Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Saudi Arabia is First on the Iranian Nuke Hit List

Why a nuclear Iran is the world's catastrophic problem, not just Israel’s. Livni has missed the point.
Published: Friday, November 01, 2013 7:45 AM


On October 23, 2013, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni stated, in English, responding to a question about Gulf Sunni States' cooperation with Israel on stopping Iran's nuclear bomb, "In order to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon, we need to cooperate with those (who) understand that Iran is a threat to them as well, but unfortunately, the open conflict with the Palestinians makes it impossible or very difficult for them to act with Israel."

Livni's "strategic" thinking can be summed up as follows: The Saudi princes will allow Israel to save the Sunnis from Shiite decimation and also protect the trillions of Saudi oil-reserves from the Shiite-Iranian nukes, if and only if, Israel first commits suicide with the creation of a Palestinian state.  In short, to fit Livni's delusion about the importance of the Palestinian Peace process, Livni has to distort reality and claim that the Saudis care more for the Palestinians (who supported Saddam when he invaded Kuwait) than themeselves.

Livni should look at the map. The eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia, which hold all of her oil reserves, are sitting right next door to Iran.  There is a Shiite majority in those Saudi provinces. Once Iran gains a nuclear arsenal, who is Iran going to attack first: a hardened Israel that might have a second-strike nuke or a topographically defenseless Saudi Arabia with a totally ineffective army?  Of course, Iran will roll over Saudi Arabia and control the world’s oil before it tangles with the Israelis.

The Persian Gulf Black Gold Triangle holds 56% of the world’s known oil reserves.  With an Iranian nuclear umbrella, America would never, and could never, reverse a conventional Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia the way it was able to do against the non-nuclear Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait.  Saudi Arabia, not Israel, is first on the Iranian nuke hit list.

For the world, Iran's occupation of eastern Saudi Arabia will turn OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) into IRAN-PEC with a nuclear umbrella and an Iranian monopoly on close to 60% of the world's oil supply.  It will stand for IRAN Petroleum Exporting Country, that last word in the singular.  Hence, a nuclear Iran is the world's catastrophic problem, not just Israel’s problem.

Livni's comments can be put in perspective by reading the recent New York Times report about Saudi fears in the article entitled "Criticism of United States' Mideast Policy Increasingly Comes From Allies", which claimed that "Saudi officials have made it clear they are frustrated with the Obama administration — not just for its reluctance to do more to aid the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and not just for its willingness to engage Iran in negotiations, but also for its refusal to endorse the Egyptian military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party."

Nowhere in the entire article is there a single reference or hint to the Palestinian conflict as a factor in Saudi criticism of US policy.

Prince Turki, a member of the Saudi royal family and former Saudi Intelligence Minister, was even more "vehement" in his directly quoted remarks:

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down but also to help Assad to butcher his people.”
The Times article cited the three policies in which Obama has gone along with the Iranian position, and rejected the Saudi position:
1.  Obama's negotiation with Iran on its Nuke program.
2.  Obama's failure to oust Iran's Syrian-puppet Assad or arm the Syrian rebels.
3.  Obama's topple of Mubarak, support of the Muslim brotherhood, and current attacks on Egypt's Saudi-supported Sisi.

On point after point, Israel supports the Saudi position because it is in line with Israel's interests.  And through the prism of each of these points, the creation of a Palestinian Arab state in the "West Bank", far from helping the Saudis, is against their strategic interests.

Livni is underestimating the Saudis. For the Saudis not to work with the Israelis on Iran would be suicidal for that Sunni country. Here is what Livni's PA state-Iran nukes linkage means for them:

First, the Livni formula for "peace" has actually strengthened Iran's hand at the expense of the Saudis. Israel's retreat from Gaza, which she supported, resulted in the fact that Iran now controls Gaza as an Iranian forward-operating-base ("FOB"), not the Saudis.  Israel's retreat from Gaza bolstered Iran's "Palestinian Liberation" credentials at the expense of the Saudis.

An Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria today in favor of Abbas will bring an Iranian victory to Hamas tomorrow. The Saudis want to liquidate the Iranian-Assad Syria, not create a new Iranian-Hamas state.

Second, the Saudis also know that Hamas will smuggle all manners of rockets into "West Bank" state like it did in Gaza.  It might even send chemical 122mm katyushas like the ones that massacred thousands of Muslims in Syria.  If Israel tried to attack Iran at that point, it would be rocketed from Gaza, South Lebanon and the "West Bank", the latter into the soft under-belly of the Tel Aviv-Netanya corridor.  Therefore, instead of enabling Israel's position against Iran,  a PA state will paralyze Israel's military projection to Iran.  This is the exact opposite of what the Saudis need.

Third, just as Hamas-Iranian Gaza actively aided the Muslim Brotherhood to topple Mubarak, the Saudis and Jordanians know a Hamas-Iranian "West Bank" State will wipe Jordanian King Abdullah off the face of the earth. Most of the Jordanians are Palestinian Arabs and will happily join an expanded PA state,  stripping the Saudis of another key ally that actually borders Saudi Arabia to replace it with a sworn enemy.

The Saudis and Jordanians can surely count on President Obama to help Jordan's King Abdullah every bit as much as Obama "helped" Hosni Mubarak when the Jordanian Muslim brotherhood rises against him.  The Saudis now understand that Obama wants a Muslim Brotherhood Jordan as much as he seems to want a Muslim Brotherhood Egypt.

Acually, however, Livni has unconsciously insured there will be no Palestinian deal.  By publicly linking the Palestinian Arab issue with Iran, Livni has exponentially inflated the Palestinian's minimal expectations of any deal.  In addition, if the PA believes there is Israeli urgency to reach a deal in order to attack Iran, the PA will delay.

In essence, Livni has convinced the Palestinian Arabs that they are doing Israel a favor because, according to her logic, the Palestinian Arabs would be freeing the Gulf States to help Israel on Iran.

And,the flip-side of Livni's unfortunate statements is that the Iranian's will blame the Saudis for forcing the Palestinian Arabs to surrender their Muslim rights if they give in on anything .  So, in the wake of any deal, incendiary Iranian public statements will whip the Shiite majorities in Saudi’s eastern provinces into such a frenzy that Iran might not even need a nuke to occupy the Saudi Persian Gulf oil fields.

The Saudis have realized that Obama will allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and that Israel is the only effective and indispensable ally against Iran's developing nukes.  Livni, unfortunately for Israel, has not.

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