Alwaght- The ambitious dream by Saudi rulers to become the dominant regional power is now gone down in the flames, the England-based The Independent daily reported.
Saudi Arabia’s military pressure on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad served only to make him seek more help from Russia, precipitating intervention which the US was not prepared to oppose, the article says.
Patrick Cockburn, the independent columnist says the Saudi policy to “establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states” became more clear in recent years as the former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in 2014, called “Saudis and Qataris as rivals competing to dominate the Sunni world”.
But the more ambitious Saudis got, the more aggressive became their approaches. As in December 2015, the German foreign intelligence service BND was so worried that it took the extraordinary step of producing a memo, saying that “the previous cautious diplomatic stance of older leading members of the [Saudi] royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention”.
An embarrassed German government forced the BND to recant, but over the last year its fears about the destabilizing impact of more aggressive Saudi policies were more than fulfilled. What it did not foresee was the speed with which Saudi Arabia would see its high ambitions defeated or frustrated on almost every front.
The British daily also recalls the liberation of Syrian Aleppo as a major blow to Saudi policies in the region though saying the successful resistance of Ansarullah movement in Yemen could be the final punch on the face of Saudi militancy since in the former they were fighting indirectly through militant groups but in the later the war was direct as the “bombardment of the Arab world’s poorest country by the richest” was supposed to deliver a swift victory.
Cockburn says such aggressions could not realize Saudi dream of “Iranian influence being curtailed” but “the exact opposite has happened. In the last OPEC meeting, the Saudis agreed to cut crude production while Iran raised output, something Riyadh had said it would always reject”.
He further mentions the dismay of the US as “the final guarantor of the continued rule of the House of Saud” by saying “at a popular level, there is growing hostility to Saudi Arabia reflected in the near unanimous vote in [US] Congress to allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government as bearing responsibility for the attack”.
“The Saudis apparently expected the Ansarullah movement to be defeated swiftly by pro-Saudi forces, but after fifteen months of bombing they and their ally, former President Saleh, still hold the capital Sanaa and northern Yemen. The prolonged bombardment of the Arab world’s poorest country by the richest has produced a humanitarian catastrophe in which at least 60 per cent of the 25 million Yemeni population do not get enough to eat or drink,” the article says.
The writer describes Persian Gulf States as trying “to do things well beyond their strength” when it comes to sponsoring militancy in Syria and imposing war on Yemen. He adds “their most striking characteristic is their extreme messiness and ignorance of real conditions on the ground”.
The article concludes that the policies of Saudi Arabia and its regional allies “to achieve hegemony in the Arab and Sunni Muslim worlds has proved disastrous for almost everybody. The capture of east Aleppo by the Syrian Army and the likely fall of Mosul to the Iraqi Army means defeat” for such policies.