Tuesday, July 31, 2007

John Burgess Comments

Crossroads Arabia is a rock-solid piece of blogging...on task, all the time, relentless in covering timely points regarding the Arab world in general and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular. I have learned more about politics and diplomacy in the Middle East by reading this blog and a handful of others than by studying magazine articles or newspaper columns. Burgess is a pro, a career employee of the state department.

His most recent remarks are worth reading in full. He brings clarity and reason to a debate cluttered with passion and extremes coming from all directions.

Saudi Arabia’s oil fields lie five-minutes’ flying time from Iran, not the 6,000 miles between Tehran and Washington, DC. Over 80% of Saudi Arabia’s income is earned by ship traffic that moves through the Strait of Hormuz. That bottleneck can be closed by sinking a few ships in it. Shutting off the flow of oil from the Gulf would certainly wreak havoc on the US economy. It would be far worse for the Saudis and other Gulf States. It is incumbent on the Saudi government to find some acceptable modus vivendi with Iran. The answer to that conundrum may not always please the US—it might not please the Saudis, either, for that matter. It must, however, solve the problem of living next door to an expansionist neighbor who has the largest ground army in the region and pretensions toward nuclear weapons.

No comments: