Is Saudi Arabia next?

Den Beste makes a case for focusing on Saudi Arabia next in the war on terror. The rationale is based on evidence that al Qaeda drew much of its' funding from the Saudis.

He makes a logical argument, but I do not agree for several reasons.

It is a mistake to look at the Saudis in a black and white prism. During the 91 Gulf War they were excellent allies. Of the Arab states who participated, they were the only one who made a material contribution to the war effort. They did so with bases, troops, planes and money. Their reluctance to take on Saddam in Gulg War II is probably drawn more from latent pan arabism than from any sympathy for the former dictator.

Saudi Arabia is currently going through the process of reevaluating its relationship with the Whabbis. Several clerics have been fired for preaching jihad. The attacks in Riyadh were a big mistake for the Islamist. The crackdown on their ranks has been significant.

The Saudis still have their faults. They are blind to the self destructive nature of the Palestinians. Their schools and media still spout libelous falsehoods about Israel and the Jews. On the otherhand, Saudi Arabia has indicated it will recognize Israel once the Palestinian issue is settled. It would be settled much quicker if they reconized the importance of destroying Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizballah, etc. At this point they still show far too much sympathy for these groups that are preventing a Palestinian homeland, because they want to destroy Israel.

There is also the significant problem of Saudi funding of al Qaeda. The Saudis have shown some progress in this area, and became even more aggressive after the Riyadh bombing. They need to do more. If members of the Royal family were involved, they need to be dealt with.

The threat posed by Saudi Arabia, is less imminent than the threat posed by Iran and North Korea. The Saudis also have a dialog with the US that may eventually lead to continued work on their problems. There is no hope of such a dialog with Iran and North Korea.


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