Thursday, 23 June 2011

Zionist Saudi Rulers Threaten Iran

A lead­ing mem­ber of Saudi Arabia’s royal fam­ily warned that Riyadh could seek to sup­plant Iran’s oil exports if the coun­try doesn’t con­strain its nuclear pro­gram, a move that could hob­ble Tehran’s finances.

In closed-door remarks ear­lier this month, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal also strongly implied that Riyadh would be forced to fol­low suit if Tehran pushed ahead to develop nuclear weapons and said Saudi Ara­bia is prepar­ing to employ all of its eco­nomic, diplo­matic and secu­rity assets to con­front Tehran’s regional ambitions.

Iran is very vul­ner­a­ble in the oil sec­tor, and it is there that more could be done to squeeze the cur­rent gov­ern­ment,” Prince Turki, a for­mer Saudi ambas­sador to the U.S. and U.K., told a pri­vate gath­er­ing of Amer­i­can and British ser­vice­men at RAF Molesworth air­base out­side London.

The Arab Spring upris­ings are inten­si­fy­ing the rivalry between Saudi Ara­bia and Iran, who face off across the Per­sian Gulf and jos­tle for influ­ence with neigh­bors from Syria to Yemen. It’s a Cold War, fueled by oil and ide­ol­ogy, between Shi­ite Islamists who rule Iran and the Sunni Saudi royal fam­ily, each of whom con­sider them­selves lead­ers of the world’s Mus­lim populations.

The prince, the one­time head of the Saudi intel­li­gence agency, cur­rently has no for­mal gov­ern­ment posi­tion. Saudi offi­cials reached in the Mid­dle East on Tues­day stressed that the 66-year-old royal was speak­ing only in his pri­vate capacity.

U.S. and Arab diplo­mats said Saudi Arabia’s monar­chy often uses Prince Turki to float ideas con­cern­ing the country’s future poli­cies. Saudi Ara­bia has pur­sued an increas­ingly aggres­sive for­eign pol­icy over the past year—sometimes at odds with the U.S. and dri­ven by con­cerns about Iran and the recent polit­i­cal tur­moil in North Africa and the Mid­dle East.

Iran’s “med­dling and desta­bi­liz­ing efforts in coun­tries with Shi­ite majori­ties, such as Iraq and Bahrain, as well as those coun­tries with sig­nif­i­cant Shi­ite communities…must come to an end,” Prince Turki said, accord­ing to a copy of his speech obtained by The Wall Street Jour­nal. “Saudi Ara­bia will oppose any and all of Iran’s actions in other coun­tries because it is Saudi Arabia’s posi­tion that Iran has no right to med­dle in other nations’ inter­nal affairs.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul­lah sent troops into Bahrain and Yemen over the past 18 months to help sup­port allies there against what Riyadh has described as Iranian-backed polit­i­cal rebel­lions. Saudi offi­cials have crit­i­cized the Obama administration’s pub­lic sup­port for demo­c­ra­tic move­ments in Egypt and Bahrain, argu­ing that they served to strengthen Tehran’s regional hand. “A lot of peo­ple in the king­dom are talk­ing along these lines,” said a senior Arab offi­cial briefed on Prince Turki’s speech.

Through­out its his­tory, Saudi Ara­bia, the world’s largest pro­ducer of oil, has been ret­i­cent to use its energy reserves as a strate­gic weapon. But in recent weeks, Riyadh has pres­sured mem­bers of OPEC, the Orga­ni­za­tion of Petro­leum Export­ing Coun­tries, to increase pro­duc­tion as a way to tamp down global oil prices, a move Iran has strongly opposed.

On the same day Prince Turki spoke to the troops in the U.K., OPEC offi­cials in Vienna split into two blocs—one led by Riyadh and the other Tehran—and failed to reach an agree­ment on the pric­ing issue. Saudi Ara­bia sub­se­quently plans to increase in June its out­put by as much as 1 mil­lion bar­rels a day out­side of OPEC as a way to sup­press inter­na­tional prices, some Gulf offi­cials have said. They added that the United Arab Emi­rates and Kuwait will likely increase pro­duc­tion too.

Prince Turki said in his speech that Saudi Ara­bia could eas­ily off­set any reduc­tion of Iran­ian oil exports, due to sanc­tions or other mea­sures tied to inter­na­tional fears about Iran’s nuclear pro­gram. He said a reduc­tion of Iran’s oil rev­enues could crip­ple Tehran, which gen­er­ates half its over­all rev­enues from oil sales.

To put this into per­spec­tive, Saudi Ara­bia has so much [spare] pro­duc­tion capacity—nearly 4 mil­lion bar­rels [per] day—that we could almost instantly replace all of Iran’s oil pro­duc­tion,” the prince said.

U.S. offi­cials on Tues­day said they hadn’t been noti­fied by Saudi Ara­bia of any changes in its pro­duc­tion plans. But senor Obama admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials have lob­bied Riyadh over the past two years to explore ways to pres­sure Iran through the energy mar­kets. The White House has specif­i­cally asked Saudi Ara­bia and the U.A.E. to guar­an­tee China greater energy sup­plies in exchange for Bei­jing cut­ting off its energy invest­ments in Iran.

Saudi Ara­bia has repeat­edly said it doesn’t seek nuclear weapons and sup­ports the estab­lish­ment of a United Nations-administered nuclear weapons-free zone in the Mid­dle East, which would include Iran and Israel. But Prince Turki sug­gested this could change if Iran con­tin­ues to work toward the point where it could pro­duce nuclear bombs.

Tehran says it is devel­op­ing a nuclear pro­gram solely for peace­ful pur­poses. But in recent weeks, Iran­ian offi­cials have said the gov­ern­ment is prepar­ing to triple pro­duc­tion of nuclear fuel to lev­els closer to the enrich­ment rate used for weapons. The U.N.‘s nuclear watch­dog, the Inter­na­tional Atomic Energy Agency, has also reported that it has found accu­mu­lat­ing evi­dence that Iran’s sci­en­tific exper­i­ments are part of a bomb-development program.

It is in our inter­est that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, for their doing so would com­pel Saudi Ara­bia, whose for­eign rela­tions are now so fully mea­sured and well assessed, to pur­sue poli­cies that could lead to untold and pos­si­bly dra­matic con­se­quences,” Prince Turki said.

The Saudi royal also sin­gled out Iraq as a bat­tle­ground where Riyadh will increas­ingly chal­lenge Iran­ian influence.

Saudi Ara­bia has with­held send­ing an ambas­sador to Bagh­dad due to charges that Prime Min­is­ter Nour al-Maliki’s Shiite-majority gov­ern­ment is too close to Iran. Indeed, Iraq sided with Iran in the recent dis­pute over OPEC energy prices. And Prince Turki alleged that Iran­ian mil­i­tary offi­cers were directly involved in for­mu­lat­ing Iraqi secu­rity pol­icy, a charge Bagh­dad has reg­u­larly denied.

There are peo­ple and groups in Iraq that are, as much as they deny it, com­pletely beholden to Iran, and that is not only unac­cept­able, but it is bad for the future of an eth­ni­cally and reli­giously diverse coun­try,” the prince said.

—Sum­mer Said in Riyadh and Rus­sell Gold in Dal­las con­tributed to this article.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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