Thursday, April 28, 2005

Isn't it romantic?

Many blogs and other sites have shown their disgust at this series of pictures of President Bush getting, um, chummy with the Saudi dictator Crown Prince Abdullah. I gotta agree; here is the government that is at the very least partially responsible for 9/11 and it sure appears that Bush is still bending over backwards to not offend these murderers and bankrollers of terror.

2005_04_25 - bush-abdullah2.jpg

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This is especially bad in light of these latest revelations (not surprising revelations, but always shocking) that the Saudi chief justice is encouraging Arabs to kill Americans:

Is Saudi Arabia an ally or enemy of the United States in the war on terror?

The question is raised with the disclosure of secretly recorded comments from the kingdom's chief justice encouraging young Saudis to travel to Iraq to wage war against Americans.

Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan (NBC News)

"If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so," says Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan in Arabic on the October audiotape from a government mosque, obtained by NBC News.

While Luhaidan warns Iraq is risky because "evil satellites and drone aircraft" watch the borders, he stresses making the trip to fight Americans is religiously permissible.

"The lawfulness of his action is in fighting an enemy who is fighting Muslims and came for war," says Luhaidan.

"This statement shows the real face of the Saudi government," Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed of the Washington-based Saudi Institute told NBC, noting Saudi officials, including Luhaidan, publicly oppose holy war in Iraq, but send a different message in private.

"He is telling Saudis it's OK to go to Iraq and kill Americans and Iraqis and they won't be punished for doing that," says Al-Ahmed.

When a Saudi spokesman denied the authenticity of the tape, the network contacted Luhaidan himself in Saudi Arabia to play the tape.

"Yes, this is my voice," the sheik confirmed in Arabic.

But Luhaidan said he meant to convey the message that it's "not worth it for young Saudis to go to Iraq and that the Iraqis are capable of fighting on their own," according to NBC.

The revelations on the tape come the same week Saudi Arabia's crown prince met with President Bush in Texas to discuss oil-related and economic issues, and extremism was also said to be discussed.

Last month, responding to a report revealing Saudi exportation of religious extremism to the U.S., 15 senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the Bush administration take stronger action against Riyadh.

New York Democrat Charles Schumer was among the signers of the letter, which called for the U.S. to define its relationship with Saudi Arabia more clearly.

Schumer stated: "It is a massive contradiction that a country we call an ally could be both so regressive in their own country and so brazen in its propagation of anti-American, anti-women, anti-Semitic books, publications, and practices. American security is undermined as the Saudi government exports these hateful commodities to millions beyond its borders, planting the seeds for new generations of terrorists and totalitarian Wahhabi leaders."

It is a very sad state of affairs when the Democrats make more sense about an aspect of foreign policy than the Bush administration. And in regards to energy policy (which is, in reality, a defense policy), the US has dropped the ball big-time. It is hard to escape the thought that Bush has a sweet spot for Arab oil oligarchs, and this is blinding him from the conclusion that the US needs a Manhattan project for alternate energy sources, that could eliminate any need for Arab oil within ten years - not only energy independence for the US but for Europe and other Western nations as well.

UPDATE: Friends of Micronesia adds some good links and observations.

UPDATE2: Apparently, His Royal Highness' entourage includes a wanted terrorist.

CRAWFORD, United States (AFP) - A member of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz's delegation was denied entry into the United States after authorities found he was on a government "watch" list, a US official said.

click here

The US Department of Homeland Security, in a routine check of the delegation passenger manifest, found that one traveller was on a government list meant to screen out possible terrorists, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"This information was shared with our interagency partners, including the State Department," the official said. "My understanding is that the State Department denied that person a visa and so they did not enter the country."

The official could not confirm whether the person was a reporter or a Saudi official or even what nationality the person was, but another US official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was a Saudi.

The second official also said the individual's name had appeared on a US government "watch" list.