Reportedly Being Offered Saudi Weapons Sales, France Tries to
Blow Up Iran Deal
Clearing House -
Several weeks after this
WSJ article describing a staged Bandar bin Sultan tantrum
about US actions, it was revealed the “Western diplomat”
involved was a representative of France.
Diplomats here said Prince Bandar, who is leading the
kingdom’s efforts to fund, train and arm rebels fighting
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, invited a Western
diplomat to the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah over the
weekend to voice Riyadh’s frustration with the
Obama administration and its regional policies, including
the decision not to bomb Syria in response to its alleged
use of chemical weapons in August.
was a message for the U.S., not the U.N.,” Prince Bandar was
quoted by diplomats as specifying of Saudi Arabia’s decision
to walk away from the Security Council membership.
However, the diplomats said, Prince Bandar told them he
intends to roll back a partnership with the U.S. in which
the Central Intelligence Agency and other nations’ security
bodies have covertly helped train Syrian rebels to fight Mr.
Assad, Prince Bandar said, according to the
diplomats. Saudi Arabia would work with other allies instead
in that effort, including Jordan and France, the
prince was quoted as saying.
run-up to the expected U.S. strikes, Saudi leaders asked for
detailed U.S. plans for posting Navy ships to guard the
Saudi oil center, the Eastern Province, during any strike on
Syria, an official familiar with that discussion said. The
Saudis were surprised when the Americans told them U.S.
ships wouldn’t be able to fully protect the oil region, the
Disappointed, the Saudis told the U.S. that
they were open to alternatives to their long-standing
defense partnership, emphasizing that they would look for
good weapons at good prices, whatever the source, the
second episode, one Western diplomat described Saudi Arabia
as eager to be a military partner in what was to have been
the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria. As part of that, the
Saudis asked to be given the list of military targets for
the proposed strikes. The Saudis indicated they never got
the information, the diplomat said. [my emphasis]
subtext here is clear: Bandar invited the French representative
to Riyadh not just to whine about the US, but also to discuss
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is
scuttling an Iran nuke deal because it is a “suckers deal.”
Laura Rozen’s take, as well as her live tweeting the comings
and goings at @LRozen.)
Oh, by the
way. François Hollande is also
due to visit Israel in a week.
fairly clear what’s going on. Saudi Arabia has to forestall an
Iran deal, because once that happens the Iran will be in a
position to challenge the Saudi position as a swing producer
(particularly if you assume Iran and Shia-led Iraq might act in
will make an effort to thwart any deal. And if talks fail,
they’ll get a big chunk of Saudi Arabia’s considerable weapons
spending, at a time when the Saudis will probably be even
further ramping up their purchases.
seems, aspires to be the European participant in the growing
Saudi-Israeli power block.
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