Will Saudis seek revenge for Congress’ veto override?


(CNN)Once upon a time, there was a kingdom where the ruling family called the American president by his first name and where the royals’ every demand was met unquestioningly in the interest of mutual profit and security in a most insecure region.

Its safety was guaranteed by the United States, which helped equip it with its own weapons so that the King and his consorts could rest with hardly a care in the world. In turn, this kingdom — Saudi Arabia — supplied America with a reliable and unending supply of cheap oil, and served as an unbending ally in a region where alliances can be very fickle indeed.


    But there is another more immediate impact that could hit every American’s pocketbook directly. At the very moment Congress began tallying the vote on JASTA, oil ministers of OPEC were said to be on the cusp of cutting a deal to curb oil production in an effort to raise oil prices.
    WTI crude on the NYMEX exchange surged 5.4% to $47.10 a barrel, as soon as this report hit the wires, with gasoline and heating oil prices rising in lockstep. In days, prices at the pump could begin to surge as well, and with the winter heating oil season just around the bend. No such OPEC agreement would be possible or enforceable without a Saudi buy-in. And the United States is in a poor bargaining position to urge restraint on the kingdom today.
    Above all, though, the United States needs Saudi Arabia most immediately and pressingly to deal with ISIS. The Islamic State is very much a Sunni entity, and it is quite clear that more radical Sunni elements in Saudi Arabia have played a role in its rise and that of al Qaeda before it.
    American officials have long relied on Saudi rulers to hold such activities in check, while at the same time providing forces that can help contain ISIS expansion on the ground and in the air. The Saudi air force has joined U.S.-led bombing strikes on ISIS strongholds, and should a major ground offensive materialize, the Saudi’s Sunni troops could be most effective partners.

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    Our only hope is that the Saudis are wise enough to avoid the risk of impairing their own financial or strategic health to indulge themselves in political revenge. But Congress has certainly given the kingdom every reason to rebel.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/28/opinions/saudi-revenge-congress-veto-andelman/index.html

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