Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

Strategic Alliance for the 21st Century
By Zaid Hamid

Environment and History:
The Middle East is being re-shaped; not just the politics but also the geography of the Muslim world is changing according to the Neo-cons' vision for the 21 st century. Multiple Muslim governments are in the process of being systematically dismantled and state failures are being created in many Muslim lands. Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia are already either failed states, under occupation or dismembered. At present the USINATO are busy ruining Libya and Syria and in destabilizing Egypt. Israel is already planning to expand into the Sinai desert taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt. Once those theatres are contained, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia would be targeted more aggressively. Pakistan is already under an imposed war. Pakistan is under a VICIOUS 4th generation, high intensity decentralized, urban war designed to disintegrate the state. The US and India are waging this war jointly primarily from Afghanistan. Multiple insurgencies, corrupt CIA planted government, economic collapse, sectarian and religious violence and a hostile media has isolated the country's armed forces who are desperately fighting to keep the nation intact. Pakistan's army remains a strong federating unit and all nuclear weapons are safe and under control. Pakistani patriots have started a counter attack in the civil society, media and armed forces to re-group, re-organize and defend the country with the support of the armed forces. The situation is being brought under control but the biggest hurdle remains

the present corrupt PPP regime. The Army does not want to impose a martial law and is alone in fighting the anti-State elements on ground and in the society. For Pakistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia remain the most critical allies and regional nations. Iran has recently been engaged by the Pakistani patriots and now the Iranian policy to a great extent has been brought in line with Pakistan's national security needs. Iran is a stable state with a powerful government and a strong army. The Neo-cons would target Iran later. But Saudi Arabia is a matter of great concern for Pakistan. Historically, Saudi Arabia has been the strongest ally and a brotherly nation for Pakistan. The land ofHijaz and Haramain of Makkah and Medina are in Saudi Arabia making the country the spiritual centre of gravity for Pakistan as well. The political, economic and security cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has been phenomenal. Over 1.5 million Pakistanis live and work in Saudi Arabia. Pakistani armed forces have been the most trusted and reliable asset for Saudi Arabia under all threat environments.

strong government in Islamabad. For the last many months Pakistan does not even have an ambassador in Saudi Arabia. India on the other hand is aggressively pursuing its economic and diplomatic interests in Saudi Arabia. Indian government is fully exploiting Saudi fears of US economy and is inviting almost $600bn of Saudi investments into India. The Indian workers have now exceeded Pakistan for the first time in history to around 2 million in the Kingdom. Indian businessmen are investing heavily in the Saudi markets in hotels, shopping malls and services. The Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia has recently been awarded the highest Saudi award for improving relations between India and Saudi Arabia.

Time tested friends! Pakistani brigades would normally be deployed in Saudi Arabia and Pakistani instructors and trainers would always be in the Kingdom to support Saudi armed forces. Pakistan has always remained a reliable strategic ally for Saudi Arabia, providing even the ultimate nuclear umbrella in case of an Israeli nuclear threat to the Kingdom and to the Muslim holy cities of Makkah Mukarramah and Medina Munawwara. There is no way any country can attack Saudi Arabia as long as the Pakistani armed forces are intact and available to defend the holy lands. Subsequently, if Saudi Arabia were to be attacked, dismembered or occupied, Pakistan and the Pakistani armed forces have to be neutralized, engaged and dismembered. This is precisely the reason for waging the present high intensity 4th generation war against Pakistan by the CIA, NATO and the Neo-cons. The Saudi leadership is most uncomfortable with the PPP regime and Zardari. The biggest headache for the Saudis at the moment is that their relations with the political government in Islamabad are at an all time low despite having excellent relations with the Pakistani armed forces. Saudis want a stable and

The ThreatAxis and the Analysis:
The re-shaping of the Middle East and the toppling of the regimes in the Arab world has created a genuine threat for the Saudi Kingdom and the house of Saud. For the first time in the last 90 years, the house of Saud is unsure about its survival and is in a vulnerable position, fearing a public uprising and toppling of their regime through internal and external factors. Saudi Arabia faces threats from multiple axes: • Internal dissent and uprising as in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria etc. King Abdullah has just announced a massive $28bn package for the nation to calm the masses against any possibility of such an uprising or rebellion. Massive discounts, salaries, pensions and jobs have been offered to the Saudis. Shia insurgency and rebellion in Eastern provinces. This is the reason they had to actually send in forces to suppress Bahrain riots basically to prevent a Shia takeover of eastern Saudi regions. The Shia factor in Yemen is also creating threats for them. Iran is being viewed as the major enemy state fomenting violence, rebellions and unrest in Shia majority areas. Saudi - Iran relations are at all time low and they themselves have a limited capacity to resolve their mutual differences. The rebellion in Bahrain has somewhat frizzled out and now the Saudis are

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making substantial efforts to reach out to Tehran in order to arrive at a point of reconciliation. • The rebellion in Yemen - This is also drawing the Saudis into another local war in the region. These tribes are not Shias but more like the religious fanatic terrorists of TTP in Pakistan who are waging a war both against the Yemen government and the Saudis. Saudi armed forces have taken serious losses there and now



through control of media and economy and reshaping the social fabric of the Saudi nation. A subtle but deadly media war has already been launched in order to criticize the Saudi

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there is an urgent need to protect this axis. Many Pak army trainers are present in southern regions of Saudi Arabia training their army for mountain warfare. The Saudis are supporting the government of Abdullah Saleh, who is wounded and under treatment in Riyadh. • The American connection: It is now being viewed as betrayal by the Saudis as well, exactly as it had proved for Hosni Mubarak. The Americans have already launched the softening up operations on the Saudi society

Fratricide within the house of Saud . Americans are deviously maneuvering and planning to bring about their favorite man as the next Saudi leader, bypassing the seniority chain. Consequently leading to a civil war among the princes, resulting in the balkanization of the Saudi Arabian power structure. This is the most probable scenario as the two senior most leaders have health issues and the Americans want to bring a favorable man to the top.

The division within the Arab world is not helping the Saudi cause as well. Syria supported the Shia rebellion in Bahrain in support of Iran. Qatar is supporting the rebellion against pro-Saudi President Saleh in Yemen and also against the anti-American Qaddafi in Libya. One Saudi friend used the word "majnoon", insane, for actions of Qatar adding that it will bring down everyone in the region. Saudis are currently in a state of rapid damage control.



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their options. That leaves Pakistan as the only reliable alternate option to defend the land against foreign and internal unrest. Trust in the US is at an all time low. Pakistan army has its presence in Saudi Arabia in the form of many trainers, doctors and advisors in the Saudi armed forces and the relations between Pakistani and Saudi armed forces remain excellent but still Pakistan does not have its armed forces on the Saudi soil as she used to prior to the Gulfwarof1992. Despite the threats and grave challenges to national security, the Saudi security establishment and leadership remains highly reluctant to discuss and debate the national security issues and vulnerabilities. The subject is a taboo in the national media and all security matters are kept hush-hush. The establishment of think tanks to openly analyze and evaluate the national security doctrines has always been discouraged even at the state level. Hence, the Saudi leadership has no way to get sincere, independent and practical national security advice either from their own sources or from their Arab or Muslim allies. However, the fact remains that Saudi Arabia is in a dangerous situation today, facing an existential threat from the US primarily, which is fomenting various axes of 4th generation war against the Saudi government in order to create a favorable envi~onment for a regime change or placing a favorable kmg after the death of the existing top two leaders, the King and the Crown Prince, whose health is a serious concern for the Saudi security managers. A massive media war in the Arabic language is being sponsored by the US and other western c?anne~s shaping the social and national profile of Saudi Arabia towards "democracy" and an openness which would put the conservative Saudi leadership in a di~ect clash either with the US or with their own clergy If the US terms are implemented. The Saudi nation and social fabric is under great stress, with the possibility of an internal implosion, as contradictions and clash among the social values and modem day western culture are getting increasingly blatant. Social media, ~nternet~ dish antennae and global media is open to all in Saudi Arabia and is now shaping the Saudi national psyche beyond the control of the Saudi leadership and t~e clergy. The clergy is panicking at thi s "westernization" of the Saudi society and IS simmering with rage.

On the diplomatic level, they are expanding the GCC, asking the Kings of Jordan and Morocco to join t~e Gulf common security and defense pact. The Saudis are also reaching out to Iran whereby the latter is cautiously responding. Military force is already being deployed with some success against the hostile tribes in Yemen and the rebels in Bahrain. But Saudi government has no response strategy against any US or western move to topple their government or to bring about a regime change through the house of Saud itself. The Americans control the entire Saudi oil and financial assets in the world and also maintain a strong military presence in the peninsula. Also, the US penetration in the Saudi C4I systems makes the entire Saudi Arabia a virtual and physical colony of the United States. Saudi armed forces will face tough times to defend their homeland against any serious external threats. The forces are highly dependent upon the US and foreign advisors, thus incapacitated throug~. a complicated command and control structure that IS in the hands of the Americans. Despite spending billions on military hardware, the fighting capability of the Saudi forces as disciplined organized forces remains dangerously low. In the battles on the Yemen border, Saudi armed forces had to take serious losses. In Bahrain, they were up against unarmed civilians, hence were able to manage the uprising. Historically, Saudis have been inviting foreign armed forces from Arab countries, Pakistan and western nations to defend their land against external threats. With Arab lands in turmoil, no Arab support is expected to come for them. Iran and Turkey are not







despite the looming global financial chaos. While all major economies are buying gold as strategic reserves, Saudis are not among the top 20 Gold buying nations today. In sheer panic, the Saudis are spending almost $90bn in buying modem weapons from the Western nations even though the Saudi armed forces have not redefined their security doctrine nor acquired the threat analysis under the rapidly shifting regional threat environment. While the western nations remain busy dismembering Libya and Syria and consolidating Egypt, Saudi Arabia is being used to strengthen the western economy and arms industry by exploiting the Saudi fears of Iran alone. The actual threat to Saudi Arabia is not from Iran but from the United States' desires to re-shape the Middle Eastern politics and the geography. This threat demands a friendly Muslim force in the Kingdom not the weapons ofthe western countries.

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The Americans plan to create a division among the political and religious elite within the Saudi power hierarchy. The US is making sure that the religious hardliners are sidelined. This is creating another serious threat and conflict axis within the society Political elite vs. the Religious elite; western media campaigns are designed to increase this divide. On the financial front, the Saudi State Bank remains directionless with regard to protecting their financial interests and investments in the west within the existing (read western) banking system. Their entire assets are either in the western banks or in the form of bonds from various nations. Oil exports are controlled by ARAMCO with accounts in western banks which can be frozen anytime, without warning. There is no concept of building Gold or real wealth reserves

The Response:
Pakistan cannot afford to lose Saudi Arabia as an ally, a friend and a brotherly nation. Chaos, anarchy or war in Saudi Arabia would be catastrophic for Pakistan's economic, diplomatic and military interests. Not just that it would threaten a friendly country, the holy cities Sn;t 181m I of Haramain would also be threatened in ..) . case Saudi Arabia is destabilized. There is H,6f1' ft, aa- t no doubt that the security of Saudi Arabia is the red line which Pakistan cannot allow any threat to cross. Pakistan will respond if Saudi Arabia is threatened. Saudis are also comfortable with the Pakistani armed forces and want Pakistan's help but have not yet been given the confidence either by the Pakistani government or the armed forces that the Saudi security needs can be protected by Pakistan. This is the greatest diplomatic and political failure of the Pakistani political leadership regarding Saudi Arabia. A patriotic, capable and aggressive Pakistani government is the best national security investment which Saudi Arabia can make against all axes of existential threats faced by the Kingdom. Pakistan

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can influence Iran in favor of Saudi Arabia. Initial contacts between Iranian government and Pakistani patriots have already started to show results. Pakistan would be ready to send its brigades in Saudi Arabia to defend the Kingdom against external intervention as well as the affects of regional anarchy. Pakistan will have to raise extra armed forces for the purpose considering the present threat environment in the country. The ultimate objective is to move towards collective security arrangements in the region between Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey; China and even Russia can join to block the USINATO influence in the greater Middle East which is destabilizing the entire region. A common strategy to exit the foreign forces Iran hopes to r end to !mlisLlndie~\S.talliid~ng6· with Saudi

from Afghanistan remains critical as a warring Afghanistan and presence of foreign forces in that country is the core of all regional crises. Saudi Arabia needs to move quickly to stabilize Pakistan, support Pakistani anned forces and to enhance the PakistanSaudi Arabia defense relations. Pakistan remains the only security insurance for the Kingdom under the present environment. All other matters would flow from this strategic move. Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are under attack. The re-shaping of the Middle East by the Neo-cons has hit both the nations hard. If Pakistani armed forces are bogged and engaged within the homeland, Saudis will be deprived of their most reliable and historic security cover against all threats. If Saudi Arabia goes down, Pakistan would lose its most reliable ally and its spiritual centre of gravity would be threatened. The 21 st century has approached with unprecedented existential threats for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Now the choice is obvious - either the two nations stand and fight together or fall divided. There is neither a third option nor the luxury of time and procrastination.

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