Thoughts on the Saudi-Israeli Connection  

Israel and Saudi Arabia are making strange bedfellows but there are reasons for the emergence of their de facto alliance, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

By Lawrence Davidson

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his grand tour of the United States last month publicly declared in an interview with the Atlantic magazine that the Israelis “have a right to live in their own land just like the Palestinians.” It is a problematic assumption, given that the Israelis’ “own land” is the land they took away from the Palestinians. This, and much else, has been either forgotten or ignored by the Saudi crown prince.

Seventy-three years ago Saudi Arabia’s first king, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, expressed a very different position in a series of letters to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For instance in a letter of November 1938 Ibn Saud had wrote “The [European] Jews have no right to Palestine and their claim is an act of injustice unprecedented in the history of the human race.” Sadly, there was in fact plenty of precedent when it came to colonial injustice, but Ibn Saud’s declaration certainly demonstrated the King’s depth of feeling. Other letters followed, predicting that Palestine was bound to become a “hotbed of disturbances and troubles” if the Zionists got their way.

The two leaders finally met face to face in 1945 on the U.S. Cruiser Quincy in the Suez Canal during FDR’s return trip from Yalta. In that meeting Roosevelt tried to convince the Saudi ruler to allow European Jewish occupation of Palestine. Ibn Saud countered that “Make the enemy and the oppressor pay; that is how we Arabs wage war.” He continued, “Amends should be made by the criminal, not by the innocent bystander. What injury have Arabs done to the Jews of Europe? It is the ‘Christian’ Germans who stole their homes and lives.” He finally added that “The Arabs would choose to die rather than yield their land to the Jews.” 

FDR: Couldn’t convince Saud.(US Army Photo)

What Changed?

Now Crown Prince bin Salman shows us that a lot has changed in the intervening years. Zionist Israel has become an established “fact on the ground” and thus settler colonialism is well rooted in Palestine. Saudi Arabia has, perhaps begrudgingly, accepted this change – and it is not hard to see why.

The Saudis have built their security around an alliance with Israel’s major backer, the United States. One price paid for that alliance has been a de facto acceptance of Israel’s existence. Thus, Saudi dislike of Israel has been largely rhetorical. However, it would seem that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has finally abandoned even that facade as well as abandoning the Palestinians. That is why during the prince’s recent trip to the U. S., he was found publicly rubbing shoulders with AIPAC.

In the face of their inability to do anything about the Zionist occupation of Palestine, the Saudis have moved on to focus on other enemies. This proved easy because there has always been another assumed foe out there. This enemy is the Shiite Muslims, whom the Sunnis have always seen as apostates. Specifically, the enemy is now Shiite Iran. The Saudi crown prince, once more resorting to hyperbole, claimed in the Atlantic interview that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “makes Hitler look good.” Then there are Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Zaydis Houthi of Yemen – all Shiite and all seen as enemies.

MBS: Ayatollah makes Hitler look good.

The interesting part of this shift in enemies is that by now focusing on the Shiites, and particularly Iran (which, since the 1979 revolution, has not accepted the permanence of Zionist Israel), the Saudi crown prince has discovered that “there are a lot of interests we share with Israel.”

Operating on the motto that the enemies of our enemies must be our friends, the Zionist Israelis have become “good Jews” in the eyes of the present aspiring Saudi leader. Also, the Saudis have become “good Arabs” in the eyes of the Zionists. Both now intrigue together against their common enemies.

An Odd Couple

The Saudis and the Israelis no doubt make an odd couple. However, there are, if you will, inborn similarities. For instance:

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia assert that they are “chosen people” and therefore nations blessed by their “one true God.” In both cases this assertion has led to a claim that the territory they control is “holy land” – divinely granted to them.

Also, in both cases, the religious leadership of society exercises guiding influence over many internal policies. (In Saudi Arabia no other religion is even allowed to exist.)

As a consequence, both the Saudis and the Israelis run their respective countries like restricted clubs. One demands that you be Jewish to have membership rights, and the other wants you to be a Wahhabi Sunni Muslim. Outsiders claiming equal club rights (here read citizenship) are going to be restricted, persecuted or just expelled. And, of course, in both cases minority groups do claim such rights: in Israel it is the Palestinians and in Saudi Arabia it is the Shiite population of the eastern Arabian peninsula.

 Looked at objectively, both Saudi Arabia and Israel should be anachronisms. Two nations making outrageous, unprovable claims of divine right that in turn excuses undemocratic, racist-like behavior and policies. And the United States, which also sees itself as God-blessed, readily backs them both.

 What this suggests is that, even amidst an increasingly high-tech culture, medieval thinking is still with us – deeply enough embedded to influence the thinking of millions, shape government policy and wage crusades.

This piece first appeared on Lawrence Davidson’s blog.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National InterestAmerica’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism. He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com.

 

61 comments for “Thoughts on the Saudi-Israeli Connection  

  1. Dan Good
    June 2, 2018 at 16:40

    One more point of similarity should be added: both Israel and Saudi Arabia depend entirely on the US for their existence and survival. The Saudis have virtually their entire fortune locked up in US vaults due to their agreement to tie the price of oil to the dollar. Meantime US has weaponized their financial system and the Saudis have no way out. As for Israel, US laws allow all charitable donations to Israel (i.e. all) to be tax exempt. That plus $3 billion in military aid and the permission to do as they wish with the US aid means Israel cannot survive without Uncle Sam. Of course Russia is trying to cure the addiction but it will not be easy.

  2. Sam F
    June 2, 2018 at 09:36

    The article very well notes the both KSA and Israel make “claims of divine right that in turn excuses undemocratic, racist-like behavior and policies” and that the US backs them both because it “sees itself as God-blessed.”

    After WWII, the US christian fundamentalists, oil companies, and zionists allied with Mideast Islamic fundamentalists and monarchists against communism, and stayed together after the USSR dissolution to attack socialism and get the zionist/KSA bribes. The ones who choose victims in the Mideast now run on bribes from the zionists/KSA to rent the US military for less than a penny on the dollar to steal land for Israel. See the “Devil’s Game” by Dreyfuss for details.

    Tribalists use the claims of good intentions as an excuse for crime. Eric Hoffer noted that “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” Like all movements that were originally idealistic, zionism has members who believe in the great cause, other members who profit from it as a business, and eventually became led by tyrants who made it a racket. Tribalism still works fine in the US too, and everywhere else.

    So daily we see the professions of good intentions from fundamentalists and nationalists of all kinds who in fact have no principles at all, to rationalize acts of pure self-interest.

  3. HK
    May 29, 2018 at 21:23

    The anti-Israel bias of this forum is again evident as is some of the writers’ comments. People may disagree whether the founding of Israel was just or not. And you can disagree on how to address this. Or if it should still be addressed. But among the ignorant “facts” reported here:
    King Saud did not make a deal to allow Israel to exist. Saudi Arabia joined in the Arab 1948 war against Israel.
    There historically never was an independent Palestine.
    Nobody ever called for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank or Gaza strip when those areas were controlled by Jordan and Egypt. Anyone have any doubts as to why?
    The borders of virtually all the Middle East countries were drawn by the West. Why doesn’t ConsortiumNews protest these?
    Why is there no protest about Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran crushing an independent Kurdistan?
    Why no protest what various Arab states have done to the Berbers?
    Or Morocco taking over the Western Sahara?
    Those who malign Jews for claiming to be the chosen people are ignorant of Jewish tradition that it was the Jews who chose God, not vice versa.
    Between the early 1900s and 1948, the Arab population increased 10 fold. Where did all these “Palestinians” come from?
    More Jews emigrated to Israel from Arab countries than Palestinians who fled in 1948 (600,000 vs 400,000). Where are the calls for Arab countries and Persia to make them whole?
    Arab countries deliberately ghettoized Palestinian refugees to create an ongoing problem. Europe has now successfully settled and reintegrated more Syrian refugees than other Arab countries have done over 70 years for Palestinians, their “brothers.” Wonder why?

    • Oakland Pete
      May 30, 2018 at 16:33

      The borders in the middle east were primarily drawn by the Sikes-Picot agreement. Not all cultures have a tradition of nations in the mold of Europeans, but Europeans are quick to condemn the cultures they impose themselves on for not having their national traditions. Palestine not having a political culture akin to nationhood is a myth, easily disproven by countless references going back centuries. All of this theory about the non-existence of Palestine is ultimately racist.

      Your arguments about Kurdistan, the Berbers, etc are irrelevant to this. The Vietnamese might not have been entirely magnanimous to their hill tribes, with whom the CIA allied during that war; but that does not excuse in any way the U.S. intervention. Zionism and its western sponsors created the Palestine refugee problem, and now blame Arab nations for not being more welcoming to refugees than western countries have been when they create refugees with their wars and occupations. There is blame to go around, but it begins with, and should be focused on, Israel, the U.S., and their allies – like Saudi Arabia. Arguments blaming Arabs for other issues are a distraction created by and serving those wars.

    • anon
      June 2, 2018 at 08:51

      Typical zionist lies about an “anti-Israel bias of this forum” with false assertion of standard zionist propaganda.
      This forum is very balanced, but your comment is not.

      1. First you pretend that the complex unrelated issues of the Kurds should supercede the Jewish massacres and land thefts in Palestine. That issue is indeed raised on this site. But because it is a small part of the Mideast killing, it is less immediate. In fact the Kurds have little practical hope of a homeland in their landlocked native areas, and must ultimately integrate within multicultural nations as they have done. The goal must not be racist homelands, but security and development.
      2. Then you raise obscure issues raised in no other prominent forum and absurdly claim that they should receive equal attention to the Jewish massacres and land thefts in Palestine. “Why no protest what various Arab states have done to the Berbers? Or Morocco taking over the Western Sahara?”
      3. Then you try to distract by claiming that Jews who immigrated from Arab countries created a debt to be paid by expelled Palestinians, a ridiculous and unsupportable notion.
      4. Then you accuse Arab countries of settling fewer Palestinian refugees than Europe, an obvious lie as single countries have taken more, as in Lebanon. And you try to accuse them of wrongful motives in the process.

      You cannot defend fanatical zionism, so you must attack its opponents with distractions and lies.

    • Dan Good
      June 2, 2018 at 17:03

      “Zionism denotes a movement, forged in the late 19th century and evolving ever since, for the existence of a [ … ] Jewish state in the land of Israel.” No one will disagree with this definition. When the Zionist movement was first proposed it sounded good (and to many it still does) because at the time there were many anti-Semitic newspapers and plenty of people who believed that Jews were somehow swindlers who took advantage of financial and other opportunities through their network. The idea that Jews need to be protected from anti-Semitism is still upper-most in the minds of many who support Israel. But the problem with Zionism is not the idea, but rather putting it into practice. What we see today is nothing less than Zionism in action. It has gotten worse and worse ever since the first Arab protests in the 1920’s. Why is that? Because it cannot work. For starters, Zionism is inherently non-democratic. Furthermore, Zionism in practice simply ignores the condition of the Balfour declaration which says “… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …” There is another, more subtle flaw in Zionism: it cannot survive without always keeping anti-Semitism in the forefront. So that means anti-Semitism will never go away since there is a built-in incentive to keep it alive: anti-Semitism actually helps the Zionist cause. For instance, what can be more helpful in promoting anti-Semitism than what is going on in Gaza? But the killings have a redeeming aspect: they promote anti-Semitism, without which Zionism has no purpose. Anti-Semitism means that Jews really are the eternal victims and therefore the protective Jewish Homeland is an “eternal necessity”. Finally, there is yet another flaw: who is going to want to go live there? Who wants to live in a place that is forever defending itself from its eternal enemies? There is already a dearth of new recruits for the Alayah, almost all of whom today come from the USA, a country of dispossessed citizens who flock to Israel for the “bennies”. So bottom line, there will never be peace in Israel until it rejects its founding ideology, painful as this may be to some. In other words, the problem is not about the “existence of Israel” but rather about the “existence of Israel as a Zionist State.”

  4. S.SMITH
    May 29, 2018 at 18:16

    Hermes Trismegistus @pegasuss999

    THEY, {like US “EXCEPTIONALISM” claimed by Obama}, SHARE SAME DELUSION with same LIES of “gods chosen people”, believing their own BULLSHIT that they wrote 4 themselves 2 justify GENOCIDE of their enemies=>TYRANTS

  5. Fergus Hashimoto
    May 29, 2018 at 17:13

    The views propagated by Palestinians and their supporters are all based on conspicuously narrow framing of the Palestine issue, in the sense that events in Palestine are completely disconnected from the events that were going on in other parts of the Middle East at the same time.
    Not only the spatial framework, but likewise the time frame they choose to consider is very restricted. Their narrative always begins in 1948 when the Jews kicked most of them out of their ancestral homes. Any references to events prior to 1948 are merely anecdotal and episodic. There is no systematic study of the many different episodes of conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine prior to 1948, or of the general political and economic history of Palestine under the British Mandate and its predecessor state the Ottoman Empire, which broke up in 1918.
    Without even discussing the content of the pro-Palestinian arguments, the fact is that their whole case is based on a tiny sliver of space-time. And they provide no explanation of WHY they think that the sliver of space-time they selected to base their arguments on, is THE ONLY RELEVANT ONE.
    Consequently the conclusions reached by advocates of Palestinian nationalism are open to question on purely methodological grounds, before even examining the arguments themselves.
    Ethnic Disentanglement After Multi-Ethnic Empires
    https://islamophiliawatch.blogspot.com/2016/02/ethnic-disentanglement-after-multi.html

    • anon
      June 2, 2018 at 08:58

      That is complete nonsense. Why don’t you read about the events in Palestine 1900-1948 if you want to understand the history? It is not Palestinians who obscure that, it is the zionists. It was the zionists who defied UK to emigrate is troubling numbers to Palestine in the 1930s and commit assassinations and guerilla attacks on Palestinian villages, causing increased tensions.

      For a good impartial history without too much reading try Allison Weir’s book “Against Our Better Judgment”

    • Tony Litwinko
      June 4, 2018 at 00:09

      Your ignorance of historical, economic, sociological, and continuing scholarship by Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, and Europeans is breathtaking. I would point you for a start to the Journal of Palestinian Studies. A “sliver of time” as the basis for the Palestinian protests against Israel? Your ignorance astounds.

  6. evan jones
    May 28, 2018 at 13:14

    Nothing much changes really, as the man says . . . . rhetoric, human thought processes often are as thin and deep as skin only, all the while the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Nothing will change until Christ sorts it all out the world is getting awfully small for all the heavily armed peoples.

  7. Bill Goldman
    May 27, 2018 at 19:16

    Both governments, Israeli and Saudi, are predators who attack weak regimes. Israel aggresses Palestinians and Saudi Arabia attacks Houtis. They both rail against Iran but any military shots there rely on US consent because Russia (much like the Soviet Union) counterbalances any US intervention. Syria offers a close model of the alliances fighting the conflict there. After failing in Afghanistan and Iraq, most Americans are reluctant to try their hand again at such costly adventures.

  8. Dunderhead
    May 27, 2018 at 10:00

    As a person who once believed in legitimacy of the is really narrative, I have to ask myself what the hell Artie is really doing to themselves? The in your face aggression toward largely peaceful Palestinian protesters is waking many people up to the nature of the Israeli state not to mention for those inclined re-examining that history regarding Israel’s formation. As far as the entente between Saudi Arabia and Israel it seems fairly obvious as Iran is the stated enemy of the moment though why if it were even a possible thing to invade and subjugate Iran why would Saudi Arabia want to be the main focus to a pathologically insecure Israel is beyond me.

  9. robjira
    May 26, 2018 at 12:36

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/05/26/credible-report-alleges-us-relocates-isis-from-syria-iraq-into-russia-via-afghanistan.html
    The above may seem off topic at first glance, but coupled with the latest developments in the “holy land” it does appear to underscore the notion that there really is a psychotic clique within the political elite that is trying to bring on New Testament “end times.”

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      May 26, 2018 at 13:17

      Will Durant’s “OUR ORIENTAL HERITAGE” would be a shocking shakeup to our feeble knowledge of World History, robjira.

    • Mild-ly Facetious
      May 29, 2018 at 12:26

      FYI:

      PERSIAN EMPIRE

      The Persian Empire is the name given to a series of dynasties centered in modern-day IRAN that spanned several centuries—from the sixth century B.C. to the twentieth century A.D. The first Persian Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great around 550 B.C., became one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Europe’s Balkan Peninsula in the West to India’s Indus Valley in the East. This Iron Age dynasty, sometimes called the Achaemenid Empire, was a global hub of culture, religion, science, art and technology for more than 200 years before it fell to the invading armies of Alexander the Great.

      CYRUS THE GREAT

      The Persian Empire started as a collection of semi-nomadic tribes who raised sheep, goats and cattle on the Iranian plateau.
      Cyrus the Great—the leader of one such tribe—began to defeat nearby kingdoms, including Media, Lydia and Babylon, joining them under one rule. He founded the first Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire in 550 B.C.

      The first Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great soon became the world’s first superpower. It united under one government three important sites of early human civilization: Mesopotamia, Egypt’s Nile Valley and India’s Indus Valley.

      WHERE IS PERSIA?
      At its height, the Persian Empire stretched from Europe’s Balkan Peninsula—in parts of what is present day Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine—to the Indus River Valley in northwest India and south to Egypt.

      The Persians were the first people to establish regular routes of communication between three continents—Africa, Asia and Europe. They built many new roads and developed the world’s first postal service.

      PERSIAN CULTURE
      The ancient Persians of the Achaemenid Empire created art in many forms, including metalwork, rock carvings, weaving and architecture. As the Persian Empire expanded to encompass other artistic centers of early civilization, a new style was formed with influences from these sources.

      Early Persian art included large, carved rock reliefs cut into cliffs, such as those found at Naqsh-e Rustam, an ancient cemetery filled with the tombs of Achaemenid kings. The elaborate rock murals depict equestrian scenes and battle victories.

      Ancient Persians were also known for their metalwork. In the 1870s, smugglers discovered gold and silver artifacts among ruins near the Oxus River in present-day Tajikistan.

      The artifacts included a small golden chariot, coins, and bracelets decorated in a griffon motif. (The griffon is a mythical creature with the wings and head of an eagle and the body of a lion, and a symbol of the Persian capital of Persepolis.)

      British diplomats and members of the military serving in Pakistan brought roughly 180 of these gold and silver pieces—known as the Oxus Treasure—to London where they are now housed at the British Museum.

      PERSEPOLIS
      The ancient Persian capital city of Persepolis, situated in southern Iran, ranks among the world’s greatest archeological sites. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

      The Achaemenian palaces of Persepolis were built upon massive terraces. They were decorated with ornamental facades that included the long rock relief carvings for which the ancient Persians were famous.

      Subsequent rulers in the Achaemenid Empire followed Cyrus the Great’s hands-off approach to social and religious affairs, allowing Persia’s diverse citizenry to continue practicing their own ways of life. This period of time is sometimes called the Pax Persica or Persian Peace.

      Hebrew scriptures praise Cyrus the Great for freeing the Jewish people of Babylon from captivity and allowing them to return to Jerusalem.

      FALL OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE
      The Persian Empire entered a period of decline after a failed invasion of Greece by Xerxes I in 480 BC. The costly defense of Persia’s lands depleted the empire’s funds, leading to heavier taxation among Persia’s subjects.

      The Achaemenid dynasty finally fell to the invading armies of Alexander the Great of Macedon in 330 B.C. Subsequent rulers sought to restore the Persian Empire to its Achaemenian boundaries, though the empire never quite regained the enormous size it had achieved under Cyrus the Great.

  10. Unfettered Fire
    May 26, 2018 at 11:05

    EXCEPTIONALISM – THE MIND KILLER

    “Exceptionalism is one of the most insidious mind viruses ever created by man simply because it is often hidden within the framework of other more obvious memes and control techniques. And it feeds upon itself once its appetite has been stimulated through our unwitting and self consumed hand. The greatest trick the control system ever pulled was convincing the world’s population on a per person basis that it is in our individual best interest to subvert our own self interests for the benefit of the powerful elite. Talk about divide and conquer techniques.

    Often it is presented as a beneficial sacrifice, sometimes small, sometimes very large, but almost always for the greater good. And since the greater good is served by you, and you by definition are part of the greater good, you too will benefit from your adoration of the nebulous and intangible “We the People”. It all sounds too good to be true………and it is. From birth we are taught to believe that what is good for the elite goose is good for the peon gander, beginning within our own family hierarchy and branching out from there to ‘greater’, more powerful, hierarchical elites.”

    http://twoicefloes.com/exceptionalism-the-mind-killer/

  11. May 26, 2018 at 10:37

    We could put it another way–both countries are deeply tribal. Most Israeli Jews, I read somewhere, are atheists–their religion is their tribe. Of course, we have to include the USA in this. Most Americans are united under the “religion” of American Exceptionalism whether they are on the left, right, or center–those who comment here are of no political consequence whatsoever.

  12. Joe Tedesky
    May 26, 2018 at 09:31

    Over this long Memorial Day Weekend, and when your at the party on the patio chewing on our current world news, reference this Eric Margolis article which is a perfect short story on the plight of the Palestinian.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/05/eric-margolis/palestinians-sand-in-the-eye-of-the-mideast/

    Among all of the the atrocities committed in the Middle East, and there on many, there is none worst of ongoing crimes against humanity than what is happening in Gaza. Like I said, it would be wrong to ignore all of the Western Made Destruction inflicted upon the Middle East, but the epicenter of all of the worst crimes still reside in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian. So ask yourself, as a proud and decent American to how you can support these Zionist in their quest to enact the Yinon Plan… to establish the reality of a Greater Israel.

    Hey Saudi’s that means Israel gets half of your land to, dumb patsy.

  13. Anthony Shaker
    May 26, 2018 at 09:28

    Excellent article. Professor Davidson puts things in their proper perspective. However, one correction, if I may. He writes:

    “What this suggests is that, even amidst an increasingly high-tech culture, medieval thinking is still with us – deeply enough embedded to influence the thinking of millions, shape government policy and wage crusades.”

    I am sure that his choice of words is just for the sake of an popular article. But as a scholar of medieval thought, I can assure readers that there is nothing “medieval” about Zionism, Wahhabism, Saudism, American Manifest Destiny, or the Afrikaaners’ March. These are all products of Western colonialism in its twilight based on claims of origin–as Professor Davidson correctly observes–in pseudo-religious narratives. But now humanity is saddled with them and hasn’t a clue how to eradicate them. In hindsight, Apartheid South Africa has seemed almost easy.

    At any rate, foreign Arab dynasties from the Saudi clans were installed by the British and French all over the Middle East in return for acquiescence over the Jewish colonization of Palestine. This was part of the contradictory “promises” to two peoples. Saudi Arab acquiescence is amply supported by signed documents dating before, during and after WWI that pertain to relations with the English, in particular. The rest was lip-service by the Saudis to Westerners. These foreign dynasties were installed with specially devastating consequences in Syria and Iraq, where the British used chemical weapons against a local uprising, murdering between 10,000 to 33,000 civilians in the process.

    Therefore, there is something wrong with our continual use of the word “Arab” today. Arabs live in the Arabian Peninsula and in pockets around the “Arabic-speaking” world. Apart from tribal remnants and pockets of Bedouins, the bulk of the Arabic-speaking people of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, North Africa and so on are not “Arabs” either by ethnicity or historical roots. Each land has its own identity or identities and even original languages. Many people do not communicate in Arabic at all except for official purposes.

    At the same time, Arabic for fourteen centuries has had extraordinary, perhaps unparalleled longevity. It has been a language of civilization, science, philosophy, diplomacy and governance, as Prof. Davidson knows well. As the lingua franca, it was used in these capacity throughout the Islamic world alongside Persian. Osmanli later became (after Persian) the language of government and literature in the Ottoman lands.

    Arabism, on the other hand, is an ideology that wedded local Middle Eastern nationalisms with Salafism, with roots in the late 19th century. It was used to create a transnational identity. But it too emerged for the first time in history under colonial domination, falsely to be embraced as a sign of “progress” and “modernity,” though it has never amounted to an identity. Completely impotent in the face of terrible foreign threats, it is now in its death throes. Despite their deep pockets, even the Saudis, who have been playing both the “Arab” and Islamic cards, have not been able to rescue Arabism.

    Given this history, there is absolutely nothing surprising about the present Saudi betrayal of the peoples of the region. Wahhabi Saudis never quite belonged in this region. Far from having medieval roots, they are a modern monstrosity, one that the Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali, on the Ottomans’ behest, crushed in the cradle by 1816. But the British revived them, at first in a bid to create an “Islamic Vatican” they could control. Wahhabism grew into this role but also as something quite different. This has been England’s gift to the world, apart from the borderless race colony of Zionism.

    • May 26, 2018 at 10:45

      Exactly! Thanks for your comment. One of the great problems of American civilization is it’s almost fanatical hatred of the insights of history particular the history of the Islamic world. America itself is moving towards an anti-rational historical epoch and I see little movement to counter that.

  14. Mild -ly Facetious
    May 26, 2018 at 08:41

    Lawrence Davidson- “An Odd Couple

    The Saudis and the Israelis no doubt make an odd couple. However, there are, if you will, inborn similarities. For instance:
    — Both Israel and Saudi Arabia assert that they are “chosen people” and therefore nations blessed by their “one true God.” In both cases this assertion has led to a claim that the territory they control is “holy land” – divinely granted to them.”

    ()

    Abraham’s two sons. Ishmael and Isaac. (Half Brothers)
    Ishmael’s mother was Egyptian, Isaac’s mother, a Hebrew.

    The birth of Ishmael, (Saudi’s) Genesis, Chapter 16.
    The birth of Isaac, (Jews) Genesis, Chapter 21.

  15. Vivian O'Blivion
    May 26, 2018 at 08:39

    I like to think I am hard to shock (delusional I know), but I found out the other week that Rifaat al Assad uncle of the current President of Syria, Bashar al Assad lives in England.
    This is the guy who headed up the Syrian Defence Brigades. In 1982 the Muslim Brotherhood staged an uprising in the city of Hama. Instead of putting down the revolt using small arms and house to house fighting he surrounded the city with heavy artillery and tanks and shelled large portions of it to the ground with the civilian population in situ. Civilian casualties are estimated between ten and forty thousand. This earned him the name “the butcher of Hama”.
    Due to issues with his brother, President Hafaz al Assad (including an attempted coup) he was exiled in 1998 and has been living in Europe ever since (mainly France, Spain and the SE of England) in a collection of palatial properties and with an estimated wealth of £300 M.
    How does this post fit into a thread about KSA? The “butcher of Hama” is understood to have enjoyed the protection of KSA (and his sister in law was married to King Abdullah). Geopolitics is a disgusting game and the British state have no shame in harbouring a monster (albeit a very wealthy one and that is all that seems to matter to Westminster).

  16. david
    May 26, 2018 at 07:22

    I wonder how the average Saudi Smuck on the streets feel about boy king siding with the Israelis like this?

    • Roberto
      May 26, 2018 at 08:30

      The average smuck, here in America, is why war powers has been taken away from Congress. It’s smuck’s job to do the fighting, pay for the war, and shut up..

    • backwardsevolution
      May 26, 2018 at 15:17

      Roberto – that’s actually funny, but true.

  17. Seby
    May 26, 2018 at 07:11

    Why so strange?

    They are both loyal self-serving servants of anglo-us empire.

  18. BaBa
    May 26, 2018 at 04:54

    “Israel and Saudi Arabia are making strange bedfellows..”

    With increasing opacity, since at least 1967 but more overtly since 1973/4, Israel has been the western book-end and Saudi Arabia the eastern book-end in facilitation of the “United States” containment strategy, made possible in part by the “Soviet Union”‘s acquiescence in detente on the basis of “spheres of influence”, to “contain” South Western Asia.

    This is/was obfuscated to many spectators through framing of what constituted/constitutes “plausible belief” which were/are projections of the target audience holding that states are “just like them” in having “friends” and “enemies” rather than interests.

  19. mike k
    May 25, 2018 at 22:40

    It’s interesting how the US Gov snuggles up to the worst dictators on the planet, but seems to have a problem with functioning democracies or socialist systems. Birds of a feather flock together?

    • jeff montanye
      May 25, 2018 at 22:46

      the u.s. empire has been, imo, worse than the british empire that preceded it, especially graded on the curve of historical “progress.”

      there’s something in the air. this time is different. the deep state is cornered and afraid in a way that is new. the times they are a changin’.

    • J. Decker
      May 26, 2018 at 03:35

      Get enough Totos yanking together on that carefully constructed curtain and “voila”, exposed like a cat on an open beach. Scared? Hell yes they are.

      “Where to run from the light now, oh evil ones?”
      Jack

    • Roberto
      May 26, 2018 at 08:49

      Fascism’s military spending and inflation,s payment of the debt, is their only refuge. Thus the very thought of a oil currency, other than the dollar, is seen as catastrophic.

  20. Joe Tedesky
    May 25, 2018 at 21:51

    I’m not sure to what is going on, but Richard Engel of NBC/MSNBC is on tv reporting at this very moment on Mossad, Black Cube, MEK, and not shedding a good light on any of them. Engel is attacking Trump’s pulling out of the JPCOA agreement. I’m surprised at Engel and his networks taking the position they are taking, and especially shocked that Engel’s critical reporting is not favoring Netanyahu’s Israeli positions at all.

    Is there something going on here? Did anybody else see this? If you did, what do you think Engel’s reporting unfavorable Israeli news means?

    • jeff montanye
      May 25, 2018 at 22:49

      see above. imo trump is setting israel up for the one state solution. israel sovereign in all of palestine but all people in the area are voting citizens of israel. i could go on at length but i have been banned on so many websites i am being cautious.

    • JWalters
      May 26, 2018 at 04:09

      Jeff,
      I understand your logic there, and hope you’re right. I’ve also been banned at several sites – ALWAYS because of presenting too much factual information about Israel. And I noticed other people who have discussed being banned have said the same. I was never uncivil, but have been subjected to extremely malicious comments, and those malicious comments were deemed acceptable. Much of America is under totalitarian control. That’s just a reality I’ve come to accept. The question now is how to bring that rot down. It seems to me a key is to get the broader public to see that the MSM is controlled and lying to them. If we post links to real news sites like CN at mainstream sites, readers can compare and see what the MSM is leaving out. I think a critical mass of awareness could be reached, and the situation could then flip fairly quickly.

    • Oakland Pete
      May 30, 2018 at 16:46

      JW: It’s happening on Consortium, too. It just happened to me for comments exactly as you describe, factual while not malicious. The editors writing compliments to Abe, whose M.O. is incessant slander, should give pause to the commenters – but most just chime in with the same.

  21. May 25, 2018 at 21:37

    Side note – i didn’t know there were color pix of the 1945 meeting.

    • Curious
      May 26, 2018 at 04:13

      It’s a Ted Turner thing that lives on for some people.

  22. Tom Kath
    May 25, 2018 at 20:11

    I have long understood that the “Kushner plan” is indeed a religious crusade. It relies on fostering or at least tolerating those Christians and Muslems who acknowledge their “One God” as being the Jewish one. These cannot morally see God’s chosen people as their enemy.

  23. May 25, 2018 at 19:47

    So where is Mohammed bin Salman, anyway? Speculation is rife that he was hit by two bullets on April 21 when shots were heard at the palace. Will he now govern from behind the curtain, as the Great Oz?

    • robjira
      May 25, 2018 at 21:21

      I had heard something along similar lines, Jessika; the “illegal drone flyover” of the royal palace may have been a coup attempt (there’s been a lot of wondering why so many shots would be fired at something like a quad copter).
      This is an excellent article, by the way. I had never come across those quotes from Ibn al Saud; if only Roosevelt had lived a few more years, the world would be very different.

    • May 25, 2018 at 21:40

      Rumors, unless you believe that the Daily Mail (agreed, not totally objective), is part of a conspiracy theory http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5761267/Saudis-release-photo-crown-prince-amid-speculation-ASSASSINATED.html

    • jeff montanye
      May 25, 2018 at 22:54

      just have him hold up today’s copy of the international herald tribune or something.

    • JWalters
      May 26, 2018 at 04:11

      Jessika,
      A plausible reason for his alliance with Israel-US would be to avoid being assassinated by them.

  24. Babyl-on
    May 25, 2018 at 19:19

    Great to see someone writing on this subject. I have been looking into the deals made with the Saud family and the Zionists at the end of WWII. How they each got to the table are two parallel stories of entirely different cultures.

    The US saw itself as the first fully global empire. But it could not finally capture it all without help to hold it all together.

    The deals that were made included the granting of vast powers to each of them and essentially made them part of the empire and not just “allies” Just look at what they got! The Saud family (one family) got ownership of the most important holy shrines and holey places of the Muslim religion – and control of the doctrine of the Muslim religion – one family dictates what all Muslim children are taught – extreme Wahhabism – the Zionists were given Palestine and control of the holy sites of the Jewish religion and control of the doctrine of the Jewish faith – extreme Zionism – while the US represented the supremacy of Christian Calvinist extremism.

    The AngloZionist/Wahhabi Empire – but it is not long for this world. It is all over the US will take its place in a multi-polar world or blow it to bits.

    Look back at what has been done in the Middle East – every action supports the interests of all three.

    • jeff montanye
      May 25, 2018 at 22:56

      stuff you don’t hear on cable television.

  25. mike k
    May 25, 2018 at 19:18

    In fact, MBS makes Hitler look good.

    • mike k
      May 25, 2018 at 19:21

      Iran actually has a much more just and ethical society than Saudi Arabia.

    • samf
      May 25, 2018 at 19:49

      Did you discover how to avoid excessive “moderation” censorship?
      It does seem to be triggered by any use of “zionism.”
      I wonder who the new moderator is.
      I have lost whole comments that were very moderate indeed.
      This should be fixed pronto.

    • mike k
      May 25, 2018 at 22:36

      Well, I discovered that I could use Zionist and Nazi. but could not join them to make one word – I would be moderated if I did. But I got on the moderate everything I posted list just after a short rant against the Israelis shooting all those unarmed protestors. Maybe our moderator frowns on those critical of Israel?

    • samf
      May 26, 2018 at 06:47

      Yes, I have been placed on a moderate-everything list after any remark about zionism, and most comments are blocked despite ordinary and reasonable statements.

      It appears that either Consortium News is being threatened by zionists, or has hired as moderator a student or other person with extreme zionist views, or has made an extreme change in moderation policy despite declaring that this is unchanged since Robert Parry was editor. A sad development without benefit.

    • jeff montanye
      May 25, 2018 at 22:57

      and far, far better rights for women.

  26. May 25, 2018 at 18:49

    “Should the Past and Present Leaders of a Number of Countries Be Charged With Conspiracy, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Funding, Training and Arming Terrorists”?

    The quotes below are from Asia Times September 22, 2014, article: “How Syrian jihad spawned Islamic State” By Nauman Sadiq.

    “Last year the chiefs of staff of the US, Britain, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey met in Jordan; and a report by UAE’s newspaper… also mentions the existence of a secret command center in Jordan which is staffed by military officials from 14 Western and Arab countries including Israel. This command center coordinates the operations of the rebels (jihadis) in southern Syria; while the operations of the jihadis in northern Syria are coordinated by similar command centers and bases in Turkey….” Nauman Sadiq, Asia Times Sep. 22, 2014….

    As can be seen from the information above, a number of countries are up to their dirty necks in complicity with “jihadis” and terrorists. The Asia Times article went on to further state:

    “Coming back to the topic, ISIS operated in the Syrian theater since August 2011 and its sabotage activities against the Assad regime were fully supported by the US’ allies in the region: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Jordan. The US blacklisted al-Nusra Front (ISIS after April 2013) only in December 2012. Thus, from August 2011 to December 2012, the US government tolerated and indirectly supported ISIS in Syria where it “liberated” one-third of Syrian territory in the north and east from the clutches of the US’ arch-rival: the Assad regime. Everything which al-Nusra did in Syria until April 2013 – it won many battles and conquered huge chunks of territory from the Regime all over Syria – was actually the doing of ISIS with the endorsement and support of the US’ allies in the region: Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan.”
    Nauman Sadiq, Asia Times Sep. 22, 2014….

    [read more at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/02/should-past-and-present-leaders-of.html

  27. May 25, 2018 at 18:34

    They are both allies of “our leaders” and all of them are “experts” in slaughter.
    ——————–
    May 25, 2018
    The Slaughterers

    The slaughterers murder, massacre and maim people with impunity. Anybody that criticizes them is verbally attacked and vilified, and accused of spreading misinformation and propaganda. And most of the cowardly, grovelling politicians, and fearful others, stand with the murderers. Such is the state of the world today when men, women and children can be gunned down for protesting against those that kill, abuse, and control them in a place that has been called a “Concentration Camp.” [1] The latest atrocities committed by the slaughterers happened in the Gaza Strip. This heinous criminality could be called “Murdered and Maimed by a ‘Moral Army.’” [1a]

    The armies of our resident war criminals are running amok. No country or people are safe. Illegal wars are perpetrated against a number of countries. These villainous vultures of war use the armies of their countries as hit men/slaughterers to attain their hellish objectives. This results in millions of people dead, millions of refugees and bloodstained profits for corporate cannibals that feed off the colossal carnage. Satan rules supreme, and this “Epidemic of Evil” [2] could be called “The ‘Great Satan’ and His Satanic Gang of War Criminals.” [3] Or to be gender-inclusive toward the slaughterers, their “work” could also be called, “The Satanic Savages in Suits and Dresses.” [4]…
    [read more at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/05/the-slaughterers.html

    • J. Decker
      May 26, 2018 at 04:18

      “No country or people are safe”

      Russian Federation and China are safe while Putin and Xi hold power. They are our only true hope to survive this evil.

  28. RnM
    May 25, 2018 at 18:28

    “Looked at objectively, both Saudi Arabia and Israel should be anachronisms. Two nations making outrageous, unprovable claims of divine right that in turn excuses undemocratic, racist-like behavior and policies. And the United States, which also sees itself as God-blessed, readily backs them both.”

    I commented a week, or so ago here on CN, that the roots of Totalitarianism may lie in Monotheism. I received some worthy skepticism, but Prof. Davidson lends credence to the idea, because the three nations mentioned in his next-to-last paragraph (quoted above) were founded on their Monotheistic ideas, and they are today seemingly heading into an alliance of Totalitarians. I’d add that not every nation with strong religious roots are doomed to this fate. However, a nation so formed, and undergoing turmoil, such as the US now is, is vulnerable to influence from governments more firmly rooted in Monotheism, and homogenous therein.

    • Jeff
      May 25, 2018 at 19:01

      I must disagree. If you had said that totalitarianism has its roots in religion, I would agree. But the subset of religion that is monotheistic? Iran’s original and native religion, Zoroastrianism, is monotheistic (although now only found in India) as is Shi’a Islam and Jews can worship quite freely in Iran.

    • jake
      June 2, 2018 at 16:10

      The roots of Totalitarianism lies in human nature, not religion. People lust for wealth,power, and dominion. There was warfare among the Native American tribes, and among polytheistic Africa.

  29. Sally Snyder
    May 25, 2018 at 17:53

    As shown in this article, the United States has long played favourites with Saudi Arabia and ignored the nation’s obvious human rights issues:

    https://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2018/04/saudi-arabia-ignoring-its-human-rights.html

    Given America’s track record with one of its two best friends in the Middle East, the odds of a settlement against Saudi Arabia is a moot point.

  30. jo6pac
    May 25, 2018 at 17:37

    Since they’re both evil that must help in them being friends.

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