- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 27, 2002

When ailing Saudi King Fahd decamped from a Geneva clinic where he had spent the last two months, no less than 12 large jet aircraft, including a hospital jumbo, were required to move him and his entourage to one of his summer palaces at Marbella, Spain. Local shopkeepers were gleeful. Marbella's chamber of commerce estimates the royal household drops $80 million a week on hotels and designer knickknacks.
For King Fahd, suffering from multiple life-threatening ailments, the growing tumult surrounding the House of Saud and its relationship with the U.S. was not his principal concern. But the hundreds of royal relatives and courtiers, glued to their TV sets in the posh resort's five-star establishments, watched with growing horror as prominent American talking heads described their kingdom as "no friend of the U.S." that was the polite version and as an "adversary," or even an "enemy.
The loud bang that triggered the anti-Saudi avalanche was a Rand Corp. briefing for the defense secretary's private think tank the Defense Policy Board that described Saudi Arabia as "a kernel of evil" involved at every level of the transnational terrorist food chain. Unless the Saudis clean up their act, the briefer suggested, the U.S. should consider moving in militarily to take over the Saudi oil fields.
The problem with the briefing was that the briefer was a resident French alien, and a long-time follower of Lyndon LaRouche, the paranoid conspiracy theorist and perennial candidate for the presidency of the United States. By his own admission, Laurent Murawiec, the Rand briefer, doesn't know the Middle East. Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle, a senior think-tanker at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official during the Reagan years, had introduced him.
For 10 years, Mr. Murawiec, had worked as the German-based correspondent of Mr. LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review, an anti-Semitic potpourri of disinformation, factoids, rumor, gossip, loony tunes and an occasional fact.
To his credit, Mr. Murawiec objected to the March 1986 publication of a EIR special report titled, "Moscow's Secret Weapon: Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Mafia." He continued working for EIR till 1990, but as an anti-LaRouche mole. Mr. Perle organized his U.S. debut at AEI in 1999. EIR now describes Mr. Murawiec as "a pathetic, broken, babbling turncoat." That is probably a badge of honor when it comes from an organization that claims the Queen of England and the Rothschilds control the illicit narcotics traffic in the U.K.
Rand quickly denied it had anything to do with their analyst's briefing. Henry Kissinger, who was present at the briefing, was the only member of the Rumsfeld panel to object. Did anyone actually buy into the Gallic recipe for setting fire to the Middle East? Listening to some of the members talking off the record, it now emerges that a number of geopolitical luminaries liked what they heard. "There's no harm in rattling the Saudi cage," said one privately. "Got to keep the Saudis guessing about our intentions," said another.
Kenneth Adelman, a former Reagan arms controller, and one of the world's leading Shakespearean scholars his consultancy company is called Movers & Shakespeareans is a member of the Defense Policy Board but was not present for Mr. Murawiec's sortie in July. On C-SPAN (Aug. 21), Mr. Adelman, speaking matter-of-factly, almost insouciantly, said Saudi Arabia is "a terribly barbaric society at the bottom of the human-rights list, worst of the worst, along with North Korea."
The Saudis didn't wait for a multitrillion- (not billion-) dollar lawsuit against Saudi institutions and charities and three members of the royal family, filed by families of the victims of September 11, to start pulling out some of the estimated $600 billion they have invested in the U.S.
Already long forgotten is Crown Prince Abdullah's peace plan for Israel. Looming larger these days is the Saudi refusal to let the U.S. use its Saudi bases, first for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and now for an attack against Iraq. As a result, the U.S. is spending more than $4 billion for alternative facilities across the border in the mini-state of Qatar.
The Pentagon is also readying plans to move out some 6,000 military personnel from the kingdom and revert to an "over-the-horizon" presence with aircraft carriers. "Why should we keep troops there to defend the Saudis?" Mr. Adelman asked. "Makes no sense."
The only reason they are still there is as additional insurance for the Saudi regime. The Saudis are not on the same sheet; they think they're doing the U.S. a favor by letting the military stay.
The U.S. has also moved swiftly to reduce dependence on Saudi oil. Almost unnoticed, the U.S. now gets only 8 percent of its oil needs from the kingdom.
September 11 revealed an ugly House of Saud secret. The scheme was brilliant in its simplicity. Saudi's fanatical Wahhabi clergy was allocated untold billions during the past 20 years to turn the Koran into a book of holy war against the U.S. and Israel and spread its teachings in mosques and Koranic schools in much of Asia, Africa, Western Europe and North America. In return, the Saudi clergy agreed to keep the 25,000-strong royal family out of its crosshairs. What the House of Saud still can't accept is that it has sown the seeds of its own destruction. It is now reassessing its strategic relationship with the U.S.
Washington's reassessment of that relationship started after September 11. It is now almost complete.

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