July 26, 2007


U.S. officials voice frustrations with Saudis, citing role in Iraq (This article was reported by Helene Cooper, Mark Mazzetti and Jim Rutenberg, and written by Ms. Cooper., July 26, 2007, NY Times)

During a high-level meeting in Riyadh in January, Saudi officials confronted a top American envoy with documents that seemed to suggest that Iraq's prime minister could not be trusted.

One purported to be an early alert from the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr warning him to lie low during the coming American troop increase, which was aimed in part at Mr. Sadr's militia. Another document purported to offer proof that Mr. Maliki was an agent of Iran.

The American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, immediately protested to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, contending that the documents were forged. But, said administration officials who provided an account of the exchange, the Saudis remained skeptical, adding to the deep rift between America's most powerful Sunni Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, and its Shiite neighbor, Iraq.

Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia's counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, "That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not."

Senior Bush administration officials said the American concerns would be raised next week when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates make a rare joint visit to Jidda, Saudi Arabia.

This comes perilously close to apprehending the War.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 26, 2007 8:52 PM

I'm pretty sure the 9/11 hijackers were not Iranian.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 26, 2007 10:10 PM

And I'm pretty sure that OBL deliberately stacked as many Saudis onto his 9/11 team as he could in an effort to prod his far enemy into doing his dirty work for him by destroying his near enemy, so that he could then swoop in and pick up the pieces.

This in no way negates the villainy of the House of Saud of course; just puts OBL's motives into context.

Posted by: ras at July 26, 2007 11:48 PM

You work with what you have.

Posted by: oj at July 27, 2007 6:47 AM

Well, I'm sure the Saudi royal family wouldn't like the US govt. agreeing with OBL about their hypocrisies, large and small.

Posted by: ratbert at July 27, 2007 12:51 PM