It is a question that comes from an expression, which also has the answer. And we will look into that later. It seems that the US is taking larger steps in ending the friendship with Saudi Arabia. Politico reported yesterday ‘U.S. pulls missile defences in Saudi Arabia amid Yemen attacks’ (at https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/11/missile-defense-saudi-arabia-511320), now we can understand that some are not willing to sell arms, but a defence system that stops terrorists sending drones and missiles on civilian targets? It seems that the actions are a prelude for the US to get into bed with Iran (highly speculative) and that is a concept worthy of laughter, but I am not laughing.
The setting that is given is “the perception is very clear that the U.S. is not as committed to the Gulf as it used to be in the views of many people in decision-making authority in the region” we get this from Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. I think there is more to that, but it lacks evidence. I for one have believed for years that the US (NATO allies too) were playing a one step destabilisation game in the middle east. A game where destabilisation is a mere one step away and that is no longer the case. Until thee is a direct blow between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the larger stage is not maintained and the US is getting out of there. For China it is good news, now that they are looking at another customer for the HQ-9 and a few other options. Yes, we see the western press all shouting on ending arms deals, but in the end Saudi Arabia should be allowed to defend itself and the need to defend against Houthi terrorist attacks is a prime concern for a lot of people there. So is there an alternative? Well, there is the Russian alternative, but they are shipping that to Iran, so to buy those as well is a bit of an issue on a few levels, but those objections work for China. Consider that China now has a direct setting to sell well over $17,000,000,000 in hardware to Saudi Arabia, the same will now be lost to the US in an age where they are absolutely broke. It never made sense to me, it is all nice to have high morals, but in an age where you cannot afford to buy bread and healthcare high morals just leads to more hunger in a day and age where most cannot afford such luxuries. And let’s be clear, this is not some banana republic, this is a well established monarchy. And whilst we see “From the Saudi point of view, they now see Obama, Trump and Biden — three successive presidents — taking decisions that signify to some extent an abandonment.” We merely see more and more options for China and that is merely the beginning, once the stage is set the US will lose more ground and that also leads to a stage where they are completely dependent on Israel to give them intelligence. A stage that could have been prevented from the start and no matter how they see it and I am accepting that it is their policy, it also comes with the new policy that the OPEC nations might have a new consideration, oil to China and not to the US or Europe (mostly reduced amounts of oil to Europe) And it will not aid Strasbourg to start crying foul here, it is the consequence of closing settings and in all this I personally prefer China and not Russia to get these options, it is a personal matter (NATO related). The larger stage will also hit Egypt, should Saudi Arabia continue with Huawei to set 5G connections in Egypt, the economic footprint of Saudi Arabia will change, all whilst the US ends up with a reduced footprint and that is a stage that is now escalating over the next 12-18 months.
Will I be right?
That is open to interpretation and it is open to a few factors that are not given, untested and lacking evidence, but there is a larger stage that this could play out and that is really bad news for anyone not relying on Huawei hardware, with the US pulling out of areas that stage will also lose a few more settings, so as Chinese hardware comes in, US consultants will lose more and more traction in larger areas and that is the stage some players (seemingly) overlooked. So when Analysys Mason and Boston Consulting Group start missing deals and getting less appointments you know it will be too late for a few options. There are a few more players there, but they have a much larger stage with more nations and more options, they might end up with a few projects that are China based.
So why would Saudi Arabia move to Egypt?
It is a fair question and it sets a much larger stage where Neom city will be all 5G and to stretch out towards Egypt makes perfect sense, one large network that stretches from Cairo to Jeddah, to Mecca and via Riyadh to Dammam, a network that also includes Neom, one of the biggest 5G networks in the world and it would be all Saudi, now consider the lack of credibility that the west has in a place like Egypt and now a fellow Islamic nation offers to include Egypt, what do you think Egypt will do? And lets not forget with all the band and embargo’s and collateral damage the US has in its name, Egypt is ready to seek a telecom alliance with Saudi Arabia and their numbers look really good compared to the US, it is partially speculation yet in this the Huawei announcements in 2019 give validity to my train of thought, Now add to that the media rollover I discussed a week or two ago and you see a much larger stage and the promise that Saudi Arabia made on having more than oil as a form of income is now coming to pass with a rollout that could be ready long before that deadline hits in 2030, there is a stage that should see a larger readiness in 2025, long before the US has anywhere near that level of 5G completion. In May of this year we were given “All of the major U.S. wireless carriers say they have nationwide 5G service, but industry analysts say that service is largely indistinguishable from 4G LTE service.” This implies that the Statista numbers we saw last year remains accurate for at least two more years, implying that the Saudi 5G is well over 700% faster than anything the US has and that is just embarrassing. So when we see Telecom and defence falling away from the west, how much more losses do we need to see before someone realises that we are cutting ourselves. Morality is nice but the hungry need food and they do not care how they get it. A stage where the middle east becomes the tech centre is weird, completely unexpected and whilst we see stories on Silicon Valley, I wonder if they have anything left? When the middle east is driving tech innovation the west becomes a mere iterator trying to keep up. I personally see it as the result of concept selling, it is all good and nice but the customer wants a product, it needs to get working and as we see hype after hype on AI all whilst it is merely machine learning and deeper learning, we need to consider how long this can continue until the stage implodes on itself?
So where is the grass greener? On the other fellows yard! (Billy Jones, 1924)