Monday, August 04, 2003

WHY WE'LL STAY FRIENDS WITH THE WAHABIS
A week after the release of a 900-page United States congressional report regarding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Bush rejected on Wednesday a request from Saudi Arabia to declassify part of it that allegedly links the Saudi government to the terrorist act. The refusal has outraged that government, because it stands publicly accused of terrorism while the evidence for the claim remains unavailable, and therefore, unverifiable. But since than, some of the information has been leaked. The Nation comes with possibly the most incriminating piece of testimony.

The section cites "specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers," which most commentators have interpreted to mean Saudi contributions to Al Qaeda-linked charities. But an official who has read the report tells The New Republic that the support described in the report goes well beyond that: It involves connections between the hijacking plot and the very top levels of the Saudi royal family. "There's a lot more in the 28 pages than money. Everyone's chasing the charities," says this official. "They should be chasing direct links to high levels of the Saudi government. We're not talking about rogue elements. We're talking about a coordinated network that reaches right from the hijackers to multiple places in the Saudi government."

....The official who read the 28 pages tells The New Republic, "If the people in the administration trying to link Iraq to Al Qaeda had one-one-thousandth of the stuff that the 28 pages has linking a foreign government to Al Qaeda, they would have been in good shape." He adds: "If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight."
Is this single source speaking the truth or is possibly someone who's very interested in discrediting the Wahabis? Who's to tell? It sure sounds explosive, but I wouldn't lay much credit.

On Friday, the New York times reported that Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan--whom I talked about earlier--"were probably Saudi intelligence agents and may have reported to Saudi government officials." [Ed-note: Emphasis mine] This may turn out to be either true or false, but nobody is sure until the 28 pages are released. So what if it's true? Let's assume the House of Saud indeed knowingly helped in the 9/11 plot? We'll stay friends and this is why.

  • Saudi Arabia now keeps possibly as much as a trillion dollars on deposit in US Banks-an agreement worked out in the early eighties by the Reagan Administration, in an effort to get the Saudis to offset US government budget deficits. The Saudis hold another trillion dollars or so in the US stock market. This gives them a remarkable degree of leverage in Washington. If they were suddenly to withdraw all their holdings in this country, the effect, though perhaps not as catastrophic as having a major source of oil shut down, would still be devastating.


  • The Carlyle Group is a venture capital group which trades on its government connections to make money for its investors. Behind the scenes at Carlyle are big names like George H.W. Bush, James Baker, Frank Carlucci, John Major, and many more influential, top-level officials. This U.S. global investment firm has big financial interests inside the kingdom. But also big investors from Saudi Arabia. Most of them are wealthy Saudis, but also Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family. In fact, they were multi-million-dollar investors. That was until September 11th, when they were booted out. Already, there are calls for sanctions against the Saudis. If this becomes reality, all these people who rely on Saudi investments are basically doomed.


  • The Saudis have always been loyal, when it came to oil. They used their power to tame OPEC and stabilized the world's oil markets. Whenever there's been a crisis, the Saudis were ready. They minimized the damage from the 1973 oil embargo. They were there when Saddam burned his oil wells. They have always acted in favor of their American allies and the House of Saud, and they have acted contrary to the wishes of its people and the interests of OPEC.

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