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Saudis, Our Enemy

Saudi Wahhabism Threat


May. 15, 2002  JER. POST

Keep an eye on Saudi Arabia By DANIEL PIPES

In other ways, however, the relationship has been hostile, as in 1973-74, when a Saudi oil embargo helped spur the deepest economic crisis in the United States since the Great Depression. Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey has stated that "much of the money for Al Qaeda has come from Saudi Arabia," tying the Saudis directly to September 11.

Since September, they repeatedly have failed Americans. They neither endorsed the US attack on the Taliban, nor cracked down on their own bin Laden sympathizers, nor forthrightly acknowledged the role of Saudis on September 11, nor made a priority of closing down the continuing financial flows to Al-Qaeda.

Moreover, as a leading Saudi figure warned just last month, the kingdom might join the US's enemies in order to survive: "If that means we move to the right of [Osama] bin Laden, so be it; to the left of [Libya's ruler Muammar] Qaddafi, so be it; or fly to Baghdad and embrace Saddam [Hussein] like a brother, so be it." This cannot be dismissed as an empty threat. Symbolic of these tensions, the Pentagon recently excluded the kingdom from a listing of US allies in the war on terrorism.

Saudi Arabia cannot be thought of as an ally. Instead, it should be seen as a rival. The kingdom's rulers see themselves as leaders of the billion or so Muslims worldwide and the vanguard of a movement that eventually will vanquish and replace Western civilization, which they dismiss as corrupt and doomed.

Worse, as The New York Times recently noted, an ever-more radical version of Wahhabism is gaining strength in the kingdom: an "extremist, anti-Western world view has gradually pervaded the Saudi education system with its heavy doses of mandatory religious instruction [and then it] seeped outside the classroom through mosque sermons, television shows and the Internet, coming to dominate the public discussions on religion." Anti-Western views have stuck; in particular, Saudis have shown themselves wildly sympathetic to bin Laden. One American hospital worker in Saudi Arabia reported "Saudi doctors and nurses around him celebrating on September 11."

A confidential survey found some 95 percent of young, educated Saudis sympathetic to his [bin Ladenís] declaration of war against the United States.

A century ago, most Muslims viewed Wahhabism as little more than an Arabian curiosity. Today, thanks to massive oil revenues well spent, a vast Wahhabi institutional structure exists to spread its extremist ideas, so that it has become a powerful force wherever Muslims live, from Afghanistan (where the Taliban embodied this ideology) to most mosques in the United States.

However much the United States predominates today, there are any number of would-be successors and Saudi Arabia is no less ambitious than the others. It must be watched with great caution.

Official Saudi sponsorship of terrorism

America reports that 15 of the 19 al-Qaida terror network operatives who participated in the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings were Saudi nationals.

 MORE INDICATIONS of official Saudi sponsorship of terrorism. Recent weeks have turned up some extraordinarily incriminating documents, such as a hard drive seized by US troops in Sarajevo from a computer at the office of the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina. An operative was arrested carrying documents that proved Saudi funding of the Hamas terrorist group to enable it to produce a short-range rocket called the Kassam. US intelligence sources have concluded that Saudi princes are spending millions of dollars to help large numbers of al-Qaida and Taliban members escape the American dragnet.