The Iraq War’s Unintended Consequences

Saudi Royals Snub Bush, Fund Opposition to U.S. Troops
By Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere, New America Media
Dec 21, 2006, 06:58

Saudi Arabia, fearful of a nuclear Iran and a Shiite Iraq, is taking steps to influence U.S. policy in Iraq. The kingdom may also be building its own nuclear program.

Early in November, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, in a memo leaked to the press recommended that Saudi Arabia play a leadership role in talks about Iraq’s future. But even before the memo landed on Bush’s White House desk, the Saudis were positioning themselves to directly influence strategy in Iraq:

  • While the debate about negotiating with the Iranians and the Syrians raged in America’s leading circles, Vice President Dick Cheney flew to Riyadh for talks. Topic of conversation? The safety of Iraq’s Sunni minority should American forces disengage. Simply put: the king read the riot act to the vice president.
  • A few weeks later the Iraq Study Group asserted that Saudi private citizens, and probably a few members of the Saudi royal family, have been financing the Sunni opposition in Iraq all along. This is the same opposition that is targeting U.S. troops. Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah confirmed that his loyalty must lie with Iraq’s Sunni tribal chiefs, even if his support also helps insurgents who have been fighting Americans and the Brits.
  • Early in November, the Saudis announced their intention to build a $10 billion wall (give or take a few billion) on the border with Iraq, with Raytheon as the top bidder. Raytheon, one of America’s premier weapons manufacturers, has close ties to the neocons, including Richard Armitage, former undersecretary of state and Sean O’Keefe, secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. Raytheon’s stock price is hovering near a seven-year high.

The Saudis are clear about their bottom line: If the United States isn’t careful about withdrawing from Iraq, the Sunni kingdom will have no other choice but to arm Iraqi’s Sunnis, especially if the Saudi’s arch-rival, Iran, which has already destabilized the regional power equilibrium by launching a nuclear program, rushes into a military vacuum left by the Americans.

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