Saudi Arabia: friend or foe?
8/8/2002 12:00:00 AM - Cal Thomas
Truth appears in Washington with the frequency of Halley's comet, but when it does it shines like the tail of that infrequent celestial visitor.
The truth about our "friend and ally" Saudi Arabia was told last month in a briefing delivered to a Pentagon advisory panel. A Rand Corporation international security analyst told the panel that, "The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader...Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies."
The Bush administration sought to distance itself from the report, but straight-talking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused to disagree with its findings. He merely called leaking of the information "a terribly unprofessional thing to do." Rumsfeld said the briefing does not represent the "dominant opinion" within the U.S. government but, significantly, he did not reject its conclusions.
Two other publications in recent weeks add to the body of knowledge of Saudi behavior and radical Islamic intentions in the United States. One is an article in the July/August issue of Commentary magazine by Victor Davis Hanson, an author and teacher of classics at California State University, Fresno.
In his essay, Hanson writes about the contents of the PLO archives captured by Israel during its anti-terror operations in the West Bank. The captured documents "have confirmed that the (Saudi) kingdom actively gives cash to a variety of terrorist organizations and showers with money (or free trips to Mecca) the families of suicide bombers. The bounty can no longer be seen as mere postmortem charity, but rather as premeditated financial incentives for murder. What that means is that the kingdom's suicide killers of September 11 (15 of the 19 were Saudi nationals) who butchered our civilians were not so at odds with basic Saudi approaches to conflict after all."
Hanson adds, "...no country in the world is more hostile to the American idea of religious tolerance, free speech, constitutional government, and sexual equality." Rather than punish the Saudi government, Hanson prefers, among other things, an American objective of oil independence. He would help Russia explore its vast oil supply and encourage conservation, if necessary, by Americans to break the petroleum hold the Saudi kingdom has on us. Using a Russian analogy, Hanson asks, will it be Mikhail Gorbachev or Boris Yeltsin (the choices as the Soviet Union started to collapse, with the squeamish in the first Bush administration initially siding with the "reformer" Gorbachev over the transformer Yeltsin)? Will we continue to prop up a regime that oppresses women, denies human rights and democracy to all and favors a privileged few at the top over the mostly poor and illiterate at the vast bottom?
Our goal, says Hanson, should be to liberate the oppressed people of Saudi Arabia and throughout the region, just as we helped free those under oppressive communist regimes.
A recent article in Insight magazine, "Wahhabi Lobby Takes the Offensive," also speaks truth. Writer J. Michael Waller contends, "Totalitarian regimes in the Middle East have targeted the United States with a well-financed influence campaign that is being rooted in American politics." He compares these tactics to the "active-measures" strategy of the former Soviet Union, that included front organizations designed to mask real intentions.
Waller points to a column from FrontPage.com by Stephen Schwartz, a former State Department employee, in which Schwartz notes that, "The Communist Party U.S.A. used labor unions as cover; the Wahhabi lobby uses charities. The means to the end are the same: Each represents the place where the ideological network encounters and seeks to control the masses. Each is used as a recruitment center and cover for terrorists...Like the Communists before them, the Wahhabis have presented arrestees, detainees and indicted suspects as people persecuted because they are 'foreign-born' or victims of 'ethnic profiling." The Wahhabis, Waller writes, have "recycled a full range of Stalinist techniques for evading the law."
The United States is being invaded by the immigration of such people. The intent of these front groups (Schwartz names the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Muslim Council and the Islamic Society of North America as three organizations that claim to represent the entire community of American Muslims) is to undermine the United States from within. That they are funded, in part, by our "friends" the Saudis is doubly outrageous.
The policy of the United States should be to liberate the Saudi people from their oppressive regime, to free ourselves from reliance on their oil and to expel those Saudi-funded groups that seek to undermine our government and turn America into an Islamic state by force.