Foreign Policy Blogs

Containment Strategy Against Iran, Is There More at Play?



President Bush continued his Middle East trip in Saudi Arabia where he spoke of "unity" in order to reify his containment strategy against Iran:

"Mr. Bush focused not only on what the United States believes are Iran's nuclear ambitions but also its suspected support for Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He called Iran's government "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism' and accused it of imposing repression and economic hardship at home"So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late."

Meanwhile, Shibley Telhami ponders whether Saudi Arabia is using the Iran issue to bring the U.S. into delivering a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If she's right, and I must admit she makes a strong case, then one must wonder about the costly sale of precision guided weapons to Saudi Arabia during the summer. Supplying regimes is an inherent risk. Not only did this sale come with a prerequisite of increasing our yearly aid to Israel, one need not be reminded of the CIA funded, and Saudi-Paki backed Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the end of the Cold War. The consequences associated with providing the Mujahideen all that weaponry reverberate today.

Regimes often seem stable, and Saudi Arabia is a prime example. Their conservative outlook and strong ties through our public leaders and intelligence agencies provides comfort, but only to a certain extent. Change is inevitable, and as George Washington warned American generations in his farewell address, there is no such thing as a long-term ally.