May 16, 2015

Washington To Gulf Royals: You Idiots Are On Your Own

Creators of ISIS pose for the cameras at Camp David. Source of photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press.

An excerpt from, "Obama: No Mideast NATO, but US committed to Security of Arab Gulf States" by Juan Cole, May 15, 2015:
The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council came to meet President Barack Obama at Camp David in search of a renewed, formalized US commitment to their security. They came away disappointed. Though they did get firm oral commitments, there is no prospect of formal treaty obligations binding the US to defend them.

The GCC was formed in 1981 to strengthen relations among six states: Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. They are all monarchies, all are ruled by Sunnis or Wahhabis, all are on the Persian Gulf (which they call the Arab Gulf), all have substantial expatriate guest worker populations, and all have fossil fuel riches (though Bahrain is the poor cousin here). With the exception of Saudi Arabia they all have small Arabic-speaking citizen populations and therefore cannot hope to field armies to defend themselves. They were shaken by the Arab youth revolutions of 2011 and the rise of populist Muslim movements, and have come to fear uprisings from below. The combination of being small, weak, elitist and fabulously wealthy makes them understandably nervous about external threats, as well. Iraq’s attempt to erase Kuwait in 1990-91 sent chills down all their spines. More recently, Shiite Iran’s alliance with Iraq and with Houthi-dominated Yemen have made them feel surrounded and besieged.
America was founded fighting the tyranny of a faraway king. Will it perish defending one? The political elites of 21st century USA are not exactly founding father material. But they're not totally stupid, either. A good bet is that they leave the Saudi monarch and the other idiots in the GCC out to dry. It'll be fun to watch. The snubbing, infighting, and backbiting has already begun. The senile Saudi king insulted the Obama administration by not attending the U.S-GCC clown summit at Camp David. Many more of these kinds of insults from both sides are on the way.