Skip to comments.U.S. interests sandbagged by Saudis
Posted on 01/16/2002 2:29:37 AM PST by UbIwerks
In Afghanistan last week, local commanders released seven high-ranking Taliban prisoners, over U.S. protests. On Saturday, Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, said his nation will finally sever its ties with Kashmiri terrorists. (Despite Musharraf's roundup of militants, India says cross-border violence must end for war to be averted.)
As allies, Kabul and Islamabad leave much to be desired. But the Afghans and Pakistanis are true-blue friends, as devoted to America as the Gurkha battalion is to the British Army, compared to the Saudis.
Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, de facto ruler of the kingdom, managed to give a speech about terrorism without mentioning Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, or acknowledging their ties to his nation.
Bin Laden is a scion of one of the country's most prominent families. Of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers, 15 were Saudi nationals. Al-Qaeda has received millions of dollars from Saudi businessmen.
Instead, Abdullah focused on what he perceives to be the root cause of terrorism - ``the destruction and massacres inflicted on our Palestinian brothers,'' leaving the impression that if Washington were serious about fighting evil, it would have spent the fall bombing Tel Aviv.
The Saudis must think we're stupid. Correction - they know we're stupid. Look at what we put up with from them, post-Sept. 11.
They refused to let us use our air bases there to strike at the killers of 3,000 Americans. They won't run traces on the hijackers. They have taken only baby steps toward freezing suspicious bank accounts.
They're afraid of where an investigation would lead. Retired CIA officer Robert Baer says, ``The rank and file Saudi policeman is sympathetic to bin Laden.'' Likewise the average Saudi businessman and soldier.
Most of the Taliban's financial support came from its fellow Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. Saudi oil money established radical Islamic schools in Pakistan and eventually co-opted Pakistani intelligence.
Apologists are forever telling us that the medieval monarchy is a source of stability in the region. Sure, the way Beijing provides stability in East Asia.
The Israelis recently nabbed a courier who was bringing Saudi money into Gaza to finance Hamas. Over the past three years, 9,000 Christians have died in religious cleansing in Indonesia. Saudi Arabia is the paymaster for their executioners in the Laskhar Jihad.
U.S. special forces who recently arrived in the Philippines may soon encounter another recipient of Saudi charity - the Abu Sayyaf terrorists. What would the region look like if the Saudis were a source of instability?
The House of Saud is as enlightened at home as abroad. Freedom House notes that in Saudi Arabia, ``Political parties are illegal, the king rules by decree,'' ``freedom of expression is severely restricted,'' ``the legal system . . . allows for floggings and amputation, which are widely practiced.'' Beheading is the prescribed penalty for a variety of offenses, including adultry and apostasy.
While President Bush preaches tolerance of Islam, Saudi rulers revile us infidels.
In a London-based Arabic newspaper, Dr. Sahr Muhammed Hatem of Riyadh recently wrote that the Saudi educational system taught him ``that anyone who is not a Moslem is our enemy, and that the West means enfeeblement, licentious, lack of values.''
For this we have 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, to keep Saddam Hussein from storming the sand castle. In gratitude for their phantom friendship (displayed for all the world to see in ads, complete with dove, proclaiming we are ``Two nations. One Goal.'') U.S. consumers continue to pump billions into the coffers of Saudi oil barons.
Lobbyists for the Saudis (including officials of past Republican administrations) tell us we must grin and bear it - for the sake of 1.5 million barrels of oil a day, because whatever would follow the fall of the current regime would be infinitely worse.
Last August, when he was fuming over our failure to pressure Israel on behalf of the suicide bombers, Abdullah wrote to Bush: ``A time comes when peoples and nations part. It is time for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to look to their separate interests.'' From his lips to Allah's ear.
When the oil runs out, how many friends will the middle east have?
Sooner than that. Open Alaska drilling, help increase Russia's production and begin a real fuel cell. Program. Maybe in 10 years the Saudis can tell us how much they enjoy $7 a barrel oil.
To a small extent perhaps. But ultimately the Saudis have no choice, either they sell the oil or eat it.