Here’s a very informative article about that good ally of ours, Saudi Arabia.
– Saudi Arabia’s Myth of Moderation. Excerpts:
Despite the evidence linking Saudi Arabia to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the Bush administration consistently downplays or ignores these reports. Conversely, it plays up every scrap of evidence implicating Iran, a longtime target that President George W. Bush famously counted in the “axis of evil” with Hussein’s Iraq and North Korea.
If the full story of Saudi interference in Iraq were ever told, however, the Bush administration would have a much harder time selling the American people on the $20 billion arms sale.
The Saudi connection to the Iraqi violence also would trash the administration’s favored narrative that blames outside forces – al-Qaeda, Iran and Syria – for most of the trouble.
The Iraq Study Group, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, concurred, stating that Saudis “are funding Sunni Arab insurgents.”
Besides cash, Saudi manpower has been vital to the insurgents. Since the 2003 invasion, various press accounts have reported that the majority of non-Iraqi Arabs fighting alongside Iraqi insurgents or acting as suicide bombers are Saudis.
To rally recruits to the insurgents’ jihad (or holy war), Saudi clerics, all of whom are on the government payroll, have issued fatwas (religious directives) in Saudi mosques and through the media from 2003 to the present.
The clerics exhort the faithful to go to Iraq to fight infidels, a word that refers to Western military forces, Shiites and anyone who doesn‘t believe in the Salafi (or Wahabi) extreme branch of Islam. The most famous fatwa was signed by 26 senior Saudi clerics in November 2004.
Most Saudi clerics support jihad openly. “If suicide bombers target Saudi Arabia, the clerics call them terrorists,” said Ali Al-Ahmad, director of the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs. “If they target infidels in Iraq, the clerics say it’s the right thing to do.“
Rather than punish the 26 clerics, the government rewarded them, Ahmad said, promoting several and giving one cleric four weekly television shows on four different Saudi stations.
There is a lot more good information in the article. Worth reading.
Now that I’ve read my own blog post, allow me to clarify that the introductory line of this post is sarcastic, and that I’m not a big fan of Saudi Arabia’s government, politics, or ruling family.