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Is Saudi Arabia Our Enemy, Too?
by Alan Caruba
16 February 2004Saudi Flag

The time has long since passed when the United States should be referring to Saudi Arabia as an ally.


The time has long since passed when the United States should be referring to Saudi Arabia as an ally. It is our enemy and an unprecedented demand for the bank account records of the Washington, DC Saudi Embassy in November 2003 demonstrates that the National Security Council’s working group on terrorism is seeking to determine how the millions spent by the embassy may have funded 9-11 and other plots to undermine our nation. The subpoenas were so unprecedented, few can recall if they have ever been issued to any embassy in the past.

The Saudis, of course, have been working desperately since 9-11 to convince Americans they are “a modern nation” determined to fight the very terrorism their millions continue to underwrite. In June of last year, records show that Saudi Arabia had paid Patton Boggs, an affiliate of U.S. Qorvis Communications, a public relations agency, $1.4 million in the previous six months to massage their image. Part of that money went to arranging a two-day trip and interview by “Today” show host, Katie Couric, to interview Crown Prince Abdullah and Prince Saudi Al-Faisal.

On September 11, 2001, fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who destroyed the Twin Towers and attacked the Pentagon were Saudis.

In a recent report by United Press International, it turns out that at least 160 of the 650 detainees at the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, are from Saudi Arabia. Some were arrested far from the 2001 battlefield of Afghanistan. Others are being held at a number of points around the world. Reportedly, Saudis have streamed into Iraq to assist resistance efforts against US forces there.

The Islamic Jihad being waged around the world today began in eighteenth century Arabia. In 1744, a covenant was drawn up between the Al Saud clan and Muhammad ibn al-Wahhab, the founder of a militant interpretation of Islam now commonly called Wahhabism. In return for protection, the Wahhabis granted the Al Saud clan religious legitimacy. What followed was a form of nation building as the leader of the Al Saud clan married the daughters of other clans to bring them under his control. Saudi Arabia is less a nation than a tribe with a flag. Its “constitution” is the Koran. It is run by a network of some 7,000 “royal princes.”

Wahhabism is the religion of Saudi Arabia and it is distinguished by its complete rejection of foreign influences, its opposition to modern interpretations of the Koran, and its contempt for non-Wahhabi Muslims. Moreover, the Saudis are Sunni Muslims with a long history of strife with Shi’ite Muslims, those who parenthetically are the majority in Iraq and in Iran, the other primary enemy of the US and the West.

Thus, a “nation” that subscribes to the most regressive and oppressive form of Islam is both an “ally” of the United States and the most responsible for 9-11 and other areas of ferment and hostility around the world. The Saudis have underwritten the efforts of so-called Palestinians in the long history of attacks on Israel. Osama bin Laden’s teacher, Abdullah Azzam, was a Palestinian and the entire educational system in Saudi Arabia is controlled by those who advocate the Jihad for which bin Laden has become the symbol.

The current Wahhabi Jihad movement did not occur overnight. It began in the 1960s (in this regard it parallels the Iranian movement led by Ayatollah Khomeini.) By the 1980s, the Saudis were pouring millions into the building and spreading of fundamentalist Islam via mosques and madrasses throughout the world. This was done through a series of professed “charities” such as the International Islamic Relief Organization.

Here in the United States, there are an estimated 1,200 mosques and, as of 2000, none of the imams leading them were native-born Americans. Nearly eight in ten US Muslims were born abroad.

The contempt that Wahhabism feels for Muslims that do not subscribe to its viewpoint has begun to come back to bite the Saudi Royal family. Their major cities are virtual garrison towns as the family seeks to cope with the biggest threat to its authority in more than twenty years. After months, if not years, of denial the Saudi government has admitted to the fact they have a terrorist network on its “sacred” soil. This has not, however, encouraged them to work more closely and openly with American military and intelligence communities.

So, we now must contend not just with the re-building of Afghanistan and Iraq. We must keep an ever-watchful eye on the nexus of the Islamic Jihad, Saudi Arabia. This is a nation in need of a regime change more than all the others of that besotted region that breeds the cancer of violence besieging the world.

The irony, of course, is that it is our billions in oil money that has lifted these camel drivers and goat herders from a nomadic life on the sands of Arabia to a level of wealth that has utterly corrupted a “royal family” whose decadence betrays the very religion they claim to represent.

Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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