Two weeks ago, Trita Parsi, author of Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy, tweeted about a 2015 article on a “German spy agency [that] warns of Saudi shift to ‘impulsive’ policies”
Two years ago, Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency issued “an unusual public statement”, warning that Saudi Arabia was becoming more precipitous in its foreign policy, as powerful young Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman asserted himself. Part of the reason for Saudi Arabia’s aggressiveness, the BND suggested, was that Riyadh was losing confidence in the United States as a guarantor of Middle East order.
Could this impulsiveness have unravelled itself to its fullest extent with American President Trump? After all, North Korea, for one, doubts Trump’s presidency will survive, never mind his ability to make peace.
Either way, the BND released a 1-1/2 page report, entitled “Saudi Arabia – Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation”, which reported that this favored son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud could get so powerful that he would labor to secure the royal family succession.
Saudi Arabia is not powerful enough to balance its rival Iran, but if it can trap the United States in the Middle East, it can have the US balance Iran.
The BND said there was a risk that the prince would irritate other royal family members and the Saudi people with reforms, while undermining relations with friendly, allied states in the region.
“The thus far cautious diplomatic stance of the elder leaders in the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive interventionist policy,” the agency warned.
Parsi, who is also President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), told The Iranian that “the Saudi game plan is to instigate a crisis that will force the United States to re-enter the region militarily.”
Indeed, the crisis may have happened Nov. 4, with the apparent kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who turned up in Riyadh and, according to The Financial Times announced his resignation with “all the conviction of a kidnap victim”, sparking rumours he was in Riyadh against his will.
The fact that Saad al-Hariri blamed Iran for destabilising Lebanon sounds suspiciously like Saudi propaganda that likes to accuse Iran for causing most of the region’s problems.
Said Parsi, “Saudi Arabia is not powerful enough to balance its rival Iran, but if it can trap the United States in the Middle East, it can have the US balance Iran.”
According to Jake Novak, CNBC senior columnist, the steps seem to have been cemented methodically, month after month. In March, bin Salman publicly declared Iran the key regional security threat in the Middle East. In May, bin Salman feted Trump. In June, bin Salman was made Crown Prince. In September, bin Salman reportedly visited Israel to discuss Iran and other potential cooperative measures. Could the goal be to get the major players in line, so Saudi Arabia could attack Iran without any internal hurdles?
“That’s the arrangement that existed in the Middle East pre-2003, and that’s what Salman wants to force the US to return to,” Parsi noted.
Just over a week ago Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired a missile at Riyadh, and Prince Mohammed conveniently accused Iran of an “act of war”.
BND had it spot on! All along.