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Oil in the Family

New Page -- 18 September 2003

Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers in the attacks on 9-11-2001 were Saudis.  They were in fact well educated (or indoctrinated), financially well off, came from respected families, and simply do not fit the profile of the devastated and poor militant who in acute frustration assumes it is far better to die in a blaze of glory intended for martyrdom -- and to perhaps greatly benefit their surviving families -- than to continue living in a world of misery and poverty.

Osama bin Laden was a Saudi as well, and from a very wealthy family.  He was raised and educated in the best of Saudi traditions, and has since then been particularly well funded by Saudi friends, relatives, and avid -- if not fanatical -- religious supporters.  Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, was a clear enemy of bin Laden -- and for that matter the Saudi royal family.

It is indeed curious, therefore, as to why the Bush Administration would respond to the 9-11-2001 attack on the United States by a group of predominantly Saudi nationals by attacking Afghanistan and then Iraq.  Why not attack Saudi Arabia?  Why not go to the obvious source?  Even more to the point:


Why did "the Bush Administration, led by a President cozier than most to Riyadh [the Capital of Saudi Arabia], black out 28 pages dealing with Saudi Arabia from Congress's official report on Sept. 11, producing the smell of a cover-up of complicity in the worst terrorist attack in U. S. history"? [1] [emphasis added]


Why did "George W. Bush's Administration permit an estimated 140 members of the Saudi royal family, their associates, and relatives of Osama bin Laden to flee the U.S. days after the 9/11 attacks, sparking criticism that Bush might have damaged the investigation"? [1]


Why did the November immediately following 9/11/2001, Vice-President "Dick Cheney's old firm, Halliburton, win a $140 million contract to develop a Saudi oil field"? [1]


Why did the 600 families that lost loved ones in 9/11 file a lawsuit holding the House of Saud accountable in a $1 trillion lawsuit? [1]


And why, in July 2003, did a Congressional bill to add Saudi Arabia to the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism garner 191 votes in the House before going down? [1]

There is considerable evidence that "al-Qaeda had an explicit deal with the Saudi royals to desist from violence in the kingdom in exchange for Saudi financing."  [It's called "protection money".]  A key l-Qaeda operative supposedly in U.S. custody, Abu Zubaydah, "is said to have claimed that bin Laden told him he had made the deal in 1991 with Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, the longtime Saudi intelligence chief." [1]  More currently -- even after the May 12, 2003 attacks in Saudi Arabia itself -- there is the reality of the Saudi government preventing U. S. officials from having access to suspects in Saudi custody who allegedly have information on "extensive plans to inject poison gas in the New York City subway system." [1]

The problem, as it turns out, is a combination of Wahhabism and Bushism.

On the one hand, Wahhabism is the state religion of Saudi Arabia.  Stephen Schwartz, in his book on Islam in Saudi Arabia, "suggests that where Wahhabism is the official creed, there must be a terrorist state." The Wahhabism creed has "no place for free will or human rights, let alone separation of church and state."  Even "Muslims guilty of [unorthodoxy] could and should be killed."  The royal family of Saud now rules Saudi Arabia by having slaughtered thousands of [Islamic] Shi'ites and Sufis (and Sunnis) in their quest to turn the region into a Wahhabi theocracy. [1]

[Stephen Schwartz goes into additional detail in his article, "Ground Zero and the Saudi Connection." (2)  Note the date on the article (10/7/2001).  Is anyone listening?]

A fundamental key to the Saudi theocracy is, however, that not only does the Saudi royal family brainwash or otherwise educate their citizens in Wahhabism, these royals are also exporting Wahhabism's puritanical, radically intolerant, and no-holds-barred-kill-the-infidels' message to the rest of the Muslim world.  Parts of this indoctrination include: 1) the idea that a Muslim is automatically a better human being -- an ironic reference to certain aspects of Judaism -- 2) bombing bars and beating women who go out without being fully covered -- the basic Taliban technique -- and 3) asking Allah to destroy all infidels -- i.e., anyone who is not an orthodox Wahhabi.

In all respects, the evidence strongly suggests Saudi Arabia is exporting terrorism to the world via financial and other support, and by indoctrination -- "poisoning the youth" -- of everyone under their influence.  The message is a simple one: "Death to the Infidel."

Which brings us to Bushism.  What is the Bush Administration doing about this?  Basically nothing.  One conservative foreign-policy analyst at the U.S. State Department has said, "You put [the Saudi's] on notice that this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable.  You can break off diplomatic relations, you can impose economic sanctions, and you have, ultimately, the option of seizing the oil fields militarily if you have to."  Vice-President Cheney, however, seems less inclined toward such drastic action.  He may recall the embargo of oil sales to the U.S. in 1973.  Or he may simply be protecting Halliburton's financial interests in Saudi Arabia.

The nature of Oil Wars, however, is such that as a form of diplomacy these wars do not provide unconditional guarantees.  The United States, Britain and other Western nations have not been loath to impose new governments on former friends (e.g. 1950s Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, et al) – especially those so-called friends who are not exactly toeing the line with respect to variations in political reality.  With Iraq’s potential to provide oil (with Afghanistan as a back up), any threat of an embargo by Saudi Arabia is likely to become an empty, futile, and very dangerous gesture. 

The presence of an American/British army on Saudi Arabia’s doorstep – and the demonstrated ability of this same army to very quickly acquire and assume operational control over another nation’s oil fields – would suggest that an incursion into Saudi Arabia (while the U.S. just happens to be in the neighborhood) is a likely possibility.  It might even be thought of as a media event worthy of an election year – perhaps even more than the symbolic one alluded to in Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows.  It's not like Halliburton and Vice-President Cheney can't make money refurbishing the Saudi oil fields (paid for by the American government -- eventually perhaps by the Saudis).

It is probably also noteworthy that in the immediate aftermath of 9-11-2001, when there was worldwide sympathy for America [3], President George Bush ignored the opportunity to unite the world against a common enemy by not addressing the issue of Saudi complicity in the attacks.  With 15 of 19 hijackers Saudi nationals, there was an obvious link -- as opposed to the total lack of evidence for a link between the attacks and Saddam Hussein and/or Iraq.

In effect, the Bush Administration is loath to challenge the Saudis because of the many and varied personal -- and extremely lucrative -- connections between the Saudis and the Bushites.

A complementary idea is that Bush's neo-conservative friends have a certain empathy for attempting to impose one's radical -- theological or otherwise -- on the rest of the world.

Either way the Bush/Saudi links to 9-11-2001 are intolerable.


The Mother of All Battles         LIHOP         The War on Terrorism is Bogus

Free Speech         Homeland InSecurity         9-11-2001

Preemptive Rule and/or State of the Union

Justice, Order, and Law

Forward to:

Buy One, Get One Free         Oil Wars         Bush Wars         War Wars


[1] http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101030915/story.html, Lisa Beyer and Scott MacLeod, "Inside the Kingdom", Time Magazine, September 15, 2003.

[2] http://www.shianews.com/hi/articles/politics/0000140.php

[3] http://www.msnbc.com/modules/exports/ct_email.asp?/news/963859.asp


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