Washington-Riyadh Stand Off

December 1, 2002
In line with its carrot and stick policy the United States has been trying to woo t he support of its allies for its energy war against Iraq.

Wherever possible Washington has used its carrot to woo other countries, but since the war has become almost ideological, it is difficult to win the support of all regional countries as easily as it did during the second Persian Gulf War.

Washington and Riyadh have been at loggerhead for sometime due to Riyadh's relative inflexibility on the energy war. Washington has resorted to all the leverage at its disposal, including dispatching a special envoy, to convince Riyadh to join the anti-Iraq war, but Riyadh has thus far declined.

Some reports even indicate that the commander of U.S. forces in the region, General Tommy Franks, failed in his trip to the region to win Saudi support for the U.S. war against Iraq. It is not necessary here to mention that Saudi Arabia has one of the best-equipped bases in the region.

Finally, the United States tried to intimidate Saudi Arabia through a propaganda war, which included accusations that the Saudi government and its diplomats in the United States supported Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.

In a report released recently, the FBI accused the wife of Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Washington Bandar ibn Sultan of rendering financial support to the terrorists, which Saudi Arabia rejected categorically.

The Americans were caught by surprise when Prince Walid ibn Talal, an influential Saudi figure and one of the richest Saudi citizens who has invested about $20 billion in American banks, threatened to withdraw Saudi capital from the United States and announced that the main problem in U.S.-Saudi relations was the issue of Israel.

Saudis have indeed touched the soft underbelly of the United States. They must not surrender and must coordinate their efforts with other regional countries to use their oil, petrodollars, and other leverage to take care of their own interests and those of other Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia is doing well. It must be kept up.

After the resumption of a new wave of U.S. propaganda attacks against Saudi Arabia, Prince Al-Walid bin Talal once again on November 29 threatened to withdraw Saudi Arabian investments from the U.S. Talal said accusing the Saudi Arabian royal family of financially supporting terrorists is a mistake which is aimed at sullying U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations.

At the end of the day, the U.S. must decide if it really wants to alienate all the countries of the world and sacrifice even its own national interests in favor of the Zionist regime's interests or whether it wants to adopt a more logical policy.