Saudi Arabia Swings Both Ways

Saudi Arabia’s denunciation of the extremist organizations Hizbollah and Hamas this week for thier war against Israel is not unsurprising. Despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 descended from Saudi Arabia, and despite the well-known faustian pact that members of the Saudi government have made with leading anti-American Wahabi radicals throughout the years, Saudi Arabia has everything to gain in denouncing non-state actors like Hamas and Hizbollah.

With a growing, unemployed youth population, restive and attracted to Islamist propaganda encouraged throughout the madrasah system, one can only surmise that Saudi Royalty (of Fahd descent) are worried about a coup. Non-state actors would affect the dictatorial status of the Saudi regime if they were ever to press for political rights. It is therefore in the regime’s best interests to officially denounce the violence perpetrated by Hamas and Hizbollah, so as to squelch open hostility from Saudi Arabia’s radicalized dispossessed.

Although Hamas is now a democratically-elected majority party with Sunni leanings, it does not subscribe to liberal internationalist etiquette, and thus, is a much less savory representative of the Palestinian cause for the Saudi royalists than the corrupt, authoritarian descendents of the late Yassir Arafat’s PLO. For that reason alone, and not because Hamas calls for Israel’s extinction in its swaggering charter, Saudi Arabia has denounced Hamas actions.

As for Hizbollah, it is a Shiite guerilla movement in a majority Sunni Middle East. It is also a responsible party to the Khobar Tower bombings in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which saw the death of 19 and the injury of over 200 U.S. servicemen and women. (For a firmer grasp of Khobar history, read former FBI chief Louis Freeh’s account of the bombings and Iranian involvement on the Saudi-American Forum)

For Saudi Arabia, consequently, an Iran restrained by Western powers would also produce a more stable authoritarian regime in the elite House of Fahd.

From Reuters:

Some elements and groups have got loose and slipped into taking decisions on their own that Israel has exploited to wage a ferocious war against Lebanon and to imprison the entire Palestinian people,” a cabinet statement said.

“Saudi Arabia stands together with the legitimate and reasonable-minded national forces in Lebanon and occupied Palestine to combat these dangers to the Arab and Muslim nation,” it added.

Saudi Arabia last week criticized Hizbollah and its backer Iran saying “elements” in Lebanon and “those behind them” were responsible for an Israeli offensive on its northern neighbor to stop strikes by the Shi’ite guerrilla group.


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