Washington Versus Riyadh?

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Thu Nov 28 16:51:23 MST 2002

I just got this synopsis off the Stratfor site (that's all you get
free-of-charge these days, and I'm not paying for any more!).



More than a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, Washington apparently has
decided to turn up the heat on Riyadh and generate the long-awaited crisis
in U.S.-Saudi relations.


The FBI is investigating the possibility that money from the Saudi
government ended up supporting two of the Sept. 11 hijackers. This
investigation is entirely to be expected, since the FBI is striving to leave
no stone unturned in tracking and interdicting al Qaeda's support networks.

Slightly less expected is the fact that the FBI and the White House chose to
broadcast this investigation. U.S.-Saudi relations are already extremely
tense, due to Washington's pressure for deeper cooperation in the war on al
Qaeda, not to mention Riyadh's refusal to support military action against
Iraq. Inflaming a scandal of this sort is not likely to open Saudi bases to
the U.S. Third Army any time soon.


There has been more criticism than usual of the Saudi regime in top US
circles, and it seems that the right-wing US press has been having a go at
the House of Saud (perhaps US-based list members can confirm this). This
seems to signal that the forthcoming US war on Iraq is also about putting
pressure upon Riyadh, perhaps forcing a 'regime change', to ensure control
of the Saudi Arabian oilfields. With a puppet government installed in Iraq,
Washington will be able to exert much more leverage upon Riyadh.

Of course, if things go wrong in Iraq, or if unrest flares up in the Middle
East, who knows what might happen in Saudi Arabia...

Paul F

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