The Saudis have hung onto both The Hejaz, Nijd, the Empty Quarter, East Arabia, and all their other despotates because they buy off internal enemies and can be useful to outside powers. For example:
Saudi Arabia added a key Arab voice on Thursday to mounting demands that Syria withdraw its troops swiftly from Lebanon, where they have helped secure it powerful influence for decades.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew to Riyadh for crisis talks where Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah told him immediate action was needed.
Abdullah, a regional ally of the United States, told Assad that “Syria must start withdrawing soon, otherwise Saudi-Syrian relations will go through difficulties,” one Saudi official said.
Baby Assad runs from the obvious for as long as possible
Syria’s official SANA news agency said of the Assad-Abdullah meeting: “The talks have tackled the upcoming Arab summit meeting and the situation in Lebanon and views were identical on this matter.”
Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo refrained from joining in an increasingly public campaign calling for Syrian withdrawal and said they were opting for quiet diplomacy by individual Arab states.
One one hand, it’s maddening. A key part of the Iraq War was to pressure Syria, they’re nightmarish state enables terrorism, and they cruficy people.
On the other… The Saudis know which way the wind is blowing. They can read the writing on the wall, the signs in the sky, and a million other cliches. They join in popular causes after they know how it will end.
In sum: we are winning
PS: How’s this for a dramatic map?
If this is the future of cartography, my brother has chosen the right field!
Update: Collounsbury sums it up: “It adds a whole new dimension of bad for the Syrians…”