The extent of the deterioration in US-Saudi relations was exposed for the first time yesterday when Washington accused Riyadh of working to undermine the Iraqi government.
The Bush administration warned Saudi Arabia, until this year one of its closest allies, to stop undermining the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates, are scheduled to visit Jeddah next week.
Reflecting the deteriorating relationship, the US made public claims that the Saudis have been distributing fake documents lying about Mr Maliki.
The Bush administration, as well as the British government, is telling the Saudis, so far without success, that establishing a stable government in Iraq is in their interest and that they stand to suffer if it collapses.
Relations have been strained since King Abdullah unexpectedly criticised the US, describing the Iraq invasion as “an illegal foreign occupation”.
That was the first sign of a rift between the two, who have enjoyed a solid relationship for decades, based on Saudi’s vast oil reserves.
Fake documents? I wonder where the Saudis got that idea – Intelligence documents that U.S. and British governments said were strong evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons have been dismissed as forgeries by U.N. weapons inspectors.
Yet relations between Bandar Bush and the Saudis can’t be that bad, US set to offer arms deal to Saudis
Plan could have foes in Congress
The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to total $20 billion over the next decade at a time when some US officials contend the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq.
But the politics of the arms deal is complicated, to say the least, by the assistance Saudi Arabia is giving to anti-American Sunni groups in Iraq—the subject of a (probably not coincidentally timed) front-page story in yesterday’s NYT.
Yet just months ago we found out that Bush has been playing the same game he accuses the Saudis of playing, Unintended consequence: U.S. funding radical Islam
To keep the Iranians and other radical Shia groups in check, the Bush administration funneled billions of dollars, as well as clandestine support, to the Siniora government in Lebanon to bolster Sunni interests, according to a lengthy investigative report by Pulitzer prize-winner Seymour Hersh in the current issue of The New Yorker. In turn, the Siniora government distributed some of that aid to Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. Those groups have ideological ties with al-Qaida.
The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Sunni branch that is an avowed enemy of the U.S. and Israel, also benefited from U.S. support, according the report.
Because this all sounds like some crazy Joseph Heller novel might as well end with some irony. Irony used to mean something now irony is the rule of the day, Graphic on Limbaugh’s website identified bin Laden as a Democrat
A graphic on the front page of radio host Rush Limbaugh’s website depicted a screen shot of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal doctored to show Osama bin Laden appearing as a guest identified as “Mr. Osama bin Laden, D-Afghanistan.”
Since Bush – The Commander Guy is aiding groups that have aligned themselves with Bin Ladens brand of Islamic radicalism wouldn’t it have be more accurate for Limbaugh to portray OBL as a Republican. While I’m not into the OBL tin foil theories the fact that after six years Bin laden is still running around Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Bush is trying to play off so many people against each other regardless of how it creates more terrorists and more violence it does have the appearance that Bush and by proxy his small band of supporters are actually enjoying all this and are exacerbating the threat.
“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” – Mark Twain