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Pres. Obama to visit Saudi Arabia amid worry over Iran deal

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(CNN) — President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March as concern over his administration’s recent interim deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons stirs concern among other Mideast nations.

While in the country he’ll meet with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss Middle East peace and common interests in the Arabian Gulf, the White House said Monday. Aside from the recent nuclear accord, struck last fall, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state neighbors have expressed frustration at the United States’ role in Syria, where rebels continue to battle against the Iran-backed regime.

The trip will come following a previously scheduled visit to Europe that will include a meeting with Pope Francis. It will be Obama’s second visit to Saudi Arabia; he visited the Kingdom in 2009 as part of his first trip as president to the Middle East.

Last year Obama traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan; next month he’ll meet with Jordan’s king at the Sunnylands retreat in California.

Saudi Arabia and the United States are longtime allies, having been bound by mutual military interests and Saudi Arabia’s oil supplies. The alliance has been shaken, however, by the U.S. deal with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran.

The interim plan, which started taking effect in January, loosened some U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for a drawdown in nuclear enrichment. Saudi officials, speaking when the deal was struck, said they had been left out of the negotiating process.

Earlier in the fall, Saudi leaders expressed dismay when Obama didn’t order air strikes in Syria, which he initially advocated for but backed away from when it appeared Congress wasn’t on board.

“We believe that many of the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risk the stability and security of the Middle East. This is a dangerous gamble, about which we cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud, wrote in The New York Times in December.

Speaking at the White House Monday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Iran and Syria would be discussed during Obama’s meeting with King Abdullah in March.

“Whatever differences we may have do not alter the fact that this is a very important and close partnership,” Carney said.

3 comments

  • peterdow

    Saudi Arabia sponsors Al-Qaeda and other terrorist attacks against us. So how do we stop that? How do we beat Saudi Arabia in the war on terror?

    Wikipedia: State-sponsored terrorism. 1. By countries. 1.11 Saudi Arabia –
    “Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds for Salafi jihadist terrorist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to Hillary Clinton. According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups.”

    The dollar value of Saudi oil exports varies according to the oil price and how much is produced in any year.
    For example, in 2009 it was only $163 billion but in 2013 it was estimated to be $334 billion.

    So the plan is to take a share of that.

    What we can do very effectively and humanely is prevent, limit or tax Saudi Arabia’s oil exports. All Saudi Arabia’s oil exports leave in oil tankers.

    Now, we’ve seen how easy it was for Somali pirates to take unescorted ships. We had to deploy NATO naval power to protect shipping from those Somali pirates.

    Now, imagine how very easy it would be for NATO to pirate or blockade oil tankers exporting oil from Saudi Arabia or indeed from any of the Middle East ports.

    It would be like taking candy from a baby.

    So we could confiscate a proportion of oil tankers, impose a tax, make them pay, compel them enough to mend their ways, explain on seized Arab satellite TV what the Arabs need to do by way of stopping terrorism and regime change to get their oil flowing in full again.

    As a military strategy, it’s a no-brainer. An easy win. A home run. A slam dunk.

    We can control a lot of the oil business because a lot of oil moves around in oil tankers and we can use naval power to control the movement of oil tankers.

    If oil tankers don’t take their shipping destination from the orders of our navies then board the oil tankers with marines – that’s what marines were originally for – put a naval team on board and ship the oil tanker to where we want it to unload it.

    Ideally, the flow of oil would be where we want it to go. So we wouldn’t be trying to cut off ALL oil flow. We’d be directing the oil tankers to go where we wanted them to go, not to where the Saudi’s paying customers wanted them to go.

    If customers wanted the oil, they’d have to pay us and the Arabs would get paid only what we wanted them to get paid and the money wouldn’t go into Saudi royal bank accounts but into the hands of the needy Arab people, including paying the wages and costs of extracting the oil itself of course. No doubt Big Oil can help us with that side of things.

    Pay the oil company which filled the oil tanker with oil in the first place a minimal value which covers the costs of doing so, but doesn’t pay the full market value including profits.

    We sell the oil at full market value and use the profits for our good causes, not sponsoring terrorism, paying down our war debts, investing in new water and electricity supply works for Iraq, all kinds of good things like that.

    Now, it’s never as simple as that because the Saudis could try to cut off the oil production themselves, but we could argue against that on seized Arab satellite TV and use that as another reason to call for a revolution to overthrow the Saudis.

    Of course, there will be panic on the oil market as the new system of control is announced and our naval blockades go into place. Sure, the oil price will sky rocket for a time. However in due course it should settle down and we may well end up with lower oil prices when the fuss has died down.

    Fighting the war on terror like that, makes the Afghan war look retarded, a famous military disaster in comparison.

    Once we have control of Saudi oil we won’t need them to buy much off us so no more need for our political leaders to grovel like slimey salesmen before the Saudi King!

    In fact, we could bankrupt Saudi Arabia and thereby regime change the Saudis to another Arab regime, one which didn’t sponsor terrorism against us!

    So that’s how we can beat Saudi Arabia in the war on terror!

  • Ajax Lessome

    Accepting Iran into the community of nations will empower Tehran’s territorial ambitions while increasing the vulnerability of Gulf States. It will energize its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, currently fighting alongside Iranian Revolutionary guards in Syria and bolster Iraq’s Shiite-dominate government.

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