OUR SAUDI BUDDIES
Two stories today struck a disconcerting chord in highlighting some of the trouble with Bush's allegiance to Saudi Arabia.
The first highlights the incestuous relationship between the Bush family and Saudi royalty. The Associated Press story says:
[Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan] has been a guest at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Last year, he presented the first family with a C.M. Russell painting, a gift worth $1 million that will be stored in the National Archives, along with other presents from well-wishers destined for a Bush presidential library.
Bush called on his father in April 2002 to smooth over rockiness in U.S.-Saudi relations after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which were carried out by 19 terrorists — 15 of them Saudis. After meeting in Texas with the president, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah took a nearly two-hour private train ride with the elder Bush and got a private tour of the Bush presidential library.
Next, a New York Times story describes the rise of anti-American fervor and recaps an increasingly ideological nation.
Saudi Arabia has a troubled history with preaching jihad, which was officially sanctioned against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980's. The ruling Saud family thought it could rid itself of the radical fringe, but instead their sponsorship now haunts them. Afghanistan became the training camp for elements now trying to overthrow them. ...
"Oh God, avenge America, oh God, avenge its allies," the prayer leader at Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz mosque in a northern Riyadh neighborhood said last Friday. "Oh God, order your soldiers to show them torture, oh God divide them, oh God avenge them for what they are corrupting in Iraq." ...
"Young people are wearing T-shirts with bin Laden's picture on them just the way people used to wear pictures of Che Guevara," said Tufful al-Oqbi, a student at King Saud University. "It's simply because he is the only one resisting. Even if we reject his methods, it's because there is no other way, because this is the only way."
There are no easy answers, only more quagmire.
OUR SAUDI BUDDIES