Saudi Arabia, friend or foe?

May 13, 2010

Why do successive U.S.administrations handle Saudi Arabia with kid gloves?
Why do we consider the Saudis allies when they are so busy promoting anti-western
hatred? Oil, you will reply; an explanation I have never understood.

Some Americans have been aware of the fact, and its significance, that fifteen of the nineteen terrorists involved in the September 11, 2001 attack were Saudis. As a report by Laurent Murawiec presented to a powerful Pentagon advisory board in July 2002 stated, this was "not a coincidence". The report went on to claim 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". It went even further, describing Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has long had an ambition "to spread Islam to every corner of the earth", and it is a Islam founded on the teachings of Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab [1703-1787 C.E.]. To this end, Saudi Arabia has funded, for the last thirty years, the creations of schools, madrassas, and academies. A book published in 1995 by the Saudi Cultural Mission to the U.S. explains how students are taught early on that their prime allegiance is to Islam, and that they should denounce any system that conflicts with Islamic Law, the Sharia. The students also have a incumbent religious duty to spread Islam throughout the world, a fundamental pillar of the Saudi educational system, even if it means fighting "physically". According to ‘Ayn-Al-Yaqeen, [March 1, 2002] a weekly news magazine published online by the Saudi royal family, "The cost of King Fahd’s efforts in this field has been astronomical, amounting to many billions of Saudi riyals. In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, more than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia, and Asia…"

An Islamic Academy, now known as the Islamic Saudi Academy, was established in Washington D.C. in, significantly enough, 1984, and in 2002 was said to teach 1200 students, representing twenty-nine nationalities, about the virtues of Wahhabi Islam. As early as the 1990s, various analysts had pointed out the hatred present in Islamic textbooks used in these academies, textbooks that preach intolerance of Christians, Jews, and all non-Muslims, the necessity of killing homosexuals, the superiority of Islam, and the duty to spread Islam through Jihad in the military sense. The Islamic Saudi Academy is but one of twenty Saudi funded schools in the United States.

So why does Saudi Arabia get a free ride? Oil. But what does this reply mean? Even if a radical Islamist regime were to come to power in Saudi Arabia, it would still have to sell the oil. The West still buys oil from Iran. Would the price of oil go up? Perhaps at first, but would not market forces eventually restore some sort of equilibrium? In any case, what would be the difference as far as the ideology is concerned since present-day Saudi Arabia is already anti-West? Answer number two: Geo-strategic interests would be threatened. The greatest threat surely comes from Iran, in terms of regional stability. A Sunni Islamist regime in Saudi Arabia would be a greater threat to Iran than the West. So what’s it all about?