The Other Middle East Crisis – Saudi Arabia Prepares For Invasion

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With the rapid takeover of large portions of Iraq and Syria by the Isis Caliphate, the neighboring nations have woken up to the threat poised by the religiously driven Arabic state. According to The London Times, Saudi Arabia has begun calling upon its military allies to begin sending troops to the nation in order to defend what they view as an inevitable invasion.

The irony of course is that the Saudi government originally backed the rebel group back when it was viewed as a counter-axis against Iranian influence in the region. Instead, Isis has apparently turned its attention to Saudi Arabia, or more specifically, the holy city of Mecca. A tweet from an alleged Isis leader gave their next target as the holy city.

If Allah wills, we will kill those who worship stones in Mecca and destroy the Kaaba. People go to Mecca to touch the stones, not for Allah.

With the growing concern over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the coverage of Isis has been lackluster within the US at best. It was all but ignored when Saudi Arabia and Jordan both began massing tens of thousands of troops along the border. The reason for the recruitment of Pakistani troops however may be more worrisome, as back in March, the Isis Caliphate claimed widespread support within the Saudi military, even including pictured claiming to be Saudi officers holding letters of support. Could the Saudi regime be turning to the Pakistan military out of fear that their own soldiers are planning to join the Caliphate?

The Saudi rose to power after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, absorbing large chunks of land under the watchful eye of their allies, the British. Their kingdom, previously called Wahaabis, conquered neighboring lands until they controlled much of the Arabian peninsula. They have since then backed many terrorist organizations in the region, in an effort to destabilize their neighbors. The Palestinian group Hamas in particular is financially backed by Saudi Arabia, despite the Saudi government really not caring about the Palestinian people. King Abdullah even condemned Hamas this past week without any criticism of Israel. It benefits them in keeping its neighbors weak. But now, their backing of such groups has given rise to an entity they cannot hope to so easily dismiss.

This is not the first time a group has positioned themselves to seize Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, from the House of Saud. It was in 1979 that the efforts of Juhayman al-Otaybi actually did seize the Grand Mosque for a period of two weeks. But that was a small insurgent effort, backed by a group of sympathetic soldiers within the Saudi military. This time they are facing what is potentially a far more severe threat. And they have responded accordingly.

If the Saudi military is as rife with sympathizers as Isis claims, the new non-Saudi troops will be there to, in effect, hold a gun to their head. but even with this, it may not be enough. The rampant corruption in Saudi Arabia and rising civil unrest make the situation even more dangerous as it leads to a populist support for the new Caliphate.

The rising militant march is heading in the direction of Mecca. The Saudi government cannot trust their own military, and is calling in allies to defend themselves. The people of Saudi Arabia could become a massive force to ally themselves with the new state.

Saudi Arabia has become a powder keg. And here comes the Isis Caliphate wielding a match.