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The Pakistani government ordered US forces to immediately abandon their key Shamsi base in Balujistan after a NATO air strike killed fourteen Pakistani border guards.

Incidents like that one have always been common, but they were handled discreetly during Musharaff’s rule. But the White House gave the general his marching orders and installed a liberal president—who incidentally served time in Switzerland for corruption. The US can now enjoy the fruits of his weakness and populism.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani nuclear arsenal is expected to grow from 120 to 200 warheads, and the whereabouts of many of them are unknown.

Zardari and Obama

Given the chaotic reality of the Middle East, it came as no surprise when the president of Palau, a mini-state in the Pacific, told his Israeli hosts that the UAE had offered him $10 million a year for five years plus $50 million bonus after that for withdrawing his support for Israel in the UN.

In the absurd system of the United Nations General Assembly, every state counts for one voice, be it the United States or Palau.

The UAE is America’s major ally in the Middle East, the only country to receive F-16s with FoF software, which allows them to target US allies. The UAE also maintains strong relations with the Israeli security establishment, which recently lost a major contract for upgrading the army in Abu Dhabi.

Palau Senate

Saudi Arabia has announced its plans to enlist half a million men into its army and National Guard units. The regional behemoth will buy $30 billion worth of new weapons, and since they will be buying also from China, that’s a tremendous amount. In any case, that equals about a decade’s worth of Israeli military procurement. Among other items, the Saudis will buy 500 new fighter jets.

The Saudi army is irrelevant against Iran, mainly because of its lack of fighting spirit, but also because its low numbers and poor training. Our worry is that the Saudi monarchy is doomed to fail like other monarchies around it, and its weapons will fall into the hands of Islamic extremists, just as Qaddafi’s arsenals ended up with terrorist groups.

November 2011
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