FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Osama Phones Home

by ROBERT FISK

Osama bin Laden has an awful lot of friends in Saudi Arabia. In the mosque, among the disenchanted youth, among the security forces, even–and this is what the West declines to discuss–within the royal family.

Saudi ambassadors routinely dismiss these facts as “unfounded”, but Sunday’s attack in the capital, Riyadh, is part of a growing insurrection against Bin Laden’s enemies in the House of Saud.

Whether or not the bombers were Saudi security force members–they were certainly wearing Saudi military uniforms–the Riyadh Government’s own “war on terror” is now provoking bombings, gun battles and killings almost every day in the kingdom.

The enemies of the House of Saud want to make the kingdom ungovernable–just as America’s enemies in Iraq want to make its occupation ineffective. Iraqis are still the principal victims of the bombings in Baghdad, just as Saudis were the principal victims on Sunday.

Clearly, after years of procrastination, the Saudi authorities are passing on some of their own intelligence to the US. For once, the latest warning from Washington–that al Qaeda’s next attack was moving from the “theoretical” to the “operational” stage was spot on the mark.

But the Saudi royal family–that part still desperate for US assistance–provided plenty of reasons during the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq for their Arab enemies to attack them.

For although they publicly said the US would not use Saudi military facilities during the war, they allowed the Americans to direct 2700 air sorties a day from the Prince Sultan Air Base–far more damagingly, they gave secret permission for 200 US aircraft at the base to fly 700 combat missions over Iraq daily.

The Jordanians suspect the bombing of their embassy in Baghdad was retaliation for a secret military operation in which 26 US F/A-18 fighter bombers flew missions from a Jordanian air base to bomb Iraqi air force facilities possibly able to fire missiles at Israel.

So, Crown Prince Abdullah, the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, must be feeling some frightening winds blowing across the Saudi desert. For Bin Laden’s aim to destroy the royal family is shared by the American right wing.

When Laurent Murawiec, friend of the then US defence policy board chairman Richard Perle, gave his odd but damning assessment of Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the US and the “Kernel of Evil”, he might have been Bin Laden spokesman.

Murawiec, who works with the Rand corporation and has been an executive editor of Executive Intelligence Revue presented a slide show to the Pentagon last year with titles that included “taking ‘Saudi’ out of Arabia”.

He claimed that since 1745, 58 per cent of all Saudi rulers had met a violent demise, that other Arabs consider Saudis “lazy, overbearing, dishonest, corrupt” and that they are “active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheer leader.”

A suspicion persists in Washington that the Saudi royal family is still trying to compromise with the country’s religious hierarchy and its al Qaeda enemies. And Bin Laden’s messages are still laced with venom for the House of Saud. Indeed, his original aim is to do what Murawiec demanded: to take the “Saudi” out of Arabia.

Could the Americans sit back and watch al Qaeda take over the nation’s oil wells? There are those in the House of Saud who fear that now the US is in Iraq, it can–in the event of a revolution–just seize the oil fields in northern Saudi Arabia, leaving Riyadh and other cities to whichever Arabian ruler takes control.

ROBERT FISK is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s hot new book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

 

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

February 22, 2018
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail