Democratic Underground

The Daily War Watch
The Saudi Question
October 17, 2001
by J B

Printer-friendly version of this article Tell a friend about this article Discuss this article

The whoppers are flying too fast for me to keep up with them. A brief enumeration of some of what's hitting bone and not just flesh wounds:

- Rudy Giuliani's going to be knighted, honorarily, that is, since a) Britain doesn't allow real knighthoods for non-subjects, and b) Rudy has the little problem of American law saying that he's not allowed to accept or hold a real foreign title. (Which is the whole reason why this honorary business started.) He's also been recommended to become the King of Spooks (CIA director.) He's also refused a $10 million check from a Saudi prince, because of the prince's balanced view that America's Middle East policies aren't all sparkling. Rudy saw this as justifying terror, and thus, the city simply would not accept the check, throwing it back in the prince's face. Rudy is also well known as a prosecutor and mayor who liked to push the edge of law enforcement. So now we're gonna give him the keys to the limo and say, "See you when your term's up, have fun?"

- Tony Blair tried to shut the BBC up about Bin Laden, like Ari has been doing over here in the US. Problem: the BBC said flat out no. Bigger problem: the BBC is viewed as more impartial than CNN (which started to resort to direct mouthpiecing for the US government in speaking to Saddam Hussein a few times that I can remember, when I still bothered to watch CNN, which has been a LONG time) in the Middle East, which means that Tony is just making things worse after Powell told Al Jazzera to be more responsible, and the above case of Ari arm-twisting the networks. It worked, too, NBC and Fox refused to air the latest Al Qaeda tape. Self-censorship is so fun, isn't it? Well, the BBC is a semi-independent branch of the British government. Right now it's being a little too independent for their tastes. Big feud here.

- Word has passed that Britain has run out of submarine-launched cruise missiles. What, people are surprised?

- Word passed that the man in charge of the overall military effort in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, who was an artillery officer earlier in his career, was totally incompetent to handle covert operations and unconventional warfare. Well guess what? President Bush has created a special chain of command to bypass Franks and go directly to the Special Operations Command, so when (in theory) a chance comes up to assassinate someone important in Afghanistan, the request will bypass Franks, and not only that, but Franks need not ever know. (Neither need the rest of us.) Isn't this kinda... odd?

- Word is a JDAMS missed an airport and hit a residential area a mile away. That's the GPS guided one, not the laser guided bomb (LGB) which, if the laser beam breaks, drifts pretty far, a mile or two usually. Hope the people they hit enjoyed their food drops while they lasted. (I heard that these packages were being burnt in the streets in revulsion, though, so maybe not.)

- We find out that the FBI waited about two weeks to test the woman who got powder on her hands from a letter addressed to Tom Brokaw. Way to go, FBI! You just might have cost this woman her life. Catching anthrax early is like catching cancer early, but the onset time is quite a bit faster.

- This just in: Seems that James Woolsey, ex-CIA director, was sent to Britain on a fact-finding mission to find evidence linking Iraq and Saddam Hussein to terrorism. Problem: not only was the rest of the Cabinet not told, but the State Department, and the entirety of the CIA from leadership on down, were not told, either. Wolfowitz payed for Woolsey's plane ticket out of his own wallet. Apparently this ruffled a few feathers. If Bush has any spine, he should rectify the situation with all due imperial displeasure. Of course, I'm not holding my breath.

- The House has passed an anti-terror bill, which is good. The House passed an anti-terror bill that was switched at the last minute by the Republican leadership that was not read by the vast majority of the people who voted for the bill (which was about 3/4ths of the House) or by the vast majority who voted against it. Bob Barr dropped his opposition so that he could play backroom deals in conference. This is not an abdication of democracy; it is an abomination of treachery that spits (and worse) on every principle of open government that exists in this nation. If the point of electing the hired help is so that they can read the bills that are discussed before they're passed, then how does THIS get explained away......?

Finally we come to the main point of this article.

Seems that the Saudi question is infinitely more relevant and disturbing than the Israeli question.

Put simply, Saudi Arabia apparently has been paying protection money to Al Qaeda since about 1996, along with lots of other groups, to convince them to export their terror and Jihad elsewhere. (Hint: Didn't work!)

Not only does the Crown Prince (who runs the country and has done so since the King had a stroke) not like America, he does not like our culture, he does not particularly like our weasely leadership that prostrates itself when in Saudi Arabia, he does not really care for our mercenary forces (read: US Army, USAF) whoring themselves on holy (read: Saudi) territory, and he takes Wahabism (read: Bin Laden's religious sect) seriously.

Just the other day a bunch of clerics declared by fatwa that anyone who helps the infidel (that would be us) is infidel himself, and thus to be treated as the infidel, to be killed or hounded from the holy land. Thus, five or six years of total appeasement by the House of Saud has led it to be condemned by many of the highest religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, to the point of basically calling for a revolution. (When politely asked to take that part back, they, like the BBC, said no.)

Apparently, the word is out that the US is simply refusing to deal with it.

Given how Rumsfeld went there lately to beg in private and grovel in public how the US would kind of, you know, sort of, appreciate, the use of Saudi bases for striking at Bin Laden, but how the US would NEVER, oh no, not ever, actually ASK for the use of those bases and impose upon the gracious hosts in Saudi Arabia who allow us, by the goodness of their hearts, to stay there so that we can save their asses from Saddam Hussein, it seems pretty obvious what's going on.

The Republicans just have not woken up.

See, for as long as I can remember, and probably a lot further, Republicans have been really, really deeply in bed with Big Oil, and Big Oil has been in bed with Saudi Arabia, and the State Department has been in bed with Republicans and Big Oil when dealing with Saudi Arabia, and all of them have been in bed with arms manufacturers. This is the goose that lays the golden egg. This is the center of America's global economic might. This is the raison d'etre for America's projection of military power across the globe.

Why, just the other day, it seems, Bush actually appointed our newest ambassador to Saudi Arabia (yeah, bet you're wondering, why not earlier?), a personal friend of the President who has no real qualifications for foreign policy, but does have "the ear of the President." In other words, this is clan politics, clan to clan, Bush to Saud. The Bushes seem to believe that the Sauds understand this kind of power structure and respond to it, so the Bushes do everything they can to copy the House of Saud, demanding absolute loyalty from underlings, fostering absolute government secrecy whenever possible, and doing business through personal friends appointed to cozy ambassadorial positions in foreign nations to bypass the professionals who actually know what they're doing, but who may not share a particular political, economic, and closed door agenda.

Well guess what?

The Bush clan is doing a Windsor and the Sauds are about to go the way of the Romanovs.

Saudi Arabia fired its prince in charge of, ahem, spooks and dirty tricks, shortly after Sept. 11, presumably because he was too much in bed with Pakistan, and by extension, or perhaps (it is rumored) much more directly than that, with Osama Bin Laden. In other words, Bin Laden, who wants nothing more than to destroy the House of Saud, not only had extensive contacts on the inside, but basically could call up the head of Saudi intelligence anytime he wanted! How about that! I say 'basically' because hard details simply cannot be found in this matter. If they could be, the sources would be searched for using torture and beheaded as soon as possible as enemies of the state, which is treason, which is punishable by death under the Wahabi interperetation of Islamic law. You know... the one the Taliban uses.

Now, previously, it wasn't so much Bin Laden who was the problem. It was that there was all sorts of money being channeled to Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Authority, and later, to Hamas, basically any non-Iranian backed terror group, and lots of little people we never hear anything about. Now, this money was never from the Saudi Arabian *government*, but from private charity groups providing humanitarian relief. I mean, Hamas builds hospitals, right?

Well, it just so happens that most of these private charity groups are run by princes as well.

Let's put 2 and 2 together here. Saudi Arabia has been paying protection money to Islamic groups, the word goes. It has also been, indirectly, financing terror groups all across the Middle East. The Saudi government absolutely refuses to clamp down on this for fear of looking bad. However, could there not be another reason?

Isn't it entirely logical that these outflows of money are at the direction of the rulers of Saudi Arabia, through their rather large extended royal family, and are not interfered with primarily because it IS protection money?

It's not that I'm ascribing bad motives to the Saudis. They're just scared they really are going to end up like the Romanovs, except with their heads removed one by one rather than simply shot one morning. (Either way, it won't be pretty.) They seem to be just too scared, and too scared for good, all too human reasons, like reality, like the popularity of the US being basically zero in Saudi Arabia, like Osama being a folk hero greater than Saddam or Arafat ever was, the Elvis of Terror, to actually even be caught even thinking of trying to be attempting to do anything about the threats to the national security of the United States, and the physical well-being of its citizens.

Saudi Arabia also launched a crackdown on underground Christianity by Nigerian immigrants as a show of support for Islam. See, despite supporting the most radical Sunni sect in all of Islam, the House of Saud is still considered fat, aloof, and in cahoots with the US, things which, aside from the negative connotations, are essentially correct.

From this I gather one essential conclusion.

If the Bush administration is in a state of denial like Seymour Hersh is apparently reporting, the vital national interests of the United States are resting on a powder keg, with Osama's bombers and our "bombers" competing to provide the match.

This is a little beyond "not good."

Previous Editions of The War Watch