Here's an "or else" scenario from Nawaf Obaid, an adviser to the Saudi government, that actually sounds promising -- not a term that usually springs to my mind to describe Saudi scenarios. Contemplating what he would call an unwelcome American withdrawal from Iraq, Obaid writes that the Saudi government just might fill the breach out of "religious responsibility" to Iraq's Sunni minority. Saudi Arabia, "the de facto leader of the world's Sunni community," Obaid writes, just might decide to support Iraq's Sunni fighters, just as Iran has been supporting Iraq's Shiite fighters, to avert a possible "full-blown ethnic cleansing."
Imagine: Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran -- and nary an American soldier ordered to pull his PC punches in the crossfire. But there's more. Obaid continues: King Abdullah might also "decide to strangle Iranian funding of the (Shiite) militias through oil policy. If Saudi Arabia boosted production and cut the price of oil in half, the kingdom could still finance its current spending. But it would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties .... The result would be to limit Tehran's ability to continue funneling hundreds of millions each year to Shiite militias in Iraq and elsewhere."
I like. If Saudi Arabia "strangled" Iran's economy, that would also strangle Iran's capacity to fund its nuclear blackmail program, not to mention Hezbollah and other murderous proxies. And what was that the Saudi adviser said about cutting the price of crude oil in half? A Saudi-Iranian, Sunni-Shiite rift over Iraq sounds like a win-win situation for the United States, maybe even better than the Sino-Soviet rivalry of the Cold War. This time around, instead of nuclear weapons to build in the interim, we would have something even more liberating to work on -- energy independence.