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Thread: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

  1. #101
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    Not to be a contrarian Don, but I really wouldn't say that the Saudis are our friends.
    I would strongly disagree actually. Saudi Arabia has many problems and it's future as an American ally and friend in the long term is hazy to say the least, but an ally? Absolutely, they have been some of our strongest and most useful allies in the Middle East. A few quick points which we can go into greater depth if need be:

    1. The claim that the Saudi government, that is to say the Saudi crown and the senior members of the al-Saud, as a matter of policy funded or supported al-Qaeda has been thoroughly disproved and can be rejected logically.

    2. However, yes it is true that the Saudi's exported Islamism. This began in the 1950's and 1960's as a means to combat the rise of Arab Socialist/Arab Republicanism which was being used as a weapon by likes of Nasser to subvert and destroy the Saudi state. The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Egypt has only been matched in recent times by the one between Iran and the Kingdom. To fortify their rule in the face of assassination attempts, proxy wars, and attempted coups the Saudi's retrenched their religious credentials and created a network of allied Islamist parties abroad. However, this is not the same as funding al-Qaeda.

    3. That Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia is not a guilty verdict that can be thrown at Saudi Arabia. It is an extremely orthodox brand of Islam to be sure, but it evolved in the 1700's in the circumstances of its time and arguably became much more extreme after the death of Ibn al-Wahhab. Moreover the modern incarnation of extreme Sunni Islamism in Saudi Arabia is tied to the Ikhwan and their position in the Kingdom and the circumstances of their dissolution and defeat at the Battle of Sabalah in the mid 1920's. The evolution of the deeply orthodox demographic in Saudi Arabia and the power of the Ulema and the clerical establishment is complex, but suffice to say they are extremely powerful and it is wrong to conclude that the al-Saud rules without checks or considerations from this sector.

    4. This leads into the fourth point which is that for all its drawbacks the al-Saud have arguably been a modernizing and moderating factor in the Kingdom, especially King Abdullah. Though what the future holds remains murky.

    5. It is widely acknowledged that Saudi Arabia made significant progress in its efforts to combat money laundering and illicit donations, going so far as to shut down most donations abroad altogether. That it is still a problem is more related to the fact that this is where many groups have domestic ties to and bedrocks of sympathy and that the money exists.

    6. Saudi Arabia more often than not has been at the forefront of supporting US efforts in the region and abroad. They have backed and supported us in Afghanistan (twice), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemen (complicated but arguably yes), Lebanon numerous times, Syria (with independent but congruent interests), Egypt (during the Cold War), Nicaragua, Iran, the Soviet Union, oil prices and crude ouput (quite often with OPEC), etc.

  2. #102
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    And actually as far as CT and financial intelligence cooperation Saudi Arabia has been much better then let's say Qatar which has been using its position as a quasi-power with some independence to try and play a broad political game.

  3. #103
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    The Saudi's Human Rights violations are well documented and they are appalling. They do not recognize religious freedom, and they hold public executions by beheading just for starters...

    Why they are so often given a pass and made excuses for, while other Countries with similar HR violations are loudly condemned, as they should be, is beyond me.
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  4. #104
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    The Saudi's Human Rights violations are well documented and they are appalling. They do not recognize religious freedom, and they hold public executions by beheading just for starters...

    Why they are so often given a pass and made excuses for, while other Countries with similar HR violations are loudly condemned, as they should be, is beyond me.
    Yes they do, and it is a more complex situation then it's made out to be. For all of its repressive attitudes toward religious freedom, press freedoms, and of course women's rights it also a highly developed state with extremely low levels of violence, a well funded welfare and support system, a high degree of economic and infrastructural development, and quite frankly a fairly well supported Monarchy. It is a state that is as much governed by the existing attitudes of a strong conservative section of its people, as it is about the influence and rule of the Monarchy. There are definite limits to the ability of the al-Saud to pursue reform, that being said I think a very strong case can be made for a track record of progressive reform led from above and abetted by evolving social and political conditions.

    That being said some very bad moves have been made in the past two years, and as problems likely recede elsewhere in the region the decision to apply the relatively light touch to Saudi Arabia from the US may need to be reassessed. Especially depending on who follows the two current geriatrics into the throne.

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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    I would strongly disagree actually. Saudi Arabia has many problems and it's future as an American ally and friend in the long term is hazy to say the least, but an ally? Absolutely, they have been some of our strongest and most useful allies in the Middle East. A few quick points which we can go into greater depth if need be:

    1. The claim that the Saudi government, that is to say the Saudi crown and the senior members of the al-Saud, as a matter of policy funded or supported al-Qaeda has been thoroughly disproved and can be rejected logically.

    2. However, yes it is true that the Saudi's exported Islamism. This began in the 1950's and 1960's as a means to combat the rise of Arab Socialist/Arab Republicanism which was being used as a weapon by likes of Nasser to subvert and destroy the Saudi state. The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Egypt has only been matched in recent times by the one between Iran and the Kingdom. To fortify their rule in the face of assassination attempts, proxy wars, and attempted coups the Saudi's retrenched their religious credentials and created a network of allied Islamist parties abroad. However, this is not the same as funding al-Qaeda.

    3. That Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia is not a guilty verdict that can be thrown at Saudi Arabia. It is an extremely orthodox brand of Islam to be sure, but it evolved in the 1700's in the circumstances of its time and arguably became much more extreme after the death of Ibn al-Wahhab. Moreover the modern incarnation of extreme Sunni Islamism in Saudi Arabia is tied to the Ikhwan and their position in the Kingdom and the circumstances of their dissolution and defeat at the Battle of Sabalah in the mid 1920's. The evolution of the deeply orthodox demographic in Saudi Arabia and the power of the Ulema and the clerical establishment is complex, but suffice to say they are extremely powerful and it is wrong to conclude that the al-Saud rules without checks or considerations from this sector.

    4. This leads into the fourth point which is that for all its drawbacks the al-Saud have arguably been a modernizing and moderating factor in the Kingdom, especially King Abdullah. Though what the future holds remains murky.

    5. It is widely acknowledged that Saudi Arabia made significant progress in its efforts to combat money laundering and illicit donations, going so far as to shut down most donations abroad altogether. That it is still a problem is more related to the fact that this is where many groups have domestic ties to and bedrocks of sympathy and that the money exists.

    6. Saudi Arabia more often than not has been at the forefront of supporting US efforts in the region and abroad. They have backed and supported us in Afghanistan (twice), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemen (complicated but arguably yes), Lebanon numerous times, Syria (with independent but congruent interests), Egypt (during the Cold War), Nicaragua, Iran, the Soviet Union, oil prices and crude ouput (quite often with OPEC), etc.

    Please, go and refute the evidence that I presented. I say this not in an aggressive tone, but I am rather interested.
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  6. #106
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    Please, go and refute the evidence that I presented. I say this not in an aggressive tone, but I am rather interested.
    I'd be happy to and I appreciate your demeanor, but if you'll forgive me could you specify some salient ones that stand out? It's not the funnest thing in the world to dig through PDF's, books, inter-governmental and CRS reports, etc.

    Also the historical questions I imagine we can merely debate since the history is more or less openly known and relatively uncontroversial some specific incidents and issues aside.

  7. #107
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    Re: U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    I'd be happy to and I appreciate your demeanor, but if you'll forgive me could you specify some salient ones that stand out? It's not the funnest thing in the world to dig through PDF's, books, inter-governmental and CRS reports, etc.

    Also the historical questions I imagine we can merely debate since the history is more or less openly known and relatively uncontroversial some specific incidents and issues aside.
    Sure. Specifically I would like to know "The claim that the Saudi government, that is to say the Saudi crown and the senior members of the al-Saud, as a matter of policy funded or supported al-Qaeda has been thoroughly disproved and can be rejected logically," though I was not claiming that Saudi Arabia did such things as a matter of policy, but rather saying that they did do it.
    "And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness."

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