The Fall of the House of Saud
by Chris Nuttall
What Really Happened: American went to war in Iraq for several reasons, including the need to free up Iraqi oil, to remove Saddam from the game board, to handle whatever WMD Saddam possessed (something that it was impossible to be certain about because of Saddam’s penchant for lying until found out, retrenching and lying again) and to pressure the House of Saud into finally doing something about the terrorists within the Kingdom.
This would be accomplished by two different results of the war. Freeing up Iraqi oil would reduce American dependence upon the Saudi oil (which is why Saudi-funded terrorists have been hammering away at Iraqi oil) and removing American troops from the region would force the Saudi Royals to decide which side they were one quickly – as the American troops had been keeping the Saudi government in power. (Perhaps fortunately, there was no major Saudi revolution to test the assumption that the US forces would fight to save the corrupt regime.)
The results have been…indistinct. While the Saudis have confronted some aspects of terror within their kingdom, they have been unwilling to fight it out (as the US wants) and Iraqi oil has not entered the market in sufficient amounts to reduce US/EU dependence upon Saudi oil.
What Might Have Happened: A US-led campaign to crush the House of Saud.
January 2002: The Saudi Government formally requests that the US troops be withdrawn from its territory. This is not a sign of inherent anti-Americanism, as many believed at the time, but a sign that the Saudi Government was trying desperately to compromise with internal elements (read AQ) that did not believe that the US could/would fight it out to the end.
This demand is received with annoyance in the US. In OTL, the US reluctantly complied with part of the request and moved forces into Qatar. In ATL, we have some elements of the US left making a fuss about it. They don’t care about the strategy of the Terror War, but they want to embarrass Bush, who has a close (on the surface) relationship with the Saudis.
The sudden tension is picked up by elements of the Neo-Conservative movement, who point out that 15 out of 19 hijackers from 9/11 were Saudis. This starts an anti-Saudi trend that threatens to grow sharply into tension.
February 2002: A lawsuit is filed against the US government by a former US servicewoman, claiming that she was forced to serve in a hostile environment in Saudi, as she was denied any rights and forced to wear a Burka when outside the US base. (This happened in 2001 and vanished under the radar.) This leads to the discovery of more cases against Saudis abusing US citizens.
The situation is embarrassing for Bush. His enemies in the Senate and Congress are demanding when he is going to do something about Saudi Arabia. FBI/CIA leaks like a sieve, revealing a history of Saudi non-cooperation and indeed Saudi funding of terror groups. Embarrassing facts about the Saudi Ambassador’s activities in the days before 9/11 becomes public knowledge, spreading around the world.
In a discussion with American reporters, mainly male ones, the Saudi Foreign Minister is quick to blame the Neocons for the sudden chill. Despite that, the Saudis are forced to face the facts that it is the people who have had the best relations with them in the past who are suddenly feeling the pressure to do something about them.
March 2002: Searching for a strategy and facing informal demands that they do something about AQ in the Kingdom, the Saudis publicly link the existence of AQ with the Palestinian problem. (They did this in OTL.) Their under-the-table offer is that they will clamp down on AQ (which is something they cannot do without a great deal of trouble) if the US pressures Israel into giving the Palestinians what they want.
This is seen as blackmail by elements within the US, particularly the ones facing a possible investigation into their dealings with the Saudis. Anti-Saudi tracts are becoming popular (hell, they don’t even have to lie) and Congress is forced to challenge Bush on the issue.
European opinion supports the Palestinians if not the Saudis. There is a deep-seated belief that the US brought the problem on itself with supporting Israel. Historically, the US made the decision to move some troops into neighbouring countries now, but in ATL they don’t move and in fact are reinforced.
April 2002: The Saudis have moved heaven and earth to keep their people from learning of the political problems, even going so far as to shut the Internet down within Saudi itself, but it is an impossible task. OBL is more than willing to inform the people of the problems, and so is Al-J. OBL, of course, warns that the West is coming for Saudi’s oil wealth, while Al-J states that the Saudi Government is using its money for its own purposes. This provokes anti-US riots in the streets.
The Saudi Government issues a series of demands to Qatar, among other things demanding that they shut down Al-J and comply with the Saudis fully, or else. Historically, the Qatar government has been scared of the Saudis – they scream for American help. Bush informs the Saudis that any movements into Qatar will be handled roughly.
Al-J breaks the news about the Saudi attempt to shut them down. There are more riots in Saudi, and anti-Saudi riots all across the Muslim world. The Saudi Government uses its foreign aid program to pressure governments into suppressing them, while pushing its own line forward.
May 2002: General Tommy Franks is ordered to prepare a plan for the invasion of Saudi Arabia, following a major expose of US-Saudi-AQ dealings. Bush needs a victory – fast!
Much to the annoyance of Saudi factions, US troops move into the nations nearby, and Kuwait breaks ties with them. The US makes certain guarantees to Kuwait, but they depend on the Emir starting a path of democratic reform.
June 2002: So-damn-insane (Saddam) steps onto the world stage. After denouncing American involvement with the Saudi oil sheikhs and their willingness not to practice what they preach by forcing more democratic reform on Saudi, he announces that Iraq – being concerned over Saudi economic blackmail – will provide oil at the market price for any nation that will accept it and send their own tankers to collect it.
A day later, Iran makes a similar announcement, and Iraq signs an agreement with Syria to build a pipeline to ‘avoid Saudi harassment’. Both nations open themselves to foirgn investment, particularly from oil companies, and Saddam announces that he will not seek to rebuild Iraq’s shattered military.
Working together after hasty consultation, France and Russia announce that they will accept Saddam’s offer and send tankers to Basra to collect the oil. The sanctions on Iraq are lifted by them, and by the rest of the EU (except Britain) and China within a week. US protests lead to demands about what they’re doing to do about their puppet; Saudi. The only concession to US demands is the refusal to sell weapons to Iraq.
July 2002: Feeling the pinch and realising that some elements within his own party are planning to impeach him; Bush is forced to make a decision. Iraqi oil is slowly spreading into the global market, and the Saudis are at their most vulnerable. The US has officially banned trade with Iraq and Iran, but Bush is facing pressure from US Oil, which will start supporting his rivals if something isn’t done quickly.
After hasty consultation with Tony Blair, Bush issues an ultimation to Saudi. Blair cannot support the US as much as he would like, but anti-Saudi feeling exists within Britain as well. There is also a feeling that the US is cleaning up its mess. The UN protests at being left out, but after the Iraqi Debacle, the US is not interested.
The demands are not as extensive as some people want them. The Saudis are to move at once to a 5-year transition to full democracy, the US is to be given unlimited arrest powers and investigation powers within Saudi itself, the Saudis are to make their fiancés completely transparent and they will remove the Islamic strictures forced upon the public.
The Saudis do not reply. That is because several riots that might become revolutions have broken out. The Clergy are up in arms against the US, which they see as doing nothing more than destroying them. The religious police are in the frontlines of anti-US protest, demanding that the remaining US troops be forced out of the country at once.
The Clergy and the AQ network pushes its opinion onto the global stage. Paris, London and places within the UK face major riots and bomb attacks. These are blamed on Saudi, as are the bombings within the US. Anti-Muslim feeling grows rapidly; Blair is forced to bring in harsh new anti-terror laws that split the labour party, making him the captive of the Tories.
September 2002: The US is not in the mood for compromise. The response from the Saudi Government, only hours before the time limit runs out, is very dimutive. The Saudis decry all attempts to blame 9/11 on them, linking Palestine and Iraq together, as well as the rioting in Paris, which is still going on. (This is ironic, as France has said nothing about Saudi.) The reply, in fact, is frankly insulting. Bush places the US military on alert, and asks congress for a declaration of war. After five hours of debate, the declaration is made. The UK parliament refrains from declaring war (the Tories drive a hard bargain with the US first) but Britain sends some units and takes over a handful of US responsibilities in Afghanistan.
The Saudi Princes are fleeing the country, a fact gleefully reported by AJ. The US pressures their destinations (Spain mainly) to arrest them for US investigation. Some are arrested, others are kept under manor arrest (lol). This tips off some reformers within Saudi and they launch an attempted coup against the remains of the government, but the fundamentalists counter-coup. In the confusion and outraged shouting, the fundamentalists come out on top.
The US bases within the country have been buttoned up since the crisis grew acute. Bush would have liked to withdraw them, but pride convinced him to leave the forces in place. The fundamentalists direct an attack against the bases, which are defended to the last, but finally fall after MRBMs are deployed against them.
The War Begins
The US launches air strikes against Saudi airfields, striking at the roots of the Saudi military, which is on the verge of fragmenting anyway. A handful of missiles are fired at US aircraft, some are brought down, and the RSAF attempts to engage. With their under trained pilots, the US planes defeat them with ease.
Iraq declares its support of the US action and seals its borders. More importantly, Iraq sends the US cheap oil, mainly to rub the fact that they are out of their cage in. Saddam hopes that the US will be ‘reasonable’ about Iraq now. President Bush does not bother to respond.
US Special Forces tackle the oil wells near the Shia regions. The Shia don’t like the US much – because they see them as supporting the Saudis who hate them and treat them worse than the Israelis treat the Palestinians – but they are willing to support the S in exchange for political freedom and a share in the oil money. The US agrees, as the Saudi Military disintegrates, releasing all of its weapons to the fundamentalists.
US forces press inland from around Saudi. Resistance by the few remaining trained Saudi units is minimal, but fundamentalist fighters attempt to stop them and are generally killed in place. Tribal levies fight hard, particularly after the US refuses to bribe them, and have to be killed on sight. The war continues as the US moves closer to the first main city.
US forces come ashore from the Red Sea, surrounding Mecca and Medina. As the entire city is a holy site, the US refuses to engage the forces inside the city, settling only for besieging it. Turkey and Pakistan offer Islamic troops for the task and Bush accepts Turkey’s offer. Despite the credentials of the Turks, the decision provokes more riots in France and the UK.
Blair and Chirac have declared martial law over the rioting areas and have decided on no mercy. The French waver, but decide to evict all illegal immigrants, something that most businessmen get behind and push. The British hesitate, basically setting up vast detention camps and sealing up anyone who causes trouble. Blair, under pressure from the Tories, is forced to pass new anti-immigration laws.
US forces press on towards Riyadh. The Saudi forces are falling back into the cities, much to the concern of the US. The war is not over, particularly with the riots in Europe. The other problem is economic; the sudden disruption caused by the war is having a grim effect on oil sales, despite Iraq and Iran.
US forces enter Riyadh. The battles are brutal and savage, but at the end of the week the US holds the city. The death toll is awesome and some of the fundamentalists have fled, but a lot of the real hard cases have been killed. The King is taken into custody and dies in custody. AJ dances a jig.
October 2002: Turkish forces arrive for the attacks into the holy cities. The Turks have been pressing for guardianship of the cities in exchange for their assistance, which is how the military has sold it to the clergy. Bush is agreeable, but Islamic factions are not agreeable; Iran makes its continued supply of oil and suppression of AQ conditional upon them getting the city.
American forces have completed the task of destroying resistance to the invasion, aided in many cases by Shias, who have been promised political independence in exchange for cooperation. President Bush hammers out an agreement with some of the surviving reformer factions, working towards a united federal government. The government also gives full citizenship (although without many of the pre-war benefits) to Palestinians. An American-dominated court is set up to hear grievances against the Arabs by their indentured servants.
The Turks invade Mecca. The forces defending the city have been weakened by the airtight American siege and they fall quickly, doing as much damage as they can to the city. Both the Turks and Bush blame AQ for this, although for different reasons. The Turks are granted temporary guardianship.
The need to get the Saudi oil back on the market leads to the American forces taking direct control of the oil, though a very transparent process. The oil will be sold cheaply – although cheap is a relative term –to Americans, while the proceeds will be used for the reconstruction of Saudi itself.
The success in Saudi leads president Bush to claim ‘mission accomplished!’
November 2002: The US has been fairly successful at cutting funding to terror groups and Palestinian groups, after the funding from oil started to go through the US and remains carefully supervised. Saudi involvement in the Pakistani nuclear program becomes public knowledge, along with their support for the Taliban. Although some of his domestic politics do not please people, Bush is enjoying considerable popularity.
Iran takes the issue of Mecca to the United Nations. The temporary solution- giving the Turks the task of guarding the city – has shown no signs of coming to an end…and hajji season is not that far off. They want a united Islamic council governing the city, something the American Muslims agree on as well. Few trust the Turks.
Bush doesn’t care. There are other matters. Cut off from Saudi funding, the radical Palestinians are preparing a final riot. The Mossad gets wind of the planning and Israel clamps down hard. The Palestinian factions can therefore claim that Israel started it. The rioting becomes an armed insurgency against Israel.
On the subject of riots, the French are preparing to expel thousands of unwanted immigrants, along with many other EU nations, including Denmark and Holland. This leads to more riots and more death in the streets, therefore boosting the nationalist parties in Europe. It is Germany that makes the first moves towards a Pan-EU policy for getting rid of the rioters, one blessed by the rest of the EU.
December 2002: Israel is knee-deep in Palestinian blood and angry, blaming the Syrian leadership for encouraging the rioters. Turkey is in agreement; the Turks blame Syria and Iran for encouraging terror attacks and Kurdish separatism. The two powers issue a joint demand to Syria to crease such actions – or else. US protests are ignored, along with Iraq’s half-hearted protests.
The US offers a compromise, of sorts; immigration to the shell of Saudi will not be restricted, provided that Palestinians leave their grievances against Israel at home. While many moderate Palestinians are grateful, the radicals’ scheme against it…while the ultimation to Syria runs out….
Shall I continue? Let me know.