I’ve been puzzled by the sudden wave of media assaults on the Saudis. While Simon Tisdall’s piece, “Sleeping with the enemy,” in the Guardian hardly answers all questions, I thought it at least approached many of them in a way I hadn’t seen elsewhere. There is an anti-Saudi faction of hawks within (and outside the administration) who feel that, with Iraq in hand, we could bring the Saudis to heel — as in that bumper sticker, “kick their ass, take their gas” — installing regimes of our liking, and willing to do our bidding all over the Middle East. On the other hand, Bush the Father and others in the administration have many ties to the Saudis and I don’t think this administration will, in the end, dare to or care to throw aside the present regime, however deeply repugnant our “ally” may be. Tom
Sleeping with the enemy
by Simon Tisdall, November 28, 2002, The Guardian
This week’s furious row over US allegations of a link between the Saudi royal family and the terrorists of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida gang has highlighted a deep fault-line in the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, says he is “outraged” by suggestions that charitable donations made by his wife may have ended up with two men allegedly associated with the September 11 hijackers. But that has not prevented some barbed US political attacks on the Saudi government, even before an FBI inquiry is concluded.
The Saudis have “played a duplicitous game”, says US senator Charles Schumer, by effectively buying off terrorists and turning a blind eye to their activities. Richard Lugar, the incoming chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, says “disturbing issues” have been raised, and that the US must insist on a Saudi crackdown on terror financiers.