Maybe YOU Should Do Something About It?

Saudi Arabia does have a military, don’t they:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has warned that the West will be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is “rapid” action.
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“If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” he said in remarks quoted on Saturday by Asharq al-Awsat daily and Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya television station.

“Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East,” said the king who was speaking at a welcoming ceremony on Friday for new ambassadors, including a new envoy from Saudi ally the United States.

The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has prompted widespread concern as it advances in both Syria and Iraq, killing hundreds of people, including in gruesome beheadings and mass executions.

Lack of action would be “unacceptable” in the face of the phenomenon, King Abdullah said.

“You see how they (jihadists) carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street,” he said, condemning the “cruelty” of such acts.

“It is no secret to you, what they have done and what they have yet to do. I ask you to transmit this message to your leaders: ‘Fight terrorism with force, reason and (necessary) speed’.”

According to wikipedia, they do have a couple troops they could employ:

The Saudi armed forces (Arabic: القوات المسلحة الملكية السعودية‎, al-Quwwāt al-Musallaḥah al Malakeeya as-Suʿūdiyyah) consists of the Saudi Arabian Army, the Royal Saudi Air Force, the Royal Saudi Navy, the Royal Saudi Air Defense, the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), and paramilitary forces, totaling over 200,000 active-duty personnel. In 2005 the armed forces had the following personnel: the army, 75,000; Royal Saudi Air Force, 18,000; air defense, 16,000; Royal Saudi Navy, 15,500 (including 3,000 marines); and the SANG had 75,000 active soldiers and 25,000 tribal levies.[7] In addition, there is a military intelligence service, the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).

Reminds me of the joke from the first Gulf War:

Q: “What’s the national anthem of Saudi Arabia?”

A: “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

37 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    If the Saudis wanted to stop ISIS they could – oh, I don’t know – stop funding them maybe?

  2. 2

    They could also crack down heavily on Saudi citizens who are funding them and other terrorist groups. But they don’t really give a damn. They’re hoping to play all sides against each other so whoever comes out on top will think they are their friends.

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    We can’t expect those Saudi soldiers to get wrinkles in their perfectly starched camouflage fatigues, now can we?

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    @Poopyman: Yeah, yeah, I know. That ship has sailed already, and now that ISIS is no longer beholden, the Saudis are nervous.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    I wonder if the spectre of the US being less dependent on Saudi oil is starting to have an effect. The Saudi’s pals across the waters are having second thoughts, I’d bet.

  6. 6
    Space Oddity says:

    If it makes you feel better, they’re pretty lousy soldiers. The Sauds don’t want the army to be too good, because then military coup. It’s pretty much how things work in your Mideastern Royal Dictatorships.

  7. 7
    gf120581 says:

    Yet another case of Dr. Frankenstein getting nervous he’s not able to control the monster he created.

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    I thought they were funding ISIS. Are they worried their creation is going to destroy them?

  9. 9
    the Conster says:

    Now that water is the new oil, the Saudis would be well advised to use their military to invade Canada.

  10. 10

    @Comrade Dread:
    I believe that’s actually internal. Saudi Arabia is sitting on the same angry fundy bigots / modern secularists split that is causing so much tension in America, except theirs aren’t cowardly couch potatoes and could easily rise up in armed rebellion. Playing every side to keep the peace, including obnoxious but empty rhetoric, is the Saudi royal family’s way of life.

  11. 11
    RepubAnon says:

    @Poopyman: Yeah, seems as though the Saudis (and the war hawks in general) need to remember the fate of the waitress in Maximum Overdrive: when the forces created with your funding turn on you, you won’t stop them by saying “we made you!”

  12. 12
    Bjacques says:

    Maybe we should re-orient the bombing campaign to chivvy IS southward, well to the west of Baghdad. “YOU created them; YOU deal with them!”

  13. 13
    Citizen_X says:

    Shorter: “Hello, 911? This is Doctor Frankenstein.”

  14. 14
    Alex S. says:

    So why isn’t Saudi-Arabia the next target of ISIS? It’s right behind Iraq.

  15. 15

    @Frankensteinbeck: I know. But they’ve been using the fundamentalists to help prop up their medievalist kingdom for so long, I’ve long since stopped giving a fuck about what happens to them. Far as I’m concerned, the Saudis are more of a long term threat to the United States than the Iranians are. Yet they’re treated with kid gloves as valuable allies.

  16. 16
    mai naem mobile says:

    Maybe if the Saudi royals had been, oh, developing their economy beyond oil and not spending it on spreading wahhabism everywhere to keep the attention off them, uhm, then maybe they wouldnt be calling on the Great Satan to come save their asses.
    I want the 9/11 report declassified at least to the point where read the Saudi involvement. I remember Bob Graham saying that was a shocking part of the report.

  17. 17
    D58826 says:

    I’m not sure that Obama is doing the right things BUT I am sure that a lot of people are running their mouths but have no intention of backing it up with any kind of a detailed plan.

    Yes we can start with the Saudi’s. Aside from funding many of these reactionary Sunni groups they have been exporting a 7th century version of Islam and now the proverbial chickens may be coming home to roost. ISIS hates most flavors of Sunni Islam almost as much as it hates all flavors of Shia Islam.

    Ted Cruz wants to bomb ISIS back to the stone age. ISIS already exists in the stone age so exactly where will we bomb them to.

    Kristal figures a few week’s of bombing won’t hurt and might even kill some bad guys.

    Feinstein thinks the president is being to cautious. The Bush approach of charging full speed ahead into two countries that we do not understand worked out so well maybe she thinks we should give Syria the old college try also.

    Two former ambassadors to Syria, surely experts if there are any, have two totally different approaches to the problem. One, Ryan Crocker, wasn’t all that successfully in his dealings with the Iraqi’s. I believe he was the ambassador at the time that al-maliki became the latest American anointed ‘George Washington’ of some country or another.

    Exactly who should we be helping at this point. We spent 25 billion dollars ‘standing up the Iraqi army’ so the American army could stand down and they folded like a cheap suit at Mosul. The Syrian army has just lost one of its last airbases and evaporated when confronted by Al-Quada allied rebels in the Golan. Hezbollah and the Iranians don’t seem to be having a lot of luck in Syria either. While not directly involved with ISIS, Libya hasn’t turned into a Garden of Eden either.

    Now its true the US can drop enough bombs on just about any spot in the Middle east so that the only thing left is dust but it would be nice to see how well that will work out in practice. Oh wait we have the example of Israel to look to. Israel has never been shy about using its military power against a variety of Arab enemies and lets see what it has gotten them. In Lebanon the Israeli occupation helped give rise to Hezbollah. They have been trying to bomb Gaza back to the stone age (sorry about that Sen. Cruz) and all that has achieved is turning large parts of the strip into rubble and strengthening Hamas.

    Obama is being criticized because he doesn’t have a ‘strategy’ to deal with ISIS. One GOP flack wrote an entire opinion piece about how we had a strategy in dealing with the Soviet Union. Never mind that in the early years the GOP complained that the strategy should be rollback not containment, it was Ronald Reagan’ brilliance that ended the cold war. One major difference is that the cold war strategy was based on 400 years of balanced of power politics that involved real countries. What we are dealing with in the Middle East are non-state actors driven by an end-of the world religious vision on the one side and a ‘nation-state’ structure created by the European colonial powers that is rapidly collapsing. You can’t build a strategy on quick sand.

    Without boots on the ground there is no way to stop ISIS. The question is whose feet should be in those boots. Aside from the snarky answer of Cruz, MCNuits and Butters to name a few, they have to be Muslim Middle Eastern feet. American or Western European feet will only add fuel to the jihadist fire. We should have learned that lesson in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But I suspect that we will continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. It didn’t work in Vietnam, or Lebanon in 1983 or Iraq in 2003, but what the heck most of the people who are pushing war aren’t the ones who have to go and fight it.

  18. 18
    Faction says:

    Yes, I’m sure the Saudis are horrified by the “cruelty” of beheadings:

    Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August in a surge of executions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

  19. 19
    Gene108 says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    The Saudi’s let Standard Oil California and eventually Texaco and other U.S. Oil companies explore for,oil, in the 1930’s, and keep a all or part of the profits into the 1980’s.

    Aramco (American Arab Oil Co.) was the Arabian exploration arm of US oil companies, which all had some ownership stake that the Saudi government bought out in the 1970’s and eventually took management control of in the late 1980’s.

    I can sort of understand deferring to the House of Saudi, when US oil companies were making a profit, but it does not make much sense now.

  20. 20
    D58826 says:

    The latest from McNutts

    Iraqis will fight, but there has to be a strategy and a policy to implement that strategy,” said McCain. “I think it starts with understanding that this is a direct threat to the United States of America.”

    So the Iraqi army is going to sit on their butts until Obama announces a strategy that McNutts can agree with. That doesn’t even pass the low level of smacked-ass test that usually applies to Congress.

    In the meantime Sen. Menendez wants to arm the Ukrainians. He doesn’t seem to realize that that part of the world has been part of the Russian sandbox for 500 or more years.

    Just how many wars do these people want the US to get involved in. This is the same Congress that can’t even agree on a long term solution to our crumbling infrastructure and has one major party that wants to reduce taxes even more.

  21. 21
    Violet says:


    Just how many wars do these people want the US to get involved in.

    All of them, Katie. All of them.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    bring out the tiniest violin possible.

    The Saudis have funded these extremists, and now that they’re coming for SAUDI ARABIA, I’m supposed to care?


  23. 23

    @Mike in NC: Jingle from my days in the ROK:”You’re walking round base, trying to look cool, but you starch your BDUs like an ignorant fool.”

    It got worse from there.

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @D58826: “Iraqis will fight, but there has to be a strategy and a policy to implement that strategy,” said McCain. “I think it starts with understanding that this is a direct threat to the United States of America

    That’s like the telephone game of foreign policy. Purple monkey dishwasher! I actually do think that some members and/or factions of ISIS see the US as the primary target/enemy, and a sort of low grade but spectacular and violent attack is a real possibility, but how bombing and military action in the Syrian/Iraqi border territories addresses the threat posed by zealots with western passports isn’t immediately clear to me.

    Has Menendez always been such a hawk?

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    and the only thing that surprises me about this is that McCain ranks third, and somewhat Peter King, the loudmouth barfly who makes other loudmouth barflies suddenly decide to go home:

    Steve Benen
    @ stevebenen5h
    Top 2014 Sunday show guests, in order: Rogers, McCaul, McCain, Peter King, Kinzinger, Netanyahu (all conservative white men) #liberalmedia

  26. 26
    Bill Arnold says:


    I can sort of understand deferring to the House of Saudi, when US oil companies were making a profit, but it does not make much sense now.

    They can, at a whim, significantly change oil prices around the world, and affect economies up or down. That’s a lot of power.
    The US should be aggressively working on reducing the percentage of its economy that is dependent on oil; oil prices are too volatile for lots of reasons.

  27. 27
    D58826 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The threat of military violence is only effective against people who would really rather live then die. I don’t know how you can threaten death and destruction at a group of people who are convinced that to die in the cause of Allah will earn them the 72 virgins in the afterlife. The French just arrested a 16 year old girl who was on her way to join ISIS in Syria. I have no idea what her reward in heaven is but bombs will not prevent people who think like that from continuing to join the cause. The only long term solution involves social, economic and religious changes mostly within the Muslim world but to some degree the west which dries up the supply of jihadists. I suspect that finding a pink unic0rn as a birthday gift for my 4 year old niece will be easier than figuring out how to make those kinds of societal changes.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    I suspect most of the pilots in the Royal Saudi Air Force are members of the royal family (remember Prince Bandar?) who just enjoy being photographed sitting in the cockpits of their sexy fighter jets, a la George W. Bush.

  29. 29
    maya says:

    Be careful here. Your words could bring a fatwa on BJ.

  30. 30
    PhilbertDesanex says:

    @Mike in NC: This. The Saudis are weak and won’t fight, but they sure do love those cool toys we’ve sold them. We did Desert Storm ostensibly to keep Saddam from taking Saudi, I think the king’s comments are fishing for this again. I see no good options, and few that are merely bad.

  31. 31
    Woodrowfan says:

    maybe they’re afraid many of their troops would join ISIS instead of fighting them.

  32. 32
    Heliopause says:

    Maybe YOU Should Do Something About It?

    Uh, they did do something about it; they caused it in the first place. Saudi Arabia supported the anti-Assad forces, including the bloodthirstiest fanatics, practically from the beginning. And since the Saudis, from whom ISIS learned its jurisprudence, are good buddies of the U.S., well, do the math.

  33. 33
    sharl says:

    @D58826: Did you know that McCain was a POW? It’s true! He’s real shy about it though…

  34. 34
    Portlander says:

    Problem is the Saudi army (like many others in the region) is completely worthless.
    They should deal with it, but it will not happen.

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    Holding territory and running it to everyone’s satisfaction is hard. Of course beheading those who complain may reduce the griping some. Don’t like that pesky neighbor? Just say you saw them ripping pages out of (fill in blank of local holy book) and pissing on them. Neighbor problem solved. But karma now. What comes around goes around. The true believers never give that karma thing enough thought.

  36. 36

    […] King Abdullah wants the West (i.e. the United States, one presumes) to take action against ISIS/ISIL. […]

  37. 37
    Badtux says:

    A lot of people didn’t understand what Saddam Hussein meant in the runup to the 2003 war when he called American soldiers “mercenaries”. But what he meant was that they were being paid to do the bidding of Saudi Arabia — i.e., that American soldiers were Saudi Arabia’s mercenaries.

    Marching song of the Saudi military is, indeed, “Onward, Christian soldiers”….

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