A lot of Saudi Arabia coverage focuses on the loose cannon effect the country has been having on Middle East politics for the past year. Little attention has been paid to the promises that have been made to the country, and the way those promises have not been honored. I thought it might be interesting to tell the story of 2017 from the perspective of Saudi Arabia’s rulers for once. I think it illuminates something many have been missing.
This video started out as a central idea I wanted to deliver about the Trump administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Then it evolved into more of a Saudi Arabia year in review thing. This video is different from the recent ones in a number of ways. It tries to cover a lot, quickly. Not sure whether it’s worthwhile or not. Let me know @robbolaw
Video Transcript after the jump…
It all started out so well! After 8 years of Obama, who was more interested in peace with Iran than the US-Saudi relationship, the royal family finally got a president they could deal with. At the very end of his administration Obama had tried to slow down the Saudi invasion of Yemen. All that was over now!
Trump shares the Saudis taste for trashy interior decoration, and he claims to see Iran the same way they do. In May, the weekend Iran re-elected their moderate peace-seeking president, Trump came to Saudi Arabia to touch the orb and say nasty things about Iran.
This was great! Just in time they had a president who was all in with the Saudi agenda. They’d be able to take out Iran before the Saudi government went bankrupt.
The King’s Son who is bad at everything formed a great relationship with the President’s son in law who is bad at everything. They were finally going to figure out peace with Israel and war with Iran. Everything looked awesome!
For a little while. Trump and his cronies claimed to want a war with Iran as badly as the Saudi royal family did. So the King’s Son who is bad at everything set about giving them reasons to do it.
In June we got the Qatar Crisis! Saudi Arabia got a bunch of countries to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, in an attempt to create an international crisis with Iran, and maybe jack up oil prices. Donald Trump tweeted his support!
But the people who worked for Trump didn’t back the Saudi play. They called for calm, and tried to defuse the situation. Now Qatar is closer to Iran than ever.
But never mind. In November Saudi Arabia put their efforts into overdrive. They started out with a PR campaign with everything, calls for moderation, female robots, and magic cities. The next week they arrested the richest people in the kingdom, dramatically stepped up their blockade of Yemen, and kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister and forced him to resign.
This was it! Lebanon was the Place! Iran was finally going to get it from the United States. Donald Trump tweeted his support!
Aaaand the people who work for Trump didn’t back Saudi Arabia’s play. They called for calm, and defused the situation.
Twice in the past 6 months, Saudi Arabia has given the US great excuses to step up their fight against Iran. And both times Trump’s administration has backed down.
But it wasn’t until December 6th that the Saudis learned the truth about Donald Trump. He announced that the US embassy was moving to Jerusalem. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was added to the fail list of the sons who are bad at everything. Everybody knows about that. What fewer are paying attention to is the fact that on December 6th, Trump’s White House started calling for the end of the Saudi blockade of Yemen. These calls are toothless, but the expected free hand is being withdrawn.
The Saudis should be learning a very basic lesson right now. It’s one that we’ve known in the New York area for decades, and that the United States has spent the past year learning very well.
You can’t rely on Donald Trump for anything.
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