August 15, 2002


Saudi Arabia gives US the cold shoulder (Michael Evans, August 15, 2002, Times of London)
RELATIONS between the United States and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated so far that the Saudi Arabians are no longer considered allies, senior diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, once the indispensable cornerstone of US policy in the Arab world, has refused to co-operate with the war on terrorism or support President Bush’s plans to overthrow President Saddam Hussein. According to the sources, it has handed over no Intelligence of any value about the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, which has roots in Saudi Arabia.

The final “stab in the back” for Washington was the decision to ban American bombers from attacking Iraq from Saudi airbases. That has soured relations to such an extent that the country from which America launched its 1991 invasion of Iraq is now being excluded from discussions about a post-Saddam era.

Even Syria, which in public is opposed to an attack on Iraq and has been engaged in trade and arms deals with Baghdad, is talking secretly to the Americans and the British about the role that Damascus may play in the region if Saddam is overthrown. A Syrian delegation is understood to have had discussions with British officials in London this week.

British diplomatic sources said that the Saudi ruling elite was immersed in a “dynastic battle” and was so concerned about survival that the key figures were afraid of taking any decision that would be interpreted by the people as being pro-Western and anti-Arab. It had become increasingly difficult to find anyone with sufficient clout and influence in Riyadh “to talk about anything”. [...]

“There may be no political decision yet, but militarily the US has made enough preparations to attack Iraq any time, without using any facilities in Saudi Arabia, other than Saudi airspace. It is assumed that the Saudis would not go as far as denying over-flight rights,” the sources said.

At the end of the day is there any difference between being an enemy and acting like one? Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2002 9:14 AM
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