If you have been following the news in the Middle East there is one overriding story behind almost everything you read about whether it is mentioned or not; the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia, also called the Sunni Shiite Never-Ending War which has raged and subsided and raged and subsided repeatedly over the past fourteen centuries. So, let us take a short trip around a few of the hottest hot-spots in the world and peek behind the curtains to uncover some of the behind the scenes realities. Syria, Iran and Hezballah, the Shiite forces, are supporting/allowing Bashir al-Assad to rule Syria or at least be over Damascus and the western seaboard and the Israeli border; while Saudi Arabia supports the Sunni rebel forces trying to unseat al-Assad completely. Then there is the Islamic State which though Sunni is the orphaned freckled, red haired child nobody wishes to claim as their brand, and has been too eager and enthusiastic to embrace the extremes from the Quran and take them to extremes not seen and force them onto the world’s stage for inspection, revulsion and unfathomed attractive side which has swelled their following providing more troops and suicide bombers and women, many from Western nations, seeking to fill a gaping hole in their lives which defies rational explanation. In Yemen Saudi Arabia is supporting the former ruling Sunnis while Iran has provided the weaponry behind the meteoric swarming across Yemen by the Houthis rebels. In Lebanon, Iran has supported the virtual takeover by Hezballah while Saudi Arabia has supported the Sunni Arabs and by that indirectly some of their Christian allies. Hamas in Gaza has been reaping the benefits from two sources aiding their efforts with their natural ally being the Muslim Brotherhood which provides direct military assistance with arms, explosives and experienced trainers while Iran supplies arms, technology and monies keeping a southern front they can call into play to add a second front squeezing Israel between Hamas and Hezballah. Islamic Jihad is entirely supported through Iran which can be used to pressure Hamas to support any attacks under Iranian request knowing that they could always open the front without them and it would make little difference as Israel would still hold Hamas responsible. Egypt is allied behind Saudi Arabia simply because they realize that they have no friends in Tehran and should Iran defeat Saudi Arabia for sole hegemony approaching, if not surpassing Israeli conventional powers would leave Egypt in a difficult position. Iraq is another direct confrontation with Iran supporting the Shiite government in the south and Saudi Arabia supporting the remnants of the Sunni in central and eastern Iraq while Islamic State is dominant in Western Iraq and the Kurds solidifying their North Western Iraq positions with their North Eastern Syria holding and working to survive the Turkish airstrikes which Erdogan pretends that those strikes are against Islamic State forces. Then there are the fires burning in Libya where the Islamic State and al-Qaeda are vying against tribal forces who are fiercely independent and appear that some favor the similar fierceness they perceive in the Islamic State. Then there is Turkey who in many ways is the other wild card other than Egypt with one difference, Turkey would not mind an Iranian dominant Middle East rather than Saudi Arabia as they have had an off and on relationship with Iran never quite burning all their bridges while Saudi Arabia had no great love for Erdogan poisoning their relations thoroughly. The last actor and the thus far only nuclear power with ICBM capabilities but also the only nation which could cause all of these forces to ignore their individual hatreds and unite against which is why Israel is being very quiet and attempting by all means to sit idly on the sidelines of any potential breakout of open warfare. Does Israel have a preferred side? Probably, like Egypt, Israel had no love lost for Iran and would likely see Saudi Arabia as the lesser of two evils. Israel also had relations, though rather chilled on some levels and dependent on the Sisi Presidency and will remain dependent on who holds that office.
There are rumors which have been verified that talks exist between Israel and Turkey to resume more friendly relations by putting the Mavi Marmara debacle behind them. The leaks or intentional releases to the media by high placed officials or people with knowledge or any of the assembly of the usual suspects have pointed out that there exist some very insurmountable obstacles which could scuttle any deal. Then there has been the warnings sounding more like demands from Egypt warning against such moves by Israel. Part of what is driving the rapprochement has been the need by Israel of a route to deliver natural gas to Europe and Turkey being one of the more logical connections which would make such possible. Turkey has already natural gas lines leading into Europe from Russia and other Central Asian sources which any Israeli connection could be wed to and Turkey herself has need of an additional source of natural gas as their relations with Russia have taken a dive over downing of a Russian fighter jet for presumably crossing into Turkish airspace while on a mission in neighboring Syria. Further, Israel will require any deal not demand any sacrifices Israel is not ready to make as Israel also would not savor soured relations with Russia and Russia is a far more important friend and a far worse enemy than Turkey could even pretend to offer. Additionally, the talk that there is a Saudi Arabia oil pipeline deal being researched to allow Saudi Arabian crude oil across Israel and to one of the Israeli Mediterranean ports to be running as a secondary means of getting Saudi Arabian and allied nations hooked into the Saudi and Kuwaiti oil pipeline systems to get their oil to market should hostilities break out and shipping become unsafe and uninsurable over threats by Iran to sink and oil tanker attempting passage through the Straits of Hormuz as they have threatened numerous times. The disaster of a closed Straits of Hormuz and the disaster such would present for oil transportation from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the rest of the GCC nations, all one need do is read the map below, and for all first year ROTC Lieutenants who are map-challenged, the picture of which it can be said that a picture is worth fifty or so maps when describing such a situation as this. Also, by laying such a pipeline, Saudi Arabia would also have gotten around the Bab-el-Mandeb straights where Yemen, coming under Iranian control, though slower than six months ago as the Saudi efforts have begun to take hold, would choke off the southern end of the Red Sea and access to the Suez Canal. Iran has been busy taking control of maritime straits and Saudi Arabia is seeking a pipeline to bypass all the Iranian choke points but at the price of being accused of being a Zionist pawn. That may be the price the Saudi Royals may have to pay.
The potential for a crisis should Saudi Arabia-Iranian situation continue to escalate and Saudi Arabia continue their sabotage of the price of oil by refusing to permit OPEC to lower their production as they are using their massive oil production potential to keep the prices where they and their allies can operate and still make a profit, a smaller profit, but still a profit while Iran and their main powerful backer, Russia, both unable to make much if any profits from their oil production capability. Further, this false low price of oil has had a chilling effect on United States fracking production which is more expensive but the United States oil producers, already pumping output, can make a profit by having their output processed within the United States as they save considerably from low transportation costs which would have been further lowered had the Keystone Pipeline been built which would have also facilitated more fracking operations thus increasing jobs not only for building the pipeline but also in the oil fracking business which jobs would have had a longer permanence. The Saudi Arabian pipeline rumored to be in the works to have it go through Jordan and Israel to Mediterranean Ports would provide a new shipping point for shipments to Europe and would conceivably have an expansion of Israeli refining opening new and modern petroleum processing distilleries and other ancillary industries and employment. Such a pipeline, by removing the longer trek from the Persian Gulf around the Arabian Peninsula up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal just to reach the Mediterranean Sea basically at an Israel port, would save Europeans as their price of oil would be significantly lower and the Saudi Arabians would also find greater profits while still making life difficult for the Russians and especially the Iranian oil industry.
Adding fuel to the fire, Saudi Arabia went forward with the execution of the Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with forty plus Sunnis. The execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr comes after his spending a decade waiting execution while protests have rung throughout the Shiite world right up to the execution. After the execution, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and one of their Consulates were attacked and the Saudis ordered all diplomats from Iran out of Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. The rest of the GCC capitals also followed suit. The rioters in Iran protesting the Saudi Arabian actions in the execution of Shiite Imam Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr for good measure also were burning flags of the United States claiming they were supportive pawns of Saudi Arabia and also flags of Israel as Israel was really behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, plus were defeating the holy Islamic rule in Egypt and Turkey, meddling in Syria, threatening Lebanon, imposing a greater Israel from the Euphrates River to the Nile River, aggressing against the Rule of the Twelfth Imam and affecting the weather through global warming to sink Easter Island, the Galapagos, the oil fields in Alaska and the polluting of the Solar System with spacecraft blighting Allah’s creations. Well, yes, perhaps I got carried away, but at what point did you notice things had gone off the rails? Actually, there may come a day if Islam completes their desired path and rule all of the world and still, somehow, Israel is left completely alone standing on an Islamic world, still any ill or problem will still be placed at the feet of Israel and blaming Israel will have completed what the BDS loons started, making Israel the idol that all worship as the killer of dreams.
Any completely losing it in this article is due to the dread of having to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address at least four times if I am to be able to critique it other than, EXCUSE ME!?! Um, sorry for yelling, it is really freaking me out and I will hate my DVR by night’s end.
Beyond the Cusp