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Skip to comments.Saudi Arabia gives US the cold shoulder,Saudi Arabia no longer a USA friend
Posted on 08/14/2002 7:42:38 PM PDT by GaryMontana
RELATIONS between the United States and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated so far that the Saudi Arabians are no longer considered allies, senior diplomatic sources said yesterday. Saudi Arabia, once the indispensable cornerstone of US policy in the Arab world, has refused to co-operate with the war on terrorism or support President Bushs plans to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. According to the sources, it has handed over no Intelligence of any value about the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, which has roots in Saudi Arabia.
The final stab in the back for Washington was the decision to ban American bombers from attacking Iraq from Saudi airbases. That has soured relations to such an extent that the country from which America launched its 1991 invasion of Iraq is now being excluded from discussions about a post-Saddam era.
Even Syria, which in public is opposed to an attack on Iraq and has been engaged in trade and arms deals with Baghdad, is talking secretly to the Americans and the British about the role that Damascus may play in the region if Saddam is overthrown. A Syrian delegation is understood to have had discussions with British officials in London this week.
British diplomatic sources said that the Saudi ruling elite was immersed in a dynastic battle and was so concerned about survival that the key figures were afraid of taking any decision that would be interpreted by the people as being pro-Western and anti-Arab. It had become increasingly difficult to find anyone with sufficient clout and influence in Riyadh to talk about anything.
King Fahd, 79, is said by Gulf-based diplomats to be suffering increasing ill health, giving rise to speculation about his successor. He left Geneva for his holiday home in Spain yesterday after undergoing eye surgery.
General Tommy Franks, the US Central Command chief who is planning the campaign against Iraq, is understood to have removed from his list of potential launch pads the huge Prince Sultan airbase, 50 miles south of Riyadh, which the allies used as their combined air operations centre in the Gulf War. Development work at General Frankss alternative war base the al-Udeid site in Qatar was now so far advanced that it would soon be a totally self-sufficient American facility, the sources said.
There may be no political decision yet, but militarily the US has made enough preparations to attack Iraq any time, without using any facilities in Saudi Arabia, other than Saudi airspace. It is assumed that the Saudis would not go as far as denying over-flight rights, the sources said.
Saudi Arabias failure to reveal any useful Intelligence about al-Qaeda has been in marked contrast to the co- operation of countries such as Yemen.
Despite arresting 13 al-Qaeda suspects several months ago, the Saudi authorities have not divulged to the Americans any material that could help Western intelligence agencies to unravel the network, the sources said.
Sixteen Saudi al-Qaeda suspects detained by Iran after crossing from Afghanistan had also been handed over to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has promised that any Intelligence gleaned from the suspects would be passed to the US.
However, the sources said: All the Saudis are interested in is getting information from suspect al-Qaeda terrorists which relates only to Saudi Arabias security. They have not been at all co-operative in seeking answers from suspects which might have some bearing on the international threat posed by al-Qaeda.
The hierarchy in Saudi Arabia had been taken by surprise by the September 11 attacks in America, carried out by 19 hijackers of whom 15 were believed to have been Saudi citizens. Many of the al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Afghanistan and taken to the American interrogation camp at Guantanamo Bay were also Saudis.
Saudi Arabia had also been deeply involved with Pakistan in funding the Taleban in Afghanistan, and had financed the Salafi Islamic ideological schools in Pakistan at which many Taleban and al-Qaeda fundamentalists had developed their hatred of the West.
Relations with Saudi Arabia were now so poor that there was at present only one issue that could be seen in a positive light, and that was oil. The Saudis supply 17 per cent of Americas oil needs.
In all other key areas, the Saudis are not being obliging, so in planning for Iraq the Americans have turned to Gulf states they see as real allies, such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, the sources said. Britains relations with Saudi Arabia have been complicated by the detention of five Britons, found guilty of mounting a bombing campaign in a bootlegging war. The British prisoners allege that they were tortured to make false confessions.
Two emissaries have been sent this year to Riyadh to raise the case with the Saudis. However, the Saudis have shown little interest in discussing what is seen in the Foreign Office as a case of trumped-up charges.
Get Ernest T. He can throw a rock threw the Arab windows.
It is about time we realized that we are at war with ISALM. Saudi Arabia as revealed last night on the O'Riley factor gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Osama. They even continued the aid after Sep 11. Time to take over the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. If they don't like it let them ride a camel to the UN.
Kuwait and Qatar, should be our "new allies"...pump money to them AND THEIR PEOPLE, for now
Of course if Dipstick Daschole and his fellow dimagogues got off the stick and voted to open up the ANWR, this would happen a lot sooner but its gonna happen.
I completely agree. Time for the political myth -- USA and SA are "friends/allies" -- to go the way of the remains of the World Trade Center. To win any war, the first thing is to identify the enemy. To date Osama, Taliban, Iraq, Iran, Korea are the bit players. The head of the Hydra is Saudi Arabia and the radical Wahabbis. Time to get the gun sights properly aligned, IMO.
T.E.Lawrence, while a questionable personality at best, had it right about them. He said, "Arabs should not be allowed to conduct either war or government,as both require too much organization for them." Some things just don't change.
You nailed it.