Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saudis Least of Many Evils in Middle East Cauldron

King Abdullah's visit to London sparked all sorts of blograge and tut-tutting from British newspapers.

The uppermost complaint from most Americans lies in the fact that 15 of the 19 WTC attackers were "Saudi." These statements about 911 overlook the fact that Bin Laden purposely put his Yemeni kids with Saudi passports on the planes—I was political officer in the US Embassy in Saudi and all the names of the “Saudi” hijackers were Yemeni, believe me.

The key POLITICAL point overlooked in the Times article on the King's visit is that the Royal Family would control the terrorist-generating donations of its citizens if it could muster a quorum in the Royal Family to do so. The RF resembles a bit the huge “Polish Parliament” of the eighteen hundreds where legendarily one veto could stymie a huge majority and very little business could ever be accomplished. King Abdullah must make policy with the cooperation of senior royals such as the "Sudayri Seven" boys, now six, whose oldest brother was King Fahd and whose next oldest is Crown Prince Sultan.

King Abdullah is seen as a reformer, but no one can control the deeply religious and even reactionary Saudi populace, which is much more prone to religious excesses than the RF leadership.

Bin Laden is of Yemeni descent, as are a huge plurality of Saudi citizens. In 1930 the Saudis annexed about two-thirds of Yemen, roughly like the US did in Texas/Cal in 1848, and millions of angry Yemenis who are potential followers of Bin Laden are wealthy and prone to volunteer for Jihadist suicidal junkets into Iraq. The Saudis from the Hijaz [Jidda, Mecca, Medina, Yanbu] are lackadaisical and would not volunteer, but the crazies from the Nejd are fanatics. They and the Saudified Yemenis are the angry young jihadists who become insurgents.

Saudi has so many issues that are insoluble to western logic that any generalizations simply fall short. Suffice it to say that the Royal Family itself is split into many factions and the country, as I mentioned above, has widely differing ethnic and ethos divisions---from Egyptianized Hijazis to Persianized Shi'ites in Al Hasa in Eastern Province.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia can be seen to reflect every manifestation of the wide-wide-world of Islam.

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