- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2002

As President Bush prepares for the visit of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, the administration must free itself from the platitudes and talking points ordinarily used to describe the "strength" of U.S.-Saudi relations. For the reality is that aside from radical states like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Cuba few regimes have done more to undermine American foreign-policy interests in recent years than the regime in Saudi Arabia. The malevolent Saudi approach to Middle East peace was on display Sunday, when Mr. Abdullah's foreign-policy adviser, Adel Al-Jubeir, sought to justify Arab terrorism and Saudi anti-Semitism on NBC television's "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert.

Mr. Russert peppered Mr. Al-Jubeir with tough questions. He reminded him that the Saudi ambassador to Britain recently published a poem praising Palestinian suicide bombers, writing that they had "died to honor My God's word." The ambassador further declared that the White House is "filled with darkness." Mr. Russert wanted to know whether the envoy had been recalled or reprimanded. Mr. Al-Jubeir merely replied that the ambassador, who represents a dictatorship, royal or not, that harshly represses dissent at home, was speaking in a "personal" capacity. Asked how he squared his expressed desire for "peace" with the recent Saudi telethon that raised $92 million for families of Palestinian "martyrs," including the families of suicide bombers, Mr. Al-Jubeir brazenly denied that his government supported suicide bombers and declared that the Saudis opposed "the killing of innocent lives." He declined even to say whether suicide bombers were murderers. "Palestinians are desperate," he said. "They're taking desperate measures." Mr. Al-Jubeir also indicated that he couldn't say that suicide bombings "are correct or not correct."

Any "desperation" the Palestinians feel is the result of the behavior of Arab dictatorships like Mr. Al-Jubeir's government in Saudi Arabia. Had they not attacked and sought to destroy Israel in 1948, there would never have been a Palestinian refugee problem. Had the Saudis been willing to use some of their petro-dollars to resettle Arab refugees instead of inculcating them with hatred and leaving them to rot in fetid refugee camps, peace with Israel would have become a reality long ago.

The lot of any Saudi government spinner has to be pretty miserable these days. No sane person could enjoy having to go on American television knowing he'll be peppered with nasty questions, such as, why were 15 of the 19 hijackers who struck the United States on September 11 Saudi nationals?

Here's a related matter Mr. Bush might want to ask Mr. Abdullah about when they get together: The German newspaper Die Welt has reported that Saudi Arabia financed the escape of 4,000 agents of Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan to Lebanon, and has offered $5,000 for each al Qaeda member who resettles in the West Bank or Gaza. Is this the latest Saudi contribution to the famous "peace process"?

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide