running myth that Saudi
King Abdullah, 86, illiterate and close to meeting
his maker, has tried to integrate Saudi Shi'ites -
especially via the King Abdulaziz Center for
National Dialogue. There's no way to understand
Saudi Arabia without examining its historical
prejudice against Shi'ites. Saudi schoolbooks
treat Shi'ites as non-Muslim infidels, or worse -
The heart of the
matter is that the House of Saud is bound by blood
with the Sunni Wahhabi clerical establishment. As
long as the monarchy follows their medieval
interpretation of sharia law, the king is incensed
as the legitimate "custodian of the two holy
So Iranophobia - as it's being
deployed especially after Tahrir Square in Egypt -
only serves to bolster Wahhabi medievalism, and to
demean Shi'ites, inside and outside the kingdom.
Thus the overall belief in Saudi Arabia that Iran
forced the overwhelming majority of Bahrain's
population to cry for democracy.
of the Saudi counter-revolution should not be
underestimated. As much as the House of Saud was
horrified by Egypt's Hosni Mubarak being "dumped"
by the Barack Obama administration, they have been
clever enough to bribe the Tantawi junta currently
in power with almost $4 billion. The House of Saud
is furious that Mubarak will have to stand trial.
Asia Times Online has extensively reported
on the Saudi invasion and repression in Bahrain.
In Yemen, Saudi "made-in-the-USA" jets have
routinely pulled an Obama AfPak gimmick, bombing
Shi'ite rebels across the border. But now the
House of Saud craves "stability" - that is, to
pick up the new post-Ali Abdallah Saleh ruler.
In Syria, it's more complicated. The House
of Saud, officially, is silent - while Saudi media
has a ball demonizing President Bashar al-Assad
and Saudi-financed networks, mildly Islamist and
even jihadi-oriented, work in the shadows.
Welcome to the end of history
House of Saud minions are all over
Saudi-controlled media talking about the kingdom's
"non-interference" policy. That's absurd; the
House of Saud for decades has interfered against
scores of progressive or leftist movements all
across the world, and pushed several countries to
civil war, from Lebanon to Yemen and Somalia -
either serving Washington's interests or most of
all the interests of their medieval Wahhabi
King Abdullah recently ordered
that the grand mufti and other top clerics simply
cannot be criticized. If you are even mildly
opposed to the House, you go to jail; 11,000
people have been arrested since 9/11, and more
than 5,000 remain in prison. No one has a clue who
these people are. Transparency is zero. And
there's no legal system responding to
internationally accepted standards.
Beheadings abound; 121 people last year.
There's no elected government, no political
parties, no free press. Two women were arrested
last Sunday in Riyadh because they were demanding
a fair trial for their relatives, according to
Amnesty International. On the same day, at least
20 people - including 16 women and children - were
arrested outside the feared Ministry of Interior
because they were demanding the release of
political prisoners, according to the Saudi Civil
and Political Rights Association.
Iranophobia is just another facet of a
House living in perpetual fear - and paranoia.
Wanna see the end of history? Board a flight to