The House of Saud

Ever since the horrific September 11 attacks, America’s anti-terrorism campaign has focused on one country: Afghanistan, home base for Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban regime that supports and shelters them. Now, it is increasingly clear that despite the Bush administration’s unwillingness to say so, Saudi Arabia also played a key role, and that any anti-terror efforts based upon that nation’s cooperation are doomed to fail.

Publicly, the administration continues to treat the Saudis as allies in the war on terror, insisting that they have “responded positively” to requests for cooperation. Yet the truth has leaked out over the past few weeks, and it has become apparent that the Saudis have close ties to the terrorists and have undermined the U.S. anti-terror campaign at every opportunity.

Consider: 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11 attack were Saudi Arabian, as is Osama bin Laden himself. Fundraising for Al Qaeda was conducted openly in Saudi Arabia, and billions of Saudi dollars have gone to the terrorists. Saudi money also funds Islamic academies in Pakistan and Afghanistan that preach a fiercely anti-Western Islamic extremism and teach that “it is compulsory for Muslims to be loyal to each other and consider the infidel their enemy.” The Saudi royal family supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan both financially and diplomatically, withheld permission for the U.S. to use its air bases in Saudi Arabia as part of the military effort in Afghanistan and failed to cooperate with U.S. efforts to investigate the finances and freeze assets of Saudi citizens suspected of funding terrorism.

These facts are clear. Saudi Arabia aided and abetted the terrorists, and continues to promote a philosophy that deems all non-Muslims to be enemies. Yet American anti-terror actions continue to focus on the Taliban, with barely a mention of the House of Saud.

Needless to say, all of this amounts to yet another double standard in U.S.foreign policy based upon our dependence on foreign oil. Because Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter, the Bush administration continues to promote the dangerous myth of Saudi Arabia as a stable, moderate friend of the U.S.

In truth, the Saudis are none of these things. The royal family is riddled with dissension and increasingly unpopular, as unemployment (currently at 37 percent for men and 95 percent for women) runs high and frustrated youth turn to fundamentalist extremists for leadership. Conscious of its precarious position, the ruling monarchy has decided to export its homegrown radicals to groups like Al Qaeda, which it supports financially while paying lip service to moderate ideals.

It’s time for the Bush administration to quit making excuses for the Saudis and make it clear that they cannot both support terrorism and claim the U.S. as an ally. We repeat: It’s also long past time for our country to implement the conservation and alternative energy programs that will save us from a future filled with more such forced alliances.