The Saudis will be vital in helping to fight ISIS


by David Ignatius, The Daily Star, Lebanon

Riyadh will be a crucial, if quixotic, ally as the United States seeks to mobilize Sunni Muslims against the terrorist ISIS.

For a generation, Americans and Saudis have worried that the kingdom was a potential tinderbox, with Muslim and secular extremists vying to undermine the conservative monarchy.

U.S. and Arab experts describe a kingdom that is worried about three dangers: the rise of Iran and its Shiite Muslim allies; the resurgence of Sunni extremism embodied by ISIS; and the reliability of the United States, the kingdom’s protector, which is seen by many Saudis as a superpower in retreat.

The new spy chief and the interior minister, accompanied by Bandar and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, traveled to Qatar this week, presenting a common front to a regional rival that has often bedeviled Saudi and U.S. policy.

The Saudis must worry that a similar process has happened again. Some of the Sunni fighters they backed against Iran have drifted toward ISIS.

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

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