Sunday, January 29, 2012

Former Saudi Intel Chief Warns Against Iran War Scare 'Hyperbole'

Now a Saudi national security official joins Israeli and U.S. current and former policy-makers charged with defending their countries' security in warning against the current anti-Iran war hype. Everyone who thinks Riyadh wants an Israeli/U.S. war against Iran should pay careful attention to Turki al-Faisal's recent comments.

Former Saudi intel chief Prince Turki al-Faisal just made the following remarks about the current round of U.S./Israeli vs. Iran tensions:

  • Two hundred dollars a barrel oil is not going to benefit anyone. What we need to do is get away from the hyperbole and threatening stances.
  • We don't want to be sandwiched between a nuclear state, which is Israel, and a potential nuclear state, which is Iran.

In addition, he called for a "weapons of mass destruction free zone” in the Mideast, a reform that would of course totally undermine the core plank (security through superior strength) of Israeli foreign policy.

With these remarks, Turki al-Faisal joins recently retired Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former CIA acting director John McLaughlin in warning against the tendency of U.S., Iranian, and Israeli politicians to whip up a war scare. But of course a disgraced former politician trying to buy the U.S. election on behalf of a casino owner buddy of war politician Netanyahu knows better than former leaders of Saudi intelligence, the CIA, and Mossad.*

One of the main talking points of war party talking heads in the U.S. and Israel has been that Riyadh secretly supports these efforts. The former Saudi security chief's pointed remarks should kill that war party propaganda trial balloon.

However, he was also quoted in a separate report as making a strikingly different remark, that--at least out of context--would appear to place him solidly in the neo-con/Likudnik war party:

Any threat to our interests or security will force us to use all available options to defend our interests, and national and regional security.

"All available options" has in recent years become U.S. neo-con and Likudnik code for nuclear aggression against Iran. In the absence of a full-text report of his remarks, al-Faisal's meaning remains unclear, but the idea of Riyadh using nuclear weapons would seem to imply that it would obtain them from its close ally Pakistan. Such a threat on Riyadh's part could be read not just as a warning to Tehran not to build nuclear arms but as a warning to Washington and Tel Aviv to tone down their aggressive anti-Iran campaign and start searching for a regional mutual security regime...exactly like the one al-Faisal spelled out.

* I do not mean to suggest that anyone should take the word of an intel official as gospel. One obviously cannot, for they do not all agree. Nevertheless, it is in the nature of intelligence officials to overemphasize the "need" to stand up to adversaries and act tough; they are paid to take that position and certainly do not get their budgets by advocating compromise. So when the recently retired (and therefore liberated from censorship) heads of Saudi, Israeli, and U.S. intelligence all simultaneously caution the world against the dangers of precisely the war tensions that are being fomented by politicians in their own countries, a thinking citizen must take that warning very seriously. It follows that politicians who evade and pretend not to hear these warnings either are not thinking or have a private agenda that is not in the interests of the societies they claim they would like to serve. Voters beware.
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