Saudis, Our Enemy
15, 2002 JER. POST
an eye on Saudi Arabia By DANIEL PIPES
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.
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."
confidential survey found some 95 percent of young, educated
Saudis sympathetic to his [bin Ladenís] declaration of war
against the United States.
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.
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
America reports that 15 of
the 19 al-Qaida terror network operatives who participated in the
Sept. 11 suicide hijackings were Saudi nationals.
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.