Why is Bush protecting Saudi Arabia?

Karl Noyes

Not since Lee Harvey Oswald has there been a patsy so easy to pin as Saddam Hussein. No tears will be shed over Saddam’s departure. However, if not for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he would still be in power. As far as the events of Sept. 11 go, Saddam was framed. As far as terrorism and the events of Sept. 11 go, the United States should have been dealing with Saudi Arabia the entire time.

Saudi Arabia is the linchpin to the tragic events of Sept. 11. The Bush administration knows this. That’s why after reports surfaced in late November 2002 that a Saudi ambassador’s wife had directly funded al-Qaida hijackers, Bush’s team of spin doctors and diversionaries has diligently shifted the focus of national security and antiterrorism efforts to Iraq, Syria, Iran and North Korea. Saudi government officials and royal family members have gladly accepted this misdirection play. Yet, despite Bush’s best efforts, Saudi Arabia keeps making the news. Most recently, Bush shielded Saudi Arabia by censoring 28 pages of a Congressional study about Sept. 11. The study reportedly details how top Saudi officials transferred millions of dollars to terrorist organizations. The Saudi Arabian treachery remains hidden under a guise of “national security.”

The Saudi Arabian government probably didn’t directly order Sept. 11 terrorism events but they made it possible through funding nonetheless. For the past two decades, the Saudi government has been playing a mafian game of paying extremist organizations just enough to prevent them from instigating a coup d’etat. The Saudi government is extremely unpopular among Saudis – according to The Guardian, a British newspaper, 95 percent of Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 support Osama bin Laden’s cause. Bin Laden’s cause includes overthrowing the royal family. Only through its financial prowess has the Saudi royal family been able to bribe organizations enough to keep them satisfied and away from their palaces. Unfortunately, paying to maintain power has proven risky for the royal family since some terrorist organizations funded by the Saudi government, including al-Qaida, decided to act on their hatred of the United States.

But direct fighting with allies proves to be quite difficult, especially allies on which the United States is extremely dependent. Twenty percent of the United States’ imported oil comes from Saudi Arabia and a war-caused shortage would further wrench the United States’ ailing economy, not to mention the Saudi government that would emerge after a war with the United States would likely be anti-American. Therefore, while a direct war with Saudi Arabia is not palatable for the Bush administration, an indirect war is. Thus, the United States attacked Iraq. Not only does the Iraq war get rid of Saddam and establish a perpetual military budget, the war in Iraq allows the Bush administration to pressure the Saudi Arabian government to lessen its ties with terrorist organizations. A large U.S. military presence in Iraq also allows the United States to lessen its dependence on Saudi oil. The Saudi government cannot completely sever its ties to terrorism and to do so would only instigate rebellion. The Bush administration cannot afford a change in Saudi Arabia’s government, even if it is a supporter of terrorism.

For now, more and more soldiers must wonder why Bush sent them to fight a war with a country that had nothing to do with the events of Sept. 11. Back home, some Americans are finally waking up too. Meanwhile, the Saudi royal family continues its subterfuge by giving out lucrative oil and development contracts above the table and money to terrorist organizations under the table.

The Bush administration’s goal is to spin any news and stonewall any investigations shedding light on Saudi Arabia. Protecting corrupt regimes while waging war on others is dirty and antidemocratic work, the kind of work the Bush administration loves to do.

Karl Noyes is a Daily editorial board member. He can be reached at [email protected]