The Secret Awfulness of Saudi Arabia

Is international opinion on Saudi Arabia finally shifting? For years, one of the great embarrassments and contradictions of Western diplomacy has been the intimacy of the West’s relationship with the House of Saud. Of course, both Britain and America have some responsibility for installing and then maintaining the Saudi royal family in their position. Were it not for this circumstance, in addition to the world’s largest oil reserves, the people we now call the Saudi royal family would be neither richer nor any more famous than any other group of goat-herders in the region.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    A question that I have is why can’t we treat Saudi Arabia like South Africa was treated in the 1970’s and 1980’s?
    We have the template already, why don’t we use it?
    Sanctions, embargos, isolation, and worldwide condemnation.

    I think our biggest fear is that as bad as the Saudis are, and make no mistake, they are truly horrific, any potential entity that would replace them has the likely potential of being much worse.

    • All the other Arabs hate them. Everyone hates them.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Yes, and in that part of the world, it’s hard to tell if that is a positive or a negative.

    • canminuteman

      Why can’t we treat them like we treated SA in the 70’s and 80?

      Because they’re not white. Brown people get a pass no no one expects much from them in the first place.

      If we stopped letting westerners run their infrastructure for them, they’d be back herding goats within a year. Tell anyone with a western passport that if they try and return home with a saudi work visa on their passport that they are no longer welcome here and the problem would be solved.

    • Martin B

      Not much chance of the South Africa treatment as long as the Soddys have so much oil to sell on world markets. But their rate of domestic oil (and natural gas) consumption is rising much faster than production. Domestic fuel is very heavily subsidized, which encourages tremendous wastefulness, but since those subsidies are really a bribe to keep the rotten royal family in power, they’re really in a pickle. For what it’s worth, some analysts are predicting Soddy will become a net oil importer as soon as 2030:

      Islamic State is a preview of what’s likely to replace the Soddy royals.

  • Barrington Minge

    Do we need relations with goat-buggerers?

  • Hard Little Machine

    Yes of course but the real reason that the ‘west’ is increasingly angered by the Saudis is their quiet rapprochement with Israel. There is nothing on Allah’s green earth westerners find is a bigger or worse crime than that.

  • Dana Garcia

    Suckiness was strongly indicated years ago when American and other foreign oil extractors lived in compounds with high walls.

  • tom_billesley

    Britain had been supporting the Hashemites, in the person of Hussein, the Grand Sherif of Mecca and ruler of Hejaz after WW1 and installed his sons as kings of Transjordan and Iraq. When the Saudis moved into Hejaz in 1925 the British chose not to support him. Britain didn’t install the Saudis.

  • marty_p

    It’s not just Saudi Arabia… For the life of me I can’t understand how/why Sudan (responsible for the genocide in Darfur) and Syria are still UN members.
    Mo’s seem to get a pass no matter how depraved their behaviour while Israeli behaviour is measured with a microscope.

    • Fran800

      The Syria of Assad was well-known as the country that protected Christians the best in Muslim countries. There is not way that any Muslim country is good, because most of the people in it are Muslim, but Syria is about as good as it gets. How can you put them in the same category as the odious Saudi Arabia and Sudan?

      • marty_p

        I was referring to the current situation in Syria which is no paradise for Christians. As far as “as good as it gets”, the standards must be pretty low.

        • Fran800

          I meant Syria before the “Arab Spring”, i.e. before America decided to Get Rid of Assad. Of course it’s terrible now, but that’s because of the resultant war, not strictly persecution. It’s actually terrible now for everybody.

  • bob e

    mebbe barry o’fraud’s new friends the iranians
    will nuke the goat shit out of ’em ..

    but them there is the oil. we forbid our own massive reserves & pump
    like porno stars to get the saudi crude ..