by John Hawkins | August 29, 2002 3:12 pm
Saudia Arabia: Friend Or Foe?: I’ve received emails and have seen comments on several websites disagreeing with or at least questioning one thing Daniel Pipes said in today’s interview. Here is the passage in question…
“The government assumption has been all these years that Saudi Arabia is our close ally. The populist response since last September has been, “Saudi Arabia is our enemy.” My own take is in-between. Saudi Arabia is our rival, not an enemy, not a friend, a rival. Although it’s a small state it sees itself as the leader of a very large Muslim population and it has ideological and religious goals it needs to propagate. Saudi Arabia is actually more like China than it is like Iraq or Canada. It’s in-between an enemy and a friend.”
Well Daniel Pipes has written more on this subject  on his website. While many people seem to disagree with Pipe’s take on the Saudis, I agree with it totally.
I view the Saudi royal family as a totally cynical, self-interested, group of tyrants who are primarily interested with enjoying the fruits of all that oil money that they’re getting from us. There are two things that have the potential to wreck the royal family’s “good times.” One is getting overthrown and the other having the US cut off the oil money somehow. So far, only the former has been a serious threat. So if the Saudi public loves al-Queda & Wahhabism then that’s what they’ll get. The Saudis don’t want to risk upsetting the public by cracking down on al-Queda so they turn a blind eye to al-Queda’s activities as long as they don’t aim their attacks at the Saudi government. They’ll also pump money into the Wahhabi sect to keep their mullahs aiming verbal barrages at America and Israel instead of the Saudi government. But is Crown Prince Abdullah a diehard like Hussein or Khamenei? I don’t think so.
In my opinion, when we take Iraq and have access to their oil wells suddenly everything will change for Abdullah. All that oil money that’s rolling in from the US could potentially slow down to a trickle at that point. Since the Saudi economy is entirely reliant on their oil income, they couldn’t take a major drop in the amount of American oil money they’re getting. An economic collapse at best would mean that the Saudi royals might have to cut into their lavish lifestyles, but at worst it could mean they’d lose control of the country. When confronted with that sort of a choice Hussein and Khamenei would rather face their own destruction but I think Abdullah will turn on the terrorists with a vengeance. Like Pipes says, “(They’re) in-between an enemy and a friend.” In short, the Saudi Arabia will do whatever they think is best for them without any sort of moral considerations. Once we go into Iraq, I think you will see Saudi Arabia’s stance start to change to one more to our liking.
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