Here it comes 53

Here it comes, looming into sight over the horizon – war.

Tomorrow, Monday February 21, 2011, Iranian warships, at least one of them carrying long-range missiles for Hizbullah, will pass through the Suez Canal and enter the Mediterranean. [Monday update: their passage has been postponed to Tuesday.]

From DebkaFile:

Up until now, Saudi Arabia, in close conjunction with Egypt and its President Hosni Mubarak, led the Sunni Arab thrust to contain Iranian expansion – especially in the Persian Gulf. However, the opening of a Saudi port to war ships of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the first time in the history of their relations points to a fundamental shift in Middle East trends in consequence of the Egyptian uprising. It was also the first time Cairo has permitted Iranian warships to transit Suez from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, although Israeli traffic in the opposite direction had been allowed. …

Iran is rapidly seizing the fall of the Mubarak regime in Cairo and the Saudi King Abdullah’s falling-out with President Barack Obama as an opportunity not to be missed for establishing a foothold along the Suez Canal and access to the Mediterranean

King Abdullah’s “falling-out” with Obama? The King to whom Obama bowed deeply now furious with him? Not much reported in the US, although it’s a transformative event.

The King (DebkaFile reports here) has changed his policy towards Iran as a result of what he regards as Obama’s betrayal of Mubarak.

The conversation between President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah early Thursday, Feb. 10, was the most acerbic the US president has ever had with an Arab ruler … They had a serious falling-out on the Egyptian crisis which so enraged the king that some US and Middle East sources reported he suffered a sudden heart attack. …

Those sources disclose that the call which Obama put into Abdullah … brought their relations into deep crisis

The king chastised the president for his treatment of Egypt and its president Hosni Muhbarak calling it a disaster that would generate instability in the region and imperil all the moderate Arab rulers and regimes which had backed the United States until now. Abdullah took Obama to task for ditching America’s most faithful ally in the Arab world and vowed that if the US continues to try and get rid of Mubarak, the Saudi royal family would bend all its resources to undoing Washington’s plans for Egypt and nullifying their consequences.

According to British intelligence sources in London, the Saudi King pledged to make up the losses to Egypt if Washington cuts off military and economic aid to force Mubarak to resign. He would personally instruct the Saudi treasury to transfer to the embattled Egyptian ruler the exact amounts he needs for himself and his army to stand up to American pressure.

It’s too late for King Abdullah to save Mubarak now, but he is carrying out his threat to end his country’s alliance with the United States and turn towards Iran.

Through all the ups and downs of Saudi-US relations since the 1950s no Saudi ruler has ever threatened direct action against American policy. … [But this time] the King informed Obama that without waiting for events in Egypt to play out or America’s response, he had ordered the process set in train for raising the level of Riyadh’s diplomatic and military ties with Tehran. Invitations had gone out from Riyadh for Iranian delegations to visit the main Saudi cities.

Abdullah stressed he had more than one bone to pick with Obama. The king accused the US president of turning his back not only on Mubarak but on another beleaguered American ally, the former Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, when he was toppled by Iran’s surrogate Hizballah.

Our sources in Washington report that all of President Obama’s efforts to pacify the Saudi king and explain his Egyptian policy fell on deaf ears. …

The initiation of dialogue between Riyadh and Tehran is the most dramatic fallout in the region from the crisis in Egypt. It is a boon for the ayatollahs who are treated the sight of pro-Western regimes either fading under the weight of domestic uprisings, or turning away from the US as Saudi Arabia is doing now.

This development is also of pivotal importance for Israel. Saudi Arabia’s close friendship with the Mubarak regime dovetailed neatly with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s alignment with Egypt and provided them with common policy denominators. The opening of the Saudi door to the Iranian push toward the Red Sea and Suez Canal tightens the Iranian siege ring around Israel.

DebkaFile lists six strategic advantages that Iran gains by acquiring an open route through Suez into the Mediterranean:

1. To cut off, even partially, the US military and naval Persian Gulf forces from their main route for supplies and reinforcements

2. To establish an Iranian military-naval grip on the Suez Canal, through which 40 percent of the world’s maritime freights pass every day

3. To bring an Iranian military presence close enough to menace the Egyptian heartland of Cairo and the Nile Delta and squeeze it into joining the radical Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish alliance

4. To thread a contiguous Iranian military-naval line from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea through the Suez Canal and the Gaza Strip and up to the ports of Lebanon, where Hizballah has already seized power and toppled the pro-West government

And not improbably –

5. To eventually sever the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, annex it to the Gaza Strip and establish a large Hamas-ruled Palestinian state athwart the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea

And evidently –

6. To tighten the naval and military siege on Israel.

Israel is about to be threatened on three fronts: from Lebanon on its north, from Gaza on its west, and from Sinai on its south.

Obama’s policies have brought about this world-endangering crisis. He has weakened Israel (see here and here); relied on wrong intelligence about Egypt; lost the alliance of hitherto friendly Arab states; and above all allowed Iran to grow steadily stronger despite its president’s repeated announcements that his country intends to make war.