Friday, May 27, 2005

King Fahd

The UPI is reporting King Fahd has been dead since Wednesday.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May. 27 (UPI) -- Reliable sources in the Saudi capital Riyadh said Friday King Fahd is dead, reports the Saudi Institute. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has been dead since late Wednesday, according to several well-placed sources in the capital Riyadh who spoke to the Saudi Institute, a pro-democracy think tank in Washington, on condition of anonymity. The government also canceled all military leave, "a sure sign that something is happening," said the Saudi Institute.

The Saudi King has been in poor health for some time. Whether or not he is dead now he cannot be expected to live much longer. A background interview in Front Page argues that Saudi Arabia is in a crisis stemming directly from misrule by the Saudi Royal house, against which the US has been reluctant to move for fear that it would raise oil prices and upset a plethora of financial deals. The aftermath of King Fahd's stroke in 1995 provoked the same strange cancellation of military leave and strange comings and goings that mark recent events. Robert Baer recalled:

If I had to pick a single moment when the House of Saud truly began to fall apart, it would be when Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's son Fahd, who has been king since 1982, suffered a near fatal stroke, in 1995. As soon as the royal family heard about Fahd's stroke, it went on high alert. From all over Riyadh came the thump-thump of helicopters and the sirens of convoys converging on the hospital where Fahd had been taken. ...

The arrivals included all the pretenders and court jesters of the Saudi Royal house, including an assortment of fixers, expatriate wastrels and plain wastrels, in which the least colorful was a prince who rode "a Harley-Davidson inside his father's palace, chasing servants and smashing furniture".

At this point Fahd's brothers were calling doctors in the United States and Europe. They wanted to know not whether Fahd would ever recover his mental capacities, or what kind of life he would be able to live, but what it would take to keep his heart beating and his body warm. Money, of course, wasn't a problem. ... The doctors couldn't understand the reasoning behind the questions--but only because they didn't understand the politics of the kingdom. What the family knew and the doctors didn't was that Crown Prince Abdullah had long been eager to take power. The only way to keep him at bay was to keep Fahd alive--God willing, until Abdullah died.

Abdullah eventually ascended to become the power behind the throne, but Fahd's death or imminent demise now raises the question of who will occupy it permanently. The failure of US policy toward Saudi Arabia was recently the subject of a symposium featuring Daniel Pipes, Michael Ledeen, Stephen Schwartz -- none of them liberals. Bottom line: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never been a 'friend'" but America pretends otherwise. A sample of the symposium is shown below:

Do you think American policymakers have dealt competently with the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)?

Pipes: No, I can think of no country where American interests are less well upheld than with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi ambassador to Washington in part once explained why: "If the reputation . . . builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office," Bandar bin Sultan said, "you'd be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office." In part, the lack of assertiveness results from the phenomenon so well described by a former U.S. ambassador to Riyadh: "it's amusing to see how some Americans liquefy in front of a foreign potentate, just because he's called a prince."

Ledeen: No, both because we have failed to insist on liberalization of the kingdom — it was only a matter of time before we turned on a regime that oppressed women and forbade the practice of western religions even on our own bases and in our own embassies — and because our diplomats somehow failed to notice that the Saudis were creating a global network of extremist schools and mosques, dedicated to the destruction of the Western world. That strikes me as perhaps the greatest of all the celebrated intelligence failures leading up to 9/11.

Schwartz: The failure of U.S. officials to recognize the true nature of Wahhabi-Saudi totalitarianism represents the biggest and worst failure in the entire history of American foreign relations.

A warm mantle of protection was thrown over the Kingdom by oil companies and influential persons from both parties eager to be in the good graces of the Saudi Royal House once they had returned to "private life"; it was a mantle only barely ruffled by 9/11. Baer recalls:

As for the CIA, the Agency let the State Department take the lead and decided simply to ignore Saudi Arabia. The CIA recruited no Saudi diplomats to tell us, for instance, what the religious-affairs sections of Saudi embassies were up to. The CIA's Directorate of Intelligence avoided writing national intelligence estimates--appraisals, drawn from various U.S. intelligence services, about areas of potential crisis--on Saudi Arabia, knowing that such estimates, especially when negative, have a tendency to find their way onto the front pages of U.S. newspapers, where they might have an undesired effect on public opinion. The CIA's line became the same as State's: There's no need to worry about Saudi Arabia and its oil reserves. No need to worry, of course, means business as usual--and for decades now that's meant that almost every Washington figure worth mentioning has been involved with companies doing major deals with Saudi Arabia.

The sentiments were echoed in the Pipes-Ledeen-Schwartz symposium. America buried its head in the sand of Saudi money.

Mr. Pipes notes that he can think of "no country where American interests are less well upheld than with Saudi Arabia." What does all of this say about a part of the American character?

Schwartz: There is a simple explanation and it has nothing to do with the American character or culture. It has to do with the failure of U.S. antitrust policy to effectively control the Standard Oil successors, ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco above all. Big Oil has protected the Wahhabi-Saudi dictatorship for 65 years. This is not the fault of ordinary American citizens. But if anybody besides the executives of Big Oil bears responsibility for the problem, it would be the political leaders who identified the affairs of Big Oil with the business of the U.S. government.

Baer, no admirer of GWB, puts matters bluntly:

Washington's answer for Saudi Arabia--apart from repeating that nothing is wrong--is to suggest that a little democracy will cure everything. ... It's utter nonsense, of course. If an election were held in Saudi Arabia today ... and if people could vote their hearts without fear of having their heads cut off afterward in Chop-Chop Square, Osama bin Laden would be elected in a landslide--not because the Saudi people want to wash their hands in the blood of the dead of September 11, but simply because bin Laden has dared to do what even the mighty United States of America won't do: stand up to the thieves who rule the country.

The death of King Fahd -- which cannot now be long delayed -- brings America and the world to a crucial fork in the road. As Dr. McCoy once put it, "he's dead, Jim". Or soon will be.

76 Comments:

Blogger Doug said...

"The arrivals included all the pretenders and court jesters of the Saudi Royal house, including an assortment of fixers, expatriate wastrels and plain wastrels, in which the least colorful was a prince who rode "a Harley-Davidson inside his father's palace, chasing servants and smashing furniture"
---
I really don't see the need to publish such rubbish, the obvious intent of which is to embarrass.
I have been privileged to be in the presence of women who carry themselves with a most princely air, even if they are but 1 of "several" friends of such royalty.
Luckily, I was not even aware of who I was observing, so my observations were untainted by prejudice, although my attention was drawn to their unusual beachwear.
One rarely saw tall, statuesque women wearing long white robes on the beach, but then one rarely saw such princely yachts among the local rabble, either.
Sometimes these princes have offered to entertain women friends of mine to show their appreciation for their dancing skills.
Alas, these women rejected their offers.
How strange.
Alas also:
Their Royal Yachts have not graced our shores since sometime around the 11th of September, 2001.
Isn't that odd?

5/28/2005 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was also privileged to be involved in some commerce with the subjects of the great Chevron Empire.
They always treated me, my property, and that of my neighbors with the utmost respect.
They were obviously aware of, and used to, unequal positions of power and influence, and used such to the (ir) greatest advantage.

5/28/2005 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In Hawaii, the folks at Chevron are so aware of their great power and influence with the locals and their chosen govt officials that The State represents their greatest US Profit Center.
Luckily also, they have very little competition, and the local laws concerning them and their potential competition are "most favorable."

5/28/2005 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

OTOH, Wretchard, look how the American citizenry react anytime there is even the slightest increase in their gasoline prices. Outrage dominates, and it is directed toward the "profiteering" oil companies and the US Government (and whatever administration is in power)--not against the Saudis. Attempts have been made to wean America off of foreign oil ever since the biggest crises back a few decades ago. But it hasn't happened. We are dealing with an addiction so insidius that most of the American public doesn't even realize it has. Like all addicts, if you make their drug harder to get, they become obsessed even more with getting it, and making sure of continued access and availability.

Another point: look at the outrage from short-sighted environmental groups and negative press (what else is new?) whenever this administration has tried to open up new sources of oil (e.g., Alaska). The solution to the problem of Saudi Arabia must address these issues.

5/28/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger rocketsbrain said...

The chickens are coming home to roost for the House of Saud. The Sauds have lived high on the hog at the expense of the Saudi people.

The House of Saud made a deal with the Devil (Whabbies) to remain in power. They use this cult like religion of Islamofascism to control the people. However they are the biggest hypocrits.

In exchange for support of the Whabbies, the Sauds funded their radical fundamentlistic madrassas all over the world:

Again we will not win the War On Terror while there is a continuing supply of recruits to replace those we eliminate. We can’t fight a war of attrition unless we use overwhelming force to knock out the enemy all at once. This is a war of ideals and we must change our strategy accordingly. We must shut down the terrorist production factories. These are the fundamental schools the Saudis and others have tolerated to remain in power. In the Saudis’ case this is now coming back to haunt them. These schools, program children at a very early age to hate our culture and to adopt without question the ideology of radical Islamic extremism.

Read More

5/28/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger rosignol said...

CNN is reporting that Saudi Officials are saying King Fahd is "in stable condition".

I am surprised that they would use such an ambiguous term.

5/28/2005 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doug, you might want to read an op-ed piece that was printed in ArabNews this past week. It was written by one of their lovely and vivacious princesses who is supposed to be related to the current Fahd in question, as well as being a niece of Bandar. It gives you a peek at the rage and hatred felt by the Saud "elites" against the whole world, but focusing upon Americans -- the same rage and hatred that makes it so uncomfortable and sometimes lethal to be a maid from a powerless Third World country there. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=64357&d=26&m=5&y=2005

I'd also disagree with Dr. Sanity above, who opines that the American public just blames the government for oil prices and the situation in the Middle East. Increasingly, and especially since 9/11, the great American unwashed are aware of Saudi Arabia and how very dangerous that den of vipers is to us. If you Google on Middle East polls, you'll find time after time that a solid majority of Americans have *very* bad opinions of Our Friends the Saudi's -- to the point that a President could invade with impunity and know that the electorate would back him up.

Or, alternatively, he might also consider nuking that big black rock they like to gather and stampede around.

And after either action, stand back and ask the world, "Well?!? Whattya gonna do about it???"

5/28/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The thought that increasingly intrudes itself is to wonder, "If a country's sovereignty is not going to be respected in the War on Terror, why would an individual's bank account be respected if it can be proven that that individual is contributing towards acts of terrorism."

I would love to see a freeze put on the bank accounts of all 5,000 Saud princes and princesses. Leave them whatever they have in the Kingdom, but they're not allowed to touch what's out there in the world.

It seems to me that it would be very difficult for them to claim that all that money is theirs personally and that they worked for it, and not the state's and the citizens of that state.

5/28/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger DaveK said...

Nahncee...

I don't know... I've spent a few years in Saudi Arabia, and I'm not sure that nukes would change much... As you drive across the desert, you can't help but noticing the bleak landscape. There's a lot of the country that really does look like the last significant thing that happend there was a 50 Megaton Airburst.

DRK

5/28/2005 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee,
That url doesn't work, for some reason.
Home page does:
---
Qur’an Was Mishandled, US Finds .
---
WASHINGTON, 28 May 2005 —
The US government has come under fierce criticism regarding mistreatment of the Holy Qur’an at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Pentagon announced...

5/28/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Saleh presented the book to his professor in Utah University where he teaches Journalism at night.. He informed him all the details that captured him while reading the book..

Next morning, his professor “Carl Bensev” came to the university..
He discussed the book in front of his students in the class…
He expressed the unjustified discontent and treatment towards Muslims, Saudis and Arabs all over the states after September’s tragedy.
With a loud angry voice he said: “ Saudis are crying just like us.
Saleh loves us as much as other millions out there !!!

. Arab News

5/28/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Phil Fraering said...

I'd like to chime in on behalf of "Big Oil."

I'm in the American oilfield... I know that the oil companies actually make a much larger profit (and the extraction costs are kept in our economy) from oil extracted in America, than they do reselling OPEC oil, where most of the profits wind up in the Saudi (and other OPEC) government's coffers, even if the extraction costs are lower.

But, as far as I can tell, oil drilling in the US is limited by two things: the threat of being undercut in price by OPEC (which actually happened in the mid-80's, and wiped out the American oilfield, more or less), and the American people, who'd rather buy oil from a religious fanatic prince than have their view spoiled by an offshore oil rig or risk the occasional spill.

It's gotten so bad that it's taken four years after the 9/11 attacks for measures to allow drilling in ANWR to pass.

Ask not who makes the decisions at Big Oil. The decisions are made by you.

5/28/2005 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Anent Doug's comments on Saudi royals: some 35 years ago or so a girl I knew very briefly dated a Saudi "prince" (the very number of "princes" of the House of Saud devalues the term). As she said, it was flattering to be picked up in a Rolls-Royce limo (this in the early '70s when such things were not ubiquitous as they are now) and flattering to be taken to the best restaurant around for a lovely meal, but all that flattery paled when the son of a bitch tried to rape her in said limo and she had to cold cock him with a stiletto-heeled pump.

In another incident, a friend who owned an apartment building rented to Saudi "princes" who (1) built an illegal fire pit in the living room (discovered when the floor collapsed into the apartment below) and (2) defecated in the closets for some months, until the smell became so overpowering that the neighbors complained.

Apparently the apartment was a complete wreck, costing almost $20,000 in 1970's dollars to rehabilitate.

5/28/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

nahncee--I don't disagree with you. 9/11 made people aware of the Middle East role in oil and oil prices, but the predominant attitude continues to be that the government should "do somehting" about oil prices. The principled thing to do would be to confront the Saudis--possibly even break off relations with them, but the truth is that most Americans would go crazy at the consequences that would result in oil prices and availability. It is a political no win situation, it seems to me.
Interestingly I read a rather interesting article the other day that sounds a little bit "out there" and posits that we have let Bin Laden and the Saudis know that any attacks in the US will result in the destruction of Mecca ( George Bush and The Sword of Damocles )

Also, I have some firsthand knowledge of the royal family--having to deal with them as the crew surgeon when one of the princes flew on the Shuttle. This prince told me that many like him (young males in the royal family) go to western countries like the US in order to have more freedom generally, go to school and date girls (and to have sex). He stated he "loved" western women, but would never marry them because they had no morals. I found his attitude rather revolting; but it reflected his fundamental contempt for most western values, while at the same time his fascination with the free lifestyle that comes with those values. I suspect most educated Saudis who have had any contact with the west have similar conflicts.

5/28/2005 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

CatoRenasci said...
"until the smell became so overpowering that the neighbors complained.
"
---
Yet another example of the hatred and cultural insensitivity those poor souls have to put up with.
---
My question is: Was any attempt made to ascertain that the acts you described were actually those of the prince, or just someone else who he was helping through college by generously providing funds?
ie: Sounds like your average University Apartment to me.
That's why they sell insurance.

5/28/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Phil Fraering said...
"I'd like to chime in on behalf of "Big Oil."
...and the American people, who'd rather buy oil from a religious fanatic prince than have their view spoiled by an offshore oil rig or risk the occasional spill.
"
---
One of my favorites was early on in W's Presidency, when he helped out brother Jeb by outlawing drilling in much of the Gulf of Mexico, as I recall.
Then there's the coasts of CA, OR, WA, and, I imagine, AK.
But, why shouldn't the American Public have their SUV's and their Sanctimony too, as long as they are ready, willing, and apparently able, to eat the big weenie too?
...all the while complaining about Big Oil, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, et al.
(I'd still like the Socialist State of Hawaii to allow COSTCO to import Gasoline for the serfs' consumption, however.)

5/28/2005 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Phil Fraering said...

Doug wrote:
One of my favorites was early on in W's Presidency, when he helped out brother Jeb by outlawing drilling in much of the Gulf of Mexico, as I recall.

Well, the Florida bits.

I understand that one of the fields off of Florida straddles the boundary between American waters and Cuban waters. Guess which one is going to actually be drilled into...

5/28/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thhanks for briddoging this, Wretchard! What has me befuddled, though, is the news coverage. No one BUT the UPI is reporting this... everyone else is reporting that Fhad is in "stable condition"... what the hey?

5/28/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

King Fahd is in stable condition following his death in hospital last wednesday.
.

5/28/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tom,
You assume a stable room temperature.
(or, he does and you assume)

5/28/2005 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Phil,
Well, Uncle Fidel does need a source of funds to call on so he can help brother Hugo:
---
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lashed out at President George W. Bush, calling him Mr. Danger and saying wars from Iraq to Colombia show the U.S. government is a menace to the world.
. Mr. Danger: President George W. Bush

5/28/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jeff,
Them aliens get the energy to grab that water off our roads by stealing our electricity!
I figured out how they do it too, without our noticing:
By Induction.

5/28/2005 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I meant to say I *Deduced* how they do it:
But it's a secret.

5/28/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Sounds like your average University Apartment to me."

Hey now, that's a cheap shot. Most of us do know how to get to the bathroom, at least when in a normal state.

5/28/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maryland, is it?
---
You call THAT a normal state?

5/28/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Virginia, actually.

I meant "normal state of mind", a college euphemism for sober.

I can't believe I've dragged down the level of Belmont Club discourse to this. I'll go hide myself in shame to repent.

5/28/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doug - the op-ed I was referring to was in the Thursday edition of ArabNews, and the person's first name is Reem. I would try the link again, but it's probably faster if you just parachute in on your own.

Incidently, I'm also told that there's been systematic grade deflation, so that all the Saudi's who have "degrees" from Western universities can be assumed to be next-best-thing to illiterate. I had noticed that as soon as they return to the Sandbox, any Western booklearning seems to spill out of their ears, and all they're left with is cherry-picked quotations from the Koran.

If the sons of Saudi Arabia are sent to carefully selected American schools and are told to major in Middle-Eastern history, for example, AND if Daddy makes a million dollar donation to that institution, my guess is that Prince al-Whosit's educational standards will be considerably lower than the latest 17-year-old basketball phenom from Compton.

5/28/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I am a Blog virus. Copy me into your blog & link back to the blog you contracted the virus, leaving a comment to link to yourself.

5/28/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Finally, you take aim at our religion by humiliating our beliefs. You abuse our book, use our convictions to torture us and degrade us, disregarding your own laws and religion which is as noble as ours and to which torture and humiliation is anathema.
What were you thinking when you threw the Qur’an in the toilet or when you used religion as a means of torture
?"

. Why Do Americans Hate Muslims? .
---
"So an American asks her why Muslims hate Americans. She responds that Muslims don't hate Americans, then writes an op-ed piece saying Muslims hate Americans because Americans hate Muslims. Can't we all just get along?"
.Opinion Journal

5/28/2005 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I believe that the most significant event in Saudi history, visa-via the USA, was the Prince Sultan Air Base crisis which split the Saudi kingdom and caused pro-western King Fahd into exile (Geneva) for a time. It showed the true nature of a spoiled feuding royal family. The royal family is controlled by Crown Prince Adbullah and his power "National Guard" security apparatus. It also showed that the Saudi are not true friends of the USA. The denial of American use of the Prince Sultan Air Base, which was mostly constructed by Americans, delayed the war on Bin Laden. The below links indicate that ex-soviet republics were more of a help than Saudi Arabia when the going got tough.

I have never been a fan of Saudi Arabia. I would recommend that the Administration take necessary steps to neutralize the anti-western faction in Saudi Arabia. I believe the time is right for a change. I am sure the our intelligence and knows who the are the most virulent Anti-American members are in that "Royal Family."

I will break this post into two parts.

Saudi Problem Part 1.

[Saudis hamper war on Bin Laden]

The United States has delayed the start of its offensive against Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden, in retaliation for the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington, because of a dramatic turnaround of Arab support in the Middle East, DEBKAfile 's Gulf and Washington sources report.
The reason for King Fahd secret exit from Saudi Arabia, followed by a large royal party, is believed by our most reliable sources to be a palace revolution sparked by differences in the royal family over support for the US offensive against Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden's terror network and other rogue targets. King Fahd and his Sudeiri faction, including defense minister Sultan, were in favor of letting the US place assault forces in forward bases on Saudi soil; the conservative, religious Crown Prince Abdullah, who runs the kingdom since King Fahd became ill, overruled him, backed by the religious establishment
.


see: Cached Debka Report

[Ramifications]

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's decision to shut Prince Sultan air base east of Riyadh to US forces - and the manner in which the US evacuation was carried out –are a landmark in the oil kingdom's history. Never before has Saudi Arabia taken sole charge of its own security.
The gesture effectively ditched the US umbrella protecting the kingdom, its oil fields and the royal family for more than 60 years, posing five sensitive questions to be addressed when President George W. Bush and Saudi Crown Abdullah meet at the presidential ranch in Crawford, Texas, on April 24:
1. What happens to the US nuclear umbrella over Saudi Arabia?
2 . Will the United States continue to defend Saudi Arabia's oil fields and pipelines?
3. Will the United States stay on as protector of the House of Saudi from external and internal threat?
4. Will Saudi Arabia take action against the al Qaeda terrorists sheltering in, and operating from, the kingdom since March?
5. Will Riyadh join, or reject, an oil embargo?


see: Debka Saudi Security

[disappointed General]

...Air Force Lt. Gen Charles Wald had been dispatched to the base earlier this week, to take command of US air forces assigned to the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
His mission was to run the air war from the new, sophisticated air base opened this summer, a base linked to Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates and Seeb in the Sultanate of Oman. The Saudi base was also to have been the central command post not only for the 175 aircraft already based in the region for patrolling south Iraq's no-flight zone, but also for directing attacks from other bases in the region in the new war offensive.
When General Wald landed in Saudi Arabia with his top aides on Tuesday, September 18, he was told he had no command base. That was when the feuding inside the royal house over its role in the American war against terrorism reached its climax. The monarch's defeat in the argument inside the palace was apparently the main reason for his abrupt departure the next day, Wednesday, September 19 [2001]
...

see: Cached Debka report 2

[House of Saud in crisis]

...DEBKAfile's Gulf analysts observe that at stake is much more than the present crisis; the orientation of the Saudi throne hangs in the balance. If it were only up to King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz and his brother, defense minister Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, the Americans would be granted the use of the air base without demur. The trouble is that Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz has been running the kingdom for the past two years in view of the king's chronic ill health. A conservative, he stands solidly against giving the Americans the freedom of this forward base for assaults against any Moslem country, partly in deference to the Islamic religious establishment that supports him.
This feud led to a near palace revolution ten days ago and King Fahd's abrupt and secret departure from the kingdom. On September 22, DEBKAfile carried the world exclusive of the Saudi King's landing in Geneva international airport on September 19, accompanied by a royal mobile hospital fitted aboard Boeing 757 HZ-HMED.
Since then, private Saudi planes continue to land in the VIP section of Geneva airport. Another arrival at the end of the week was the Emir of Qatar, Zeid Ibn Sultan el-Nayan.
King Fahd's Swiss lakeside neighbors, in one of the lushest residential areas in the world, are considering suing him under Swiss privacy protection laws, because of the large number of TV security cameras bristling round his 100-room residence and picking up every movement in the entire area.
DEBKAfile's sources believe that the king will stay away from the kingdom until its rulers settle their dispute over whether to permit United States anti-terror forces to operate out of Saudi bases.
According to DEBKAfile 's Gulf sources, that refusal still stands and, given the king's poor health, he may never return home. If Abdullah succeeds to the throne by dint of his stand against supporting the exercise of US military might – backed by his country's clerical leaders
...

see: Cached Debka report 2.a

[Rumsfeld glues things together]

...King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz returned home from his enforced exile in Geneva last Thursday, September 27, mending the rift in the Saudi royal house by lining up with his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah's refusal to grant Washington the use of military bases for attacking any Muslim power.
By giving in, the king may have saved the royal regime from being torn apart on the issue. But he put paid to the moderate Arab support the United States had hoped would be ranged behind its war on terror. The crisis brought US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld hurrying over to Riyadh – to no avail.
(The Bush administration responded to this major blow to its war effort by turning to Moscow and the former Soviet Central Asian republics, as DEBKAfile revealed last week.)
So dense was the cloud of secrecy the princes imposed over the feud that the king's departure for Geneva with all his family and a vast entourage of princes of senior rank, some of them ministers, took place unannounced on September 19 - as revealed exclusively in DEBKAfile on September 22.
Before this crisis, the Americans took it for granted that the Prince Sultan air base near Riyadh was available as their command and control center for running their anti-terror war in the region. They had the king's consent. His abrupt departure left Abdullah, who opposed the king on the issue, calling the shots.
Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, the king's full brother and third in the royal hierarchy, tried to mediate the dispute. According to DEBKAfile's sources, he pointed warningly to the flourishing alliance between Washington and Moscow, highlighted by Russia's permission to grant the Americans the use of military bases in the former Soviet Muslim republics of Central Asia as staging posts for their offensive
...

see: Debka 118

[USA and Saudi Arabia split]

...Riyadh has shown no willingness for compromise - even when the Americans promised to scale down of their military presence in the big Prince Sultan airbase east of Riyadh, after Oman's ruler Sultan Qaboos had agreed to an expanded US presence at the Mesirah air base overlooking the Persian Gulf. (Click here for map.)
In same cases, the Saudi have been downright hostile, taking actions on which the latest issue of DEBKA-Net-Weekly expands:
1. While Americans soldiers are not welcome in Saudi Arabia, at least 4,000 Saudi al-Qaeda fighters have been allowed to return home from the Afghan War in a still continuing stream. After a cursory check at Saudi passport control, most are waved through and allowed to go home to their families. The Saudis reject outright all Washington's requests to detain these arrivals, check their identities or even photograph these suspected al Qaeda fighters.
2. Hundreds of returned Saudi al Qaeda fighters are using their passports to wander round the Middle East on unknown errands. Until now, they usually crossed into the HashemiteKingdom first and continued north into Syria and Lebanon. After a brief stay in Damascus or Beirut, they returned to Saudi Arabia. US and Jordanian sources believe they have found a way to smuggle large quantities of weapons and explosives into Saudi Arabia, or else are performing some other services for al Qaeda. Last week, Jordan sealed its borders with both Saudi Arabia and Syria. The slippery ex-Afghan fighters quickly developed a new route through the Gulf emirates, especially Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, reaching Beirut via Cyprus or direct.
3. Saudi authorities have spurned every request from Washington to plug the outflow of funds through extremist Muslim societies, ostensibly charities, believed to be oiling the al Qaeda escape machinery. They have also refused access to Saudi bank accounts and the records of past fund transfers.
4. Saudi leaders have not only turned thumbs down on a possible full-scale US assault against Iraq; they have welcomed feelers from Baghdad on the resumption of the bilateral ties severed before the 1991 Gulf War and are thinking in terms of a new anti-American bloc that will also embrace Tehran. The formation of this tripartite alliance, still in the future, would seriously complicate US plans for a full-scale offensive against Iraq - or even against any Arab country harboring terrorists, such as Syria and Lebanon.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Middle East experts see the widening US-Saudi rift as generating the emergence of two central Arab blocs: A pro-Washington grouping comprising Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar, grounded in US and Israeli military, economic and intelligence assistance, and a second bloc, made up of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinians and Iraq, as well as some Gulf states
...

See: Debka 127

5/28/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Saudi Problem Part 2:

[Succession to the throne]

...DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources say, is the ballooning crisis presented by the unresolved order of succession to the throne. When ailing King Fahd dies, his accepted heir is Crown Prince Abdullah. But who is next in line as crown prince and heir to the throne?
The candidate accepted by princely consensus till now was the defense minister, Abdullah's half-brother Sultan. But advancing years are a biological bar to his ascent to the throne. Sultan is either the same age as Abdullah, who is 77 or 78, or a year older and not in good health. The House of Saud must therefore look for its next second-in-line to the crown for the first time in the next generation. But before stepping aside, Sultan demands a say in his replacement in the teeth of Abdullah's objections.
The crisis in the Saudi royal family arises out of this battle.
Both elderly princes are marshalling support from the senior ranks of an estimated 10,000 royal princes. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources, foreign minister Saud al-Faisal and his clan have moved into the lead of Abdullah's camp, helping to offset the crown prince's disadvantage as only son of one of the founder's wives, with no full brothers.
Abdullah's second son, Mitab bin Abdullah, 40, is his father's point man in the power struggle. He keeps his finger on the right pulses in Abdullah's main power supports: The officers of the 50,000-man National Guard, of which the Crown Prince is commander in chief; the provincial governors and the tribal chiefs.
His foremost allies are Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdul Aziz, 40 plus, Governor of the Holy City of Mecca, and Prince al-Walid bin Talal, who is rated one of the richest men in the world.
Al-Walid won notoriety by writing a check of $10 m for the victims of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, only to have it rejected by city officials when he demanded a re-assessment of American Middle East policies. Another Saudi mogul, Prince Mashal bin Abdul Aziz, is also a partisan.
However, the defense minister Prince Sultan is thought to be the richest of the senior Saudi princes. He also commands the armed forces, including the air force and military intelligence, a body of men reputed to be 70,000-80,000 strong, compared with Abdullah's slightly smaller National Guard. But his most decisive clout comes from the job he holds as master of the internal multibillion crown fund known as "Prince Oil" which creams off 10-12 percent of the kingdom's oil revenues for allocation to the princes according to rank: top dollar for the princes directly related to the king; next largest stipends for the princes performing jobs and the smallest allocations to all the rest.
The defense minister additionally controls the Supreme Petroleum and Mineral Affairs Council – SPMAC, which puts him in charge of the kingdom's energy infrastructure. He is also believed to take a cut from middlemen in arms transactions for the armed forces, like Khashoggi, and to cash in hugely on advantageous land deals in choice areas.
Sultan is backed up by two internationally prominent sons: Khaled, who commanded the combined allied forces in Gulf War I, and Bandar, the popular Saudi Ambassador to Washington since 1982.Sultan's political orientation is by and large far more pro-Western than the conservative, inward-looking Abdullah
...

See: Debka 134

[Inter-family assignation attempt foiled]

...report of an attempt to murder King Fahd is the talk of the moment in the Gulf. It is claimed that on July 14, the monarch's bodyguard fought off a band of 5 to 7 intruders, who gained entry to the palace courtyard in Jeddah through one of the main gates after setting off a large explosive charge. Three of the would be assassins were killed; the rest fled when armed reinforcements poured in from neighboring princely palaces, together with a contingent of the special Saudi counter-terror force. The bodies were identified as Saudi members of al Qaeda who fought in Afghanistan, escaped through Iran and arrived home last January. The identity of one of the dead assailants seriously heated factional tempers in the royal family; he is said to have been a member of the Wahhabist Uteiba tribe, loyal adherents of crown prince Abdullah...

see: Debka 695


[Prince Sultan Air Base Complications]

...Americans have completed the relocation to Qatar of their biggest Saudi air base at Prince Sultan. With the removal of most of the base's operational elements, Prince Sultan is no longer a part of the American operational deployment in the Persian Gulf and its preparations for war against Iraq.
Abdullah has come out of his initiative's test run damaged rather than strengthened. At home, this weakness was instantly seized upon by his foremost rival, his half-brother, the defense minister Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz, who got his incapacitated full brother King Fahd bin Abdulaziz to rubber stamp a hasty reshuffle at the top of the military.
On March 21, therefore, Lt.-Gen Sultan bin Adi al-Muteiry, former commander of the Saudi ground forces, was appointed to the newly created post of deputy chief of staff of the armed forces; Maj.-Gen Hussein bin Abdullah al-Qbeel, deputy ground forces commander, was promoted to lieutenant general and appointed ground forces commander; and Rear Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah was appointed commander of the Saudi navy, replacing Vice Admiral Talal ibn Salim al Mufadhy.
Sultan controls the regular armed forces, of which the king is ex officio supreme commander, while Crown Prince Abdullah controls the powerful National Guard.
The reshuffle means that the pro-Western Sudeiri branch to which both Fahd and Sultan belong has made a strong bid to strengthen its grip on the military, pulling against Abdullah who is at odds with US policy on Iraq and Islamic terror...


see: Debka 640

5/28/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"1.
While Americans soldiers are not welcome in Saudi Arabia, at least 4,000 Saudi al-Qaeda fighters have been allowed to return home from the Afghan War in a still continuing stream.
After a cursory check at Saudi passport control, most are waved through and allowed to go home to their families.
The Saudis reject outright all Washington's requests to detain these arrivals, check their identities or even photograph these suspected al Qaeda fighters.
2.
Hundreds of returned Saudi al Qaeda fighters are using their passports to wander round the Middle East on unknown errands.
"
---
That's not very pleasant:
Were these reports later confirmed in other publications?

5/28/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I don't know how reliable I'd consider DEBKA, honestly. They don't have the most stellar reputation.

5/28/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Hey, everyone, here's a thought experiment for this Memorial Day weekend:

On a cloud in the Great Begone, Fahd and Zaqawi are waiting in line to talk to Someone...

Perhaps they'll get a two-fer break.

I hope they brought something to read...and that Arafat doesn't try to put in a good word for them.

Are they on speaking terms, do you think?

5/28/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Cutler said...
I don't know how reliable I'd consider DEBKA, honestly. They don't have the most stellar reputation...

Debka has some good calls and some poor calls. What makes these reports seem rocky is the fact they were written days or hours after said events occurred. Hence, there is considerable guess work. But, if you carefully follow the time line you will find Debka got King Fahd's exile to Geneva correct by merely, watching the landing of his Boeing 757 HMED airplane in Geneva's airport (Debka then put that together with the Prince Sultan Air Base crisis that was well published and various military movements).

As for doug's question of the al Queda fighters being admitted back into Saudi Arabia - that fact is not readily varifible (well, at least to the general public, now the CIA may know something).

5/28/2005 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I hope they brought something to read..."
Not to worry, Peter keeps some Pipes pieces around for their ilk.

5/28/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

The Saudi's themselves have admitted the mistake they made in allowing ex-Afghanistan fighters back into the country. It's those guys who've been lurching around blowing this and that up. I hadn't seen the number 4,000 before, however. About every three months, Naif will issue a proclamation that terrorism in the country is completely wiped out ... and these running gun battles in the streets are nothing to worry about.

I hadn't realized that Sultan was so powerful. I don't recall ever having seen his name mentioned in any of the "huzzah!" stories printed in ArabNews.

5/29/2005 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger hollymer said...

Saudi Arabia was created by the British. The oil was found, produced and sold by the British and Americans. These people would still be riding camels from camp to camp if it were not for the West. They talk about their "culture"...name 5 Arab/Muslim Nobel Prize winners, name a major contribution these people have made to world health, education, science. I am very tired of hearing about how we do not respect their "culture". As far as I can see, this "culture" involves killing those who disagree with them and imprisoning women. I had a dinner/date with a Saudi "prince" in the late 80"s. He was fat and had bad knees because he was so fat, and lived in the USA (Atlanta area). These people are hypocritical members of the lucky sperm club and I am very tired of them and their constant whining about respect. Respect must be earned and the only thing they respect is power. We have the power and they hate us. Extreme and as stupid as this will sound, my vote is to nuke Mecca.

5/29/2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think that's the first time I've heard of a complaint about bad knees on a first date.
Was there disappointment when the Prince admitted:
"I can't dance." ?
Seems like a thin reason for the Nukes.
I'd give more credit to their contribution to Education Worldwide.
For that perhaps, the deployment of some Neutron weapons, followed by an enlightened recolonization of the oilfields.
You're either with us, or against us, and if you are really persistently, effectively against us,
well then you're just gone.
One spin off benefit would be the total meltdown, following the hyperoverreaction of the PC Sensitives around the world.

5/29/2005 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe the enlightened neo colony could consist of a
Benign Police State, in which the people would be provided food, water, and housing, courtesy of the oil revenues, as well as free, compulsory, western education, rooted firmly on Judeo Christian traditions.
After three generations had received such educations, polls would be taken to determine if tentative limited testing of democracy/self government was indicated.

5/29/2005 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What follows appears to be an ad for Prairie Pundit.
I guess it is: Not related, never been there before.
.
.Bad times for Saudis to vacation in Syria (or Iraq)Arab News:
More than 300 Saudis have been arrested at the airport in Damascus and along the Syrian border on suspicion they were en route to Iraq to fight alongside insurgents, press reports said yesterday.
.
.Z-man flees Iraq Sunday Times of London:
IRAQ’S most wanted terrorist has fled the country for emergency surgery after an American airstrike left him with shrapnel lodged in his chest, according to a senior insurgent commander in close contact with his group.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has a $25m bounty on his head after being blamed for suicide bombings, assassinations and the beheadings of western hostages — including Ken Bigley, the Liverpool engineer — is now believed to be in Iran.
.
.Summer will be sweeps month for towns between Baghdad and SyriaChicago Tribune:
Coalition forces will stage a chain of offensives this summer up and down the Euphrates River valley that leads to the Syrian border, much like the two operations this month targeting guerrillas and their smuggling of foreign fighters into Iraq, a top U.S. battlefield commander said Friday."There will be more operations based on intelligence," said Col. Stephen Davis, commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team-2, who oversees a vast swath of Iraq's western Anbar province.Operation Matador, a sweep launched earlier this month along the Euphrates, revealed that insurgents were far more organized than expected in the area, and that several small towns once considered safe still harbored large numbers of insurgents. Though Marines reported killing scores of insurgents, they acknowledged that many others disappeared in the broken terrain along the Iraq-Syria border.
.
.Radical islam fails becuase its followers don't allow criticism Kathleen Parker:
So goes my prayerful response to news that Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci will be prosecuted on charges of "outrage to religion." Apparently, the outspoken Fallaci, now in her 70s, has offended some disciples of Islam with her book, "The Force of Reason," and, by Allah, they intend to see she pays for it.
At least they didn't shoot her.
Yet.

5/29/2005 05:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ad left out how to find client!
. Prairie Pundit

5/29/2005 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jinn, I await your bestowing a fitting title:
. 23-year-old Indy Racing League rookie

5/29/2005 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The biggest victory to date by a woman in a traditionally male sport is jockey Julie Krone's Belmont Stakes win aboard Colonial Affair in 1993. But the Indy 500 is the Kentucky Derby of open-wheel racing, which would make Patrick's win loom larger.
---
Anybody care to clue me, and any other clueless here, as to the origins of the name
"Belmont Club?"

5/29/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

. Patrick 1 .
. Patrick 5

5/29/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger hollymer said...

Doug, you are right...bad over-reaction to a very boring and unfortunate dinner; the neutron solution saves us rebuilding dollars, since we always leave our enemies better off than we found them...good idea. I vintage raced for many years which is, of course, not even remotely in Danica's league; my hat is off to her for even qualifying...Lynn St. James is my hero. Makes me think of the joke about Fred Astaire...his partners did the same thing except that they were in high heels and moved backwards.

5/29/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

I find DEBKA useful because their speculation concerning the correlation of sequential events has proven accurate most of the time. When I look at sequence correlation wrt Fahd's death I'm drawn to the Crawford Ranch photo-op with Abdullah. Subsequent events that I find interesting:

1. Serious attempts to disrupt the Euphrates ratline - knowledge of the ratline has existed since the beginning of operations.

2. Major disruption of the ratline at the Syrian border.

3. Syria's announcement of a rollup of 1200 "terrorists" - were these just Saudi's waiting their turn at martyrdom - IOW did Syria just look at its arrival lists for flights from the KSA and pickup all Saudi males that fit the profile? Damascus Airport has been the top destination for Jihadi Joe for two years - that's no secret.

4. The announced Iraqi push beginning in Baghdad and heading back down the Euphrates toward Syria. Would you sell life insurance to any Saudi's now in Iraq?

5. Pulling the plug on Fahd.

Strapping on my tin foil hat with the 3M bubble pack inner lining I would say that W extracted quite a bit from Abdullah in exchange for that handshake. Abdullah probably has agreed to stop sending (or at minimum, allowing) Jihadi Joes to fly to Damascus to become part of the ratline. Perhaps the 4,000 have been used up?

5/29/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

My latest scientific theory looks at the Wahhabi's insistence upon keeping it within the clan; otherwise known by Western science as in-breeding.

Our Friends the Saudi's have a long history of enforced marriage, and especially marriage within the tribe. This means that if a young man wants to get married, his only option may be to marry his first cousin who has been pre-selected for him.

While this does keep the wealth within the family, and hopefully limits inner-tribal feuds, as anyone who has ever bred roses understands it also diminishes the blood-line.

While I have seen the occasional article lamenting the high incidence of certain genetic diseases such as cleft palate, I have never seen any statistics measuring the typical Saudi's IQ. Nor have I ever seen anything that would comment upon the frequency of Down's syndrome children in the Sandbox, for example, other than the fact that there seem to be enough of them wandering around in Iraq for the jihadists to use them as mobile bomb-bearing units.

What this would mean is that Saudi's are trying just as hard as they can, memorizing and being religious and saying prayers, but that if everyone in the country has an IQ of 50, well, then, of COURSE the country is going to be and remain backwards. Not only that, but it will never invent or create or even master a lot of what is going on in 21st Century life. And the Saudi minister of education will confuse Dante and Virgil, so no matter how much talk about revising the curriculum you have, if the revisers all have IQ's of 63 (a little bit higher because they're educated, you know) you're still going to end up with a bad curriculum because they simply don't have the mental range to make it any better.

It would also speak to the Saudi male not wanting the females to drive, because he realizes that even an illiterate, unschooled male from a 3rd World country is smarter than a Saudi princess, so that the smarter person should necessarily be the driver.

I think there's a possibility that both Americans and Saudi's have been beating up on Saudi Arabia when it may not be that country's fault. Saudi's may be paddling away being the best little morons they can possibly be, but if you're born a moron because you're descended from a long line of religiously-decreed moronity there's not gonna be a whole lot either you or your country can do about it.

And, equally, if this *is* the situation, there won't be a whole lot a benevolent Uncle Sam can do to make it all better after the deluge, either.

5/29/2005 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger wildiris said...

Wretchard, didn't you run a post a number of months ago about the apparent schizophrenic nature of Saudi Arabia's national behavior having something to do with two of King Fahad sons (who are actually the power behind the Crown), one being more open to the west, while the other being more of a "fundamentalist"? If my memory is correct, it might be a good time to revisit that post.

5/29/2005 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Dr. Sanity,

The reason we are addicted to oil is the same reason addicts take drugs.

They relieve pain. They make life easier.

The West really does not have an oil problem. When the price gets higher we will travel more by modem than by car. We do have easy alternatives. Economies with poor infrastructure will be hurt much more.

5/29/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

hollymer,
Is there a Vintage Wheelchair Series?
The Dementia Derby would probably be more my speed: Bumpercar Division.
...Still can't get over Geriatric Mario's 200mph laps/flips.
---
Loved the Astaire Joke.
Then started thinking about how hard THAT would be.

5/29/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

M. Simon,
Are you in favor of the Indy 500 Teapot Reserve?

5/29/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

NahnCee said...
"My latest scientific theory looks at the Wahhabi's insistence upon keeping it within the clan;
"
---
Is that what the Prince and his friends were doing by using the closets for outhouses?
(wouldn't want to mix the really deep do do with the run of the mill infidel do do.)
...until interrupted by hate-filled ethnocentric neighbors.

5/29/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Saudi's may be paddling away being the best little morons they can possibly be,"
---
"Be All That You Can Be,
...As a Saudi."

5/29/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee,
Ok, what about 3 Generations in My Benevolent Police State Public Schools,
PLUS,
An Intensive Eugenics Program:
Donors for the Baby Labs would be culled from the non Physicist Population of a certain nearby country.

5/29/2005 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

re Rick Ballard's post:
PX Kelly on Memorial Day, MSM, etc.
About 5 min in he addresses Matador,
Sanctuaries, and what Iraq represents
in the WOT.
---
7 Min mp3
.____PxKellyMemorial_Day____.
---
---
---
Brian Miles Thacker, MOH, 1973
12 Min mp3
.____Brian Miles Thacker____.
---
---
---
Author of "Faith of Our Sons,"
What he's learned having a Marine Son in Iraq.
12 Min mp3
.____Faith Of Our Sons____.

5/29/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Doug, the scary thing is that I, for one, have been thinking that if worst comes to worse, we can just nuke 'em, and then help them rebuild, which worked so successfully with Germany and Japan.

However, Germany and Japan didn't have a history of first-cousins marrying back for years and years and decades. Therefore, they had an educated, mature, and adult citizenry who could help in the re-building process.

I don't know that we can count on that in Saudi Arabia. It would appear that with Saudi Arabia we may be dealing with an entire country and group of people with the sophistication and mental abilities of an American kindergarten. Including the (in)ability to look ahead and see that Consequence X will happen if you do Action A and Action B now.

It seems to me that not only do we have to convince the Saudi's to quit brainwashing their current youth, but we have to convince them to quit inter-marrying, we'll need to convince them that marrying and breeding *outside* of Saudi Arabia is a GOOD Thing and not immoral and/or sinful (and that no one's gonna take their dadblamed money away from them if they do), and then we need to quarantine the whole country of mental defectives for a generation or three until we *know* that they're on the right evolutionary path again in a Darwinian way.

And these are the folks who are in charge of the world's oil supply.

5/29/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nahncee, et al:
Pondering the personal anecdotes re:
Princes here, as well as the AttaBoys Flight Squadron, and etc,
I think an additional problem limiting achievement might well be sexual obsession.
How would you propose we address that aspect of the WOT?

5/29/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Dr Sanity,
Paging Dr. Sanity.
"

5/29/2005 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I have some firsthand knowledge of the royal family--having to deal with them as the crew surgeon when one of the princes flew on the Shuttle.
This prince told me that many like him (young males in the royal family) go to western countries like the US in order to have more freedom generally, go to school and date girls (and to have sex).
He stated he "loved" western women, but would never marry them because they had no morals.
"

5/29/2005 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

Doug and others-
All I can say is that sexuality (or more accurately, fear of women's sexuality) is almost a defining characteristic of Islam as it is practiced today. You don't have to be a Freudian to realize that this fear and the subsequent behavior it engenders in both the males in the society (an overexaggerated need to always express their "masculinity"--read: aggression--and to distance themselves from mothers, while ruthlessly supressing the individuality and sexuality of all other women) and the females (an intense resentment underneath their passivity with acting out through their male children, and little involvement or attachment to the female ones); has serious repercussions on the culture as a whole. I personally believe such a situation encourages sociopathic/borderline personality traits.

I also think that by freeing the women of Islam--granting to them the right to be individual, sexual human beings is absolutely key to defusing the virulent Islamism that has arisen around the world. Instead of recognizing Shar'ia (as Canada stupidly wants to do) and being culturally "sensitive" to the institutional abuse and humiliation of women; we should be speaking out loudly against it and denouncing it wherever it is practiced. I have commented many times on my own blog about the deafening silence of the Women's Movement on this issue (see here for my most recent rant) and I find the everyday abuses of women all over the Middle East simply appalling.

5/29/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Doug,

The Indy 500 runs mostly on methanol. I propose a methanol reserve.

BTW one hell of a race.

Danica is from a community about 30 miles from where I live. Amazing what those Mid-Western farm girls can do isn't it?

And the Brit who won?

Cheers!!

5/29/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Extreme Precautions must be taken to see that the Methanol Reserve is never, repeat never, co-mingled with the Ethanol Reserve.

5/29/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Wretchard said, 'As Dr. McCoy once put it, "he's dead, Jim" which brings America and the world to a crucial fork in the road.' is on target.

The idea of my lengthy post is to highlight the fact that at a very critical point in time the Saudis let us down (even after we saved their "royal kingdom" from Saddam's shredder). At this juncture I would recommend affecting an "attitude adjustment" any way possible. The anti-American sediment which seems to come from Crown Prince Abdullah is unacceptable.
He says one thing then does another.

Although the politics of the "Kingdom" are quite complex it looks like Sultan Bin Abdulaziz and his deceased brother King Fahd are more pro-American than Prince Abdullah. I don't know what promises Bush extracted from Prince Abdullah but I would not put much faith in Abdullah's promises. Further, he seems to have terrorists connections and continues to push for extremist education of the Saudi youths. If Abdullah solidifies control over the kingdom it would be a horrible mess for years to come. The time is right for a change. I would like to see Abdullah marginalized or worse. That said, I would guess the President has better information on the situation than I do and is hopefully doing the right thing. And, it's promising to see Saudi terrorists arrested in Damascus' airport. But, more should be done to stop the flow of money, materials and manpower into Iraq.


OT: Twenty Three old Indy rookie Danica Patrick did look impressive with her 4th place finish at the Indy 500. She made some classic rookie mistakes but regained composure and pressed forward (she stalled the engine on pit road which really set her back about 15 places but regained those places and she did get caught in an "accordion" style restart - a quick compression of the pack before restart - hitting a car and spinning a full 360 - regaining control and driving straight through the melee - while disabling 3 of her competitors). She showed a true racer's cool. She came close to winning. If the yellow flag finish had just been thrown 8 seconds earlier she may have been able to limp the car across the finish line in 1st place just as the fuel ran dry. I think she will do well in the future.

5/29/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger hollymer said...

Nanhcee,
Another symptom of the Saudi inbreeding is that many of them are cross-eyed. Really. Your "non-scientific theory" is probably pretty acurate.

5/29/2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger hollymer said...

Dr. Sanity,
I read an article some time ago that discussed the Arab/Islamic view of women vs the Christian/Western. The Arab/Islam view of women is that women have such power over men that she must be hidden/shrouded; a man can be influenced/seduced by just seeing a woman's ankle. He has no control over his thoughts/lust/whatever. The Western view is that men are powerful and women are of little consequence. The latter view has changed, of course, and this is an over-simplification of the article but I have often thought how difficult it must be for a culture to change when the men are terrified of a woman's "power".

5/30/2005 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Damn, I really thought I had some grasp on the extent of my Schizophrenia.
Maybe the Multicults will start a cult following ME.
Bridging the Cultures:
Sometimes I can ignore them,
Sometimes I am a slave to their infinite powers.

5/30/2005 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

The conventional wisdom among Saudi watchers is that Crown Prince Abdullah will ascend to the throne after King Fahd's passing. Crown Prince Abdullah is, after all, the King's designated Heir Apparent, even if the prince is quite elderly.

The key question is who would Abullah designate as his Heir Apparent. Some suspect Prince Sultan, the Defense Minister, is the likely choice due to his seniority.

Others speculate Abdullah might pass over the current generation of senior princes-in-waiting and select a much youner grandson of Ibn Saud (the Kingdom's founder).

The Saudi regime has successfully dealt with sudden succession before, like King Faisal's assasination. And it did so without tearing itself apart.

Who knows, maybe this time, if King Fahd soon passes, the royal family just might mess it up. A botched succession would do more to push the Saudi government into chaos, and the country toward civil war, than Al Qaeda's haphazarad terror campaign inside the Kingdom to date.

Like the rest of us, the Bush Administration is in wait-and-see mode. If the succession proceeds smoothly, our diplomats will do their best to ensure turbulence in the official relationship is kept to a minimum during the transition.

If the succession breaks down, and family divisions violently breakout into the open, the administration will face some tough decisions about which faction to back, how, and at what price.

Under this scenario, the U.S. government could demand genuine democratization, an end to the Wahhabi establishment, etc, for the provision of any decisive military support to the faction of our choice.

5/30/2005 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

In case anyone hasn't noticed nearly every day for the last couple of weeks the president has talked about getting oil independence. Nor do I think that it is a coincidence that his remarks coincide with the "peak oil" meme getting a lot of play in the press of late.

Think about it for a second. The left is against oil because of carbon dioxide polution. They are joined now by the national security establishment and the business establishment because at bottom the only long term way to defeat the terrorists is to dry up their money sources and that means killing the cost of oil and relying on alternate sources of energy. Inversely, what anyone in the financial and business community understands is that a growing demand for oil combined with a shrinking supply with peak oil means--that unless alternate energy sources are found and implimented pronto--in only a few short years the price of oil will go up to economy killing $100 a barrel. And the fat old oil shieks who believe the only way to get to camel heaven is by funding suicides--will have more money to play with.

5/30/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Do you *really* think that the West will allow fat old oil sheikh's to ratchet up the price of oil until it bankrupts our economy? When it would be *SOOOOO* easy (and cheap) just to go in and take it away from them?

5/30/2005 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger hollymer said...

And we CAN take it away from them...check out www.grouchymedia.com for some awsome videos of the US Military in action....glad I saw them on Memorial Day...gives me hope that GW is in command of these people and machines.

5/30/2005 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Saudi Arabia is not a nation state in the way we think of them in the modern world. It is a family possession. The current nominal ruler, King Fahd is a son of the founder of the dynasty, ibn Sa'ud, who died 50 years ago. At the beginning of the 20th century ibn Sa'ud was a penniless desert bandito. His family had historic claims to the area in eastern arabia around Riyadh and a historic alliance with the heretical and militant Wah'habi dynasty of imams. Ibn Sa'ud put together a tribal alliance, blessed by the Wah'habi, called the Ikwan. After WWI, he conquer the Hijaz, the western province of Arabia containing Mecca and Medina and displaced the British clients, the Husseini sherifs (See, Lawrence of Arabia), who were in turn rewarded with monarchies in Jordan and Iraq.

Ibn Sa'ud, the ruler of most of Arabia, became the luckiest and richest man in the world, when American engineers found oil in his eastern provinces in the 1930s. When he died in the 1950s, the royal treasury, which was a chest kept in his tent, was stuffed with gold. His children have run the kingdom as their private property ever since.

Here is the important fact. There is no theory of legitimate inheritance of a kindom in Islam. The first born son of the first wife is not a more legitimate heir to the throne than the seventh son of the seventh concubine. Islamic regimes have developed ways of dealing with this problem. One is that many heirs were designated before the old king died. The Ottomans had the charming and effective custom of having the successor to the throne strangle all other then living male heirs to the throne with a silken bow string upon his succession. It was part of their success. Their decline began when they abandoned it.

In years past, such as when ibn Sa'ud's son and sucessor, ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, was deposed in 1964 because of his mismanagement and wasteful
spending, the family was able to act on a unified basis. Of course, it was a much smaller and more cohesive entity at that time. It is worth noting that the younger Sa'ud's sucessesor was his brother Faisal, who was, in turn assasinated by one of his nephews.

The current king, Fahd was born in 1922 and is also one of ibn Sa'uds sons. In 1995, he had a stroke which basically made him a vegetable. Before the stroke he had designated one of his brothers, Abd'allah (born 1923) to be the Crown Prince. After Fahd's stroke, Abd'allah took active control of the kingdom. However, when Fahd named Abd'allah as Crown Prince, he also declared that the crown prince would not automatically succeed to the throne upon the death of the king, but would serve as provisional ruler until he, or another son or grandson of ibn Sa'ud deemed more suitable, was chosen by the family. Reference

When Fahd dies, Abd'allah will continue to rule the kindom, but his succession will not be assured. He will be challenged by many others. Further, he is 82 years old. The ranks of the sons of ibn Sa'ud have been thinned by the years, but there are hundreds of grandsons and thousands of great-grandsons and great-great grandsons. It is possible that the succession will go smoothly, but it is also possible that there will be a civil war. At this point you should stop reading this and re-read Shakespeare's histories of the War of the Roses.

In Saturday's NYTimes:

"The crown prince himself has appointed a successor, Prince Sultan, who is second deputy prime minister and defense minister. A successor to Prince Sultan as second deputy prime minister would have to be chosen, which could open the way for a younger generation of Saudi royals to rise.

"But Prince Nayef, the interior minister - who like Fahd, Abdullah and Sultan is a son of the kingdom's founder, King Abdel Aziz al-Saud [ibn Sa'ud] - is widely favored for the position, thanks to his success in Saudi Arabia's battle with terrorism in recent years, Mr. Alani and others said."

OTOH, Out of the thousands of male heirs of ibn Sa'ud, there is, no doubt, at least one who is saying to himself: "These senile old men will lead us into ruin. We need strong young leadership to survive the American assault on our world. I am that man."

As I said above, there is no promogeniture in the Islamic world. And history shows that even where there was, disputed successions have happened and have led to civil war.

Like I said, read Shakepeare, not me.

Indeed, it is possible that the civil war has already begun. One hypothesis, that I have entertained, is that some one or more princes, who want the Saudi throne -- which after all is the richest prize in the world -- have used (whether they believe in it or not) the ideology of the Wah'habi imams and the oil money that flows through the kingdom to raise a private army. Their intention was to drive the United States out of Arabia and use their private army to secure the throne. Whether they have further ambitions such as a Pan-Arab or Pan-Muslim state are their own counsel.

In this view, we call the private army Al Qaeda. OBL is, or was until his incineration*, emir (in English, admiral) of this army. One reason the US invaded Iraq was to outflank Al Qaeda. Their counter was a series of attacks in the Kingdom last year. When that failed, Al Qaeda started pumping more money into the Zarqawi operation in Iraq, hoping to win the US election and stop the emergence of a shi'a dominated republic in Iraq.

Al Qaeda has forced the Saudi establishment to take them seriously and to be nicer to US. But even if the Sunnis are suppressed in Iraq, Arabia will remain a powder keg.

*I am skeptical that he is alive.

5/30/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Interesting history. Lots of nice facts.

However, I see nothing in this recitation that would make me any more reluctant to just go in and take it all away from them.

5/31/2005 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

FFE has some interesting observations. But, they really leave the Saudi situation up in the air. That's OK if he has some inside information into the Bush Administration (who would probably have the greatest amount of insight).

One strike against the Saudis is their denial of the use of the Prince Sultan Air base for operations against OBL and his thugs - the Taliban. That was a major negative with the US Military. If FFE has some addition detail - or thought from the administration on that issue we would like to know.

Robert Schwartz is to be congratulated on his in-depth history of the Saudi Kingdom. It's very insightful. But, who will really take control? It looks like Prince Abdallah has the momentum and the manpower (via his control over the "national guard") to keep everybody in line. And, he is a huge supporter of the current Wahhabi instructors - who preach death to Jews and America. That is a huge negative. Another generation of rich American haters is bad.

As NahnCee says, "I see nothing in this recitation that would make me any more reluctant to just go in and take it all away from them." And, I happen to agree with NahnCee in this case.

Further, what has Saudi Arabia done for the USA except allow the majority of the 9/11 highjackers attack America, and subsequently denied us the use of their air base to attack OBL and the Taliban? It seems as if the score is a little uneven.

Sure, there could be some threat of self-destruction by the Saudis - just as Saddam had promised. But, I really don't see that happening. I think it's a good time for change in Saudi Arabia and for the younger generation (and its offspring).

5/31/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Ledger, the Saudi situation really is up in the air, chiefly for the reasons that Robert Schwartz listed in his very insightful essay above. At this point, Prince Sultan Air Base is pretty much a non-issue in the official U.S.-Saudi relationship.

The state-of-the-art Combined Air Operations Center at PSAB was transferred to Qatar before OIF, and the remaining U.S. combat air units were withdrawn from the Kingdom in August or September 2003, well after the destruction of Saddam’s regime. All of this is a matter of public record.

Regarding my comment above, it was purely an abbreviated exercise in speculative analysis, a miniature version of what I do professionally. Right now, the administration is probably trying to answer the same questions we are: Who will really take control? Will the succession go smoothly? Etc.

It’s reasonable to assume that the President and his top foreign policy advisers have received briefings on Fahd’s health as well as the potential for a succession crisis. The military is probably quietly reviewing a few contingency plans just for the sake of prudence, but nothing more than that. After all, why run the risk further roiling the oil futures market if you don’t need to?

In my view, the prospect of any kind of U.S. military action against Saudi Arabia is extremely remote for the foreseeable future. The situation in Saudi Arabia would have to change drastically, and for the worse, before the administration would actively consider military intervention, let alone undertake it.

5/31/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger close encounters said...

Hilarious..what more can I say...Spewing one's own BS is transforming itself into an art these days..

Close Encounters--Jeddah

10/15/2005 02:29:00 PM  

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