Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Riyadh Gambit
My father taught me how to play chess at a very young age.
In retrospect this was very unusual. Teaching a small child how to play chess is not an easy thing to do. I tried it with my two daughters and know from experience that it takes a lot of explaining. And requires a good deal of patience.
These were not exactly my father's strong suits.
For instance, he taught me how to swim by tossing my chunky 5-year old body in the deep end of the pool and walking away.
In any case, I mastered this game of many moving parts and learned how to attack, how to set traps, how to distract my opponent and how to strategize three or four moves in advance. And now I am left to wonder whether our current political and military leaders have ever played the game.
Tonight the President will go on national TV and make the case for a limited military strike against Assad and the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons. Most agree that entails launching Cruise Missiles from battleships currently parked in the Mediterranean Sea.
I think Cruise Missiles should be aimed at Assad.
I just don't think they should be ours.
In 2010, the Saudi Arabian government spent $1.9 billion dollars for their own Cruise Missiles.
Saudi Arabia is a nation of 25 million people. 90% of whom are Sunni Muslims, the same Sunni Muslims who are currently waging war against Assad's Alawite regime. And for those of you unfamiliar with the geography, Saudi Arabia is less than 100 miles from the Syrian border.
Saudi-launched Cruise Missiles will have the same desired effect as US-launched Cruise Missiles. It will send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. In the future if you want to suppress human rights and kill your own citizenry, you will have to do it with more conventional means.
There's another upside here.
If the US intervenes there can be no doubt that the Iranians will retaliate and take their anger out on the Israelis. Israel in turn, will not sit by idly and could take this opportunity to score a direct hit on Iranian nuclear facilities. On this, there can be no doubt. Who knows where it will go from there.
On the other hand, if the launch code is issued in Riyadh, the Iranians will be neutralized. They will have no reason to attack Israel. And would never vet their anger against Saudi Arabians. Because the Quran is quite clear on this, Muslims are prohibited from killing other Muslims...