Friday, July 20, 2007

The Dumpster, Not Flypaper

Glenn Reynolds finds this at the Strategy Page.

July 19, 2007: While Saudi Arabia is not happy with how Shia Arabs have taken control of Iraq, and appear able to hold on to it, they are pleased with how the fighting in Iraq has greatly depleted the number of al Qaeda backers inside Saudi Arabia. Over 5,000 Saudi Islamic radicals are believed to have died in Iraq so far. For the last four years, up to half the suicide bombers have been Saudis, and about half the 135 foreigners currently held in U.S. military prisons over there, are Saudis. Currently, American intelligence believes about 45 percent of the foreign fighters (less than ten percent of all terrorists there) are Saudis. The next largest group is Syrians and Lebanese (15 percent), followed by North Africans (10 percent). The other 30 percent are from all over, including Europe.

The Saudis themselves are coy about how all those Saudi Islamic radicals got into Iraq. The Saudi border with Iraq is heavily patrolled, and not easy to get across, no matter which direction you are going. But the Saudis have refused calls to crack down on their young men going to Syria or Jordan, and crossing from there into Iraq.

Maybe America should charge the UN for services rendered and not the other way around. It provides global security behind which the free-riders of Europe can pretend to defend themselves with barricades of treaties. It takes out the trash for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and employs everyone who the elites of Mexico find no use for. Why should it matter?

Ridi pagliacco.
You’re just a clown! on with the show, man,
And put on your white-face.
The people pay you and you must make them laugh.
And if harlequin should steal your Columbina, laugh,
You’re pagliaccio, and the world will clap for you!
Turn into banter all your pain and sorrow,
And with your clowns’ face hide grief and distress...
Laugh loud, pagliaccio, forget all of your troubles,
Laugh off the pain that so empoisons your heart.

Nothing follows.


Blogger John J. Coupal said...

The speed with which we transfer from the gasoline/diesel engine into some alternative source of vehicle mobility will show our seriousness in defeating terrorism.

When Saudia Arabia is left with only sand and salafi Islam as its natural resources, the Middle East will turn into a safe region of the world.

7/20/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Oh hell with that if we were serious about terrorism we would simply take away the damn oil fields. We discovered it, developed it, delivered it, refined it...exactly what did the Arabs of the middle east do to deserve reaping the windfall of the oil? Squat with their camels on a piece of ground. The fools who gave the oil to them should be shot if they are still alive.

7/20/2007 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...'s not just a country in transition, it's a jihadi bug-zapper.

7/20/2007 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Wretchard writes:

"Maybe America should charge the UN for services rendered and not the other way around. It provides global security behind which the free-riders of Europe can pretend to defend themselves with barricades of treaties. It takes out the trash for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and employs everyone who the elites of Mexico find no use for."

Precisely. And all the while, we get lectures on how this should all be done from people who can't do any of it themselves.

7/20/2007 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

John, I hate to rain on your parade, but energy independence is no magical solution. The fundamental problem is sheer scale, the US, Europe, China, etc use a tremendous amount of oil, and alternative fuels/energy sources simply don't scale that well without huge problems. Bio-fuels, for example, (with the exception of algae derived fuels) would require intolerable amounts of agricultural land. Algae doesn't tie up agricultural land, but just to supply the aviation industry with fuel would take a huge amount of surface area.

There just isn't any feasible alternative to oil derived fuels for our transportation needs, in the foreseeable future.

7/20/2007 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Not to forget about the chemicals derived from petroleum.

7/20/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

US as world's garbage's a dirty job but hell someone's got to do it. We just need to start deducting a reasonable estimate of the cost from our UN and NATO dues. Oh, and love the concept of reforming foreign aid into an incentive/reward for progress towards better government practice.

7/20/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

That’s interesting; this article about the Saudis murdering American soldiers and Iraqi soldiers and civilians does give an estimate of dead Saudis. It fails though to estimate the number of Americans and Iraqis that these Saudi terrorists have killed. It also fails to estimate how many Saudi terrorists have done their tour, learned their skills and are now moving on to other battlefields. What we get instead is a clever little wink, wink aren’t the Saudis cute as they cleverly steer their malcontents towards Iraq to get slaughtered by Americans. It just goes to show how clever OIF was, not only are we bringing democracy to the Iraqis, we are cleaning out the Saudi cupboard as well.

The American response to the Saudi threat, after they blatantly attacked us on 9/11, where 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, where they attack us with impunity in Iraq, where they continue to finance the madrassas in Pakistan that are providing the foot soldiers for the Taliban, can only be called aggressive appeasement. Every bit of spin energy, every meme created, every narrative presented has at its base the goal of de-emphasizing the guilt of the Saudis and to point the both the finger of blame and firepower in every other direction except the obvious direction of guilt. Lots of noise is made about fighting a war on terror but every caution is taken to never speak the name of the obvious terrorist entity, KSA. And why is this? Why are the right in America so petrified of Saudi Arabia? I just don’t get it.

7/20/2007 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

After we supported the extrication of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan we effectively left...

We left a region in chaos. We left a region in economic ruin. We ignored a region.


That region - without the ability to connect with the rest of the world - spawned an unobstructed al-Qaeda. Remember, bin Laden trooped around the Middle East for years before being shuttled off to chaos.

Basically, starvation and unemployment and chaos are not good long term strategies for reducing Islamic terror.

7/20/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Hey Boghie,

Great idea, lets do it again!

7/20/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


We left a region in chaos. We left a region in economic ruin. We ignored a region.

The Saudi groups who at one time were considered “freedom fighters” but at a later point morphed into terrorists that slaughtered thousands at 9/11 were quite explicit, it was not poverty, chaos, or a lack of American love that caused them to fly those planes into the twin towers – it was the presence of US troop in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And even the generous appeasement of the Saudis when we quietly withdrew all troops from their "holy land" has not quenched their thirst for American blood.

And it is not poor Arabs who are attacking us, it is the elite. To think anything else is to totally misunderstand the Arab world. People their don’t follow goat herders; they follow people from wealthy, high caste families who preferably decend directly from Mohammed.

7/20/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Poverty did not/does not inspire the Saudi Jihadists. The chaos & poverty left from the Soviet invasion and the post-Soviet chaos in Afghanistan left the Afghan people clamor for anyone who could promise order & security.

Who cares if the video shops will be razed if we can live through the day? Of course, after a few days ones wants and needs advance.

That is what the Taliban & Saudi jihadists did, took the mad max world of Afghanistani warlords fighting over sections of Kabul and imposed order. At first it was welcome, but then it became oppressive and as we saw, the Saudi & foreign Jihadists had no interest in advancing Afghani society past where it was but instead were much more interested in using Afghanistan as a platform to attack the West.

7/20/2007 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Back in 2002, I was in favor of directly attacking the Saudi Kingdom rather than attacking Iraq at the time. The reason I came around to supporting the liberation of Iraq was because I saw the choice to be between overthrowing Saddam Hussein and sitting on our hands. I may have opposed the Iraq war if the clear alternative advocated was a war against the House of Saud.

So, would you favor a war against the House of Saud now? Two years from now? Five years from now? If America's withdrawal from Iraq were predicated upon conquering Riyadh, I'd consider it.

The problem I see is that advocating war against the Saudi Kingdom can be a talking point for defeatism in Iraq instead of a serious desire to avenge Saudi connivance against us. If you are serious about avenging Saudi connivance, I'm with you. If not...

Remember, in French Parliament, Pierre Laval asked why France didn't declare war against the Soviet Union for its aggression against Finland. On the face of it, it was a legitimate question. However, a war was on against Nazi Germany, and the question was more of a pretext for defeatism than a serious suggestion. Those who ask why we aren't at war against the House of Saud ought not follow in Pierre Laval's footsteps.

7/20/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

From the beginning, I've supported the war in Iraq mainly because it would turn the place into a Jihadii bug zapper. As has been evidenced almost daily in Iraq, there really is no defense against a suicide bomber except to kill him before he reaches his target. It's much better to kill these people in the Middle East than on the streets of New York or London. Once we get Iraq reconfigured such that native Arabs are efficiently killing al Qaeda monsters then our work there is done.

Concerning our invasion of Iraq versus Saudi Arabia: It was clear almost from the beginning that bin Laden wanted us to attack Saudi Arabia as a response to 9/11. A US attack upon the Moslem holy cities of Mecca and Median would have triggered an immediate viseral response from the entire Islamic world (the feared Clash of Civilizations). Also an attack against Saudi Arabia would have taken the vast Saudi oil field off-line and plunged to world into economic recession. Attacking Iraq instead of Saudi Arabia blind sided bin Laden and al Qaeda. People maybe right to criticize the President concerning the details of Iraq War but the original concept was strategically brilliant.

7/20/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

So, would you favor a war against the House of Saud now? Two years from now? Five years from now?

The sooner the better but the so-called War on Terrorism will go on until it becomes a War on KSA. I would always advocate going after root causes (an invasion of the KSA and hitting the terrorists wholesale) that would end the war over the indirect approach(attacking anyone but the KSA and hoping to attract individual terrorists) that only prolongs the inevitable.

Also a withdrawal from Iraq might not even be possible without first finishing off the Saudi terrorists that are causing us so much trouble there. People speak of it as if we can just get up and march out of Iraq but at some point between having 170,000 soldiers and having none we reach a critical point of having say only 20,000 that will be unable to defend themselves. Ugly scenes could await the last groups of troops withdrawing as it is highly unlikely we would be able to negotiate cease fires with the Saudi-led terrorists.

After Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor it was self evident that we would strike back at them. If our political elite at the tine decided to retaliate against Korea instead and then took lightly the fact that Japanese irregulars were attacking us there it would have raised a few eyebrows, to say the least. I will grant that the nature of 9/11 is not as clear as what happened in 1941 but there was evidence of official Saudi intelligence assistance to two of the 9/11 hijackers in San Diego until it became classified and many other potential pieces of evidence remain classified. Perhaps the justification for these moves was not to muddy the waters on the Iraq invasion, but that raises some uncomfortable questions as to where our priorities actually were.

The day will certainly come when America wakes up and realizes how badly it has been bamboozled by its leadership. And they will finally realize that you can either exhaust yourself chasing down each individual wasp one by one or you can go to the wasp nest itself (perhaps nests now with another in Pakistan) and destroy it in one fell swoop.

7/20/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

pierre legrand - We discovered it, developed it, delivered it, refined it...exactly what did the Arabs of the middle east do to deserve reaping the windfall of the oil? Squat with their camels on a piece of ground. The fools who gave the oil to them should be shot if they are still alive.

Unfortunately for you, almost all nations, including the US outside private property, treat natural resources as national assets. Not "fair game for foreigners to come in and grab". Much of the gold and silver mining out west was done by Germans and Cornish miners that had the technology and experience to mine profitably. That did not transfer those assets, and payment for those assets exploited, from America to Britain or Germany.

On a piece of land I own, I have 5 large black walnut trees that I lack the funds and technology to harvest and turn into veneer, so I have a few companies bidding on harvest rights. Like with the Saudis and THEIR oil, those are MY trees and no one is going to take them without my permission, and at my price.

I don't care what new golly-gee bit of high tech they will use, or that without those high-tech masters of logging and veneer-making my trees would be "useless" - ownership is everything.

It may be "unfair" that the Arabs lucked out with oil, just as it is unfair that Europeans got so much water and arable land in Europe and their settlements in the New World and OZ_NZ - but tough titties, that's life.

7/20/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger stumbley said...


The world can live quite easily without your black walnut trees. And they were always visible in your yard; it didn't require any effort on anyone's part to find them. Capisce?

Kind of a different thing with oil.

7/20/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

LarryD said: "John, I hate to rain on your parade, but energy independence is no magical solution."

The rulers of Dubai, Qatar, and Kuwait, among others, have also been thinking about our dependence on their oil. Here's a link to a post about some of their thoughts and actions concerning the matter, specifically where they are investing their petrodollars- the USA.

Do Buy or Not Dubai?

7/20/2007 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

stumbley, I hate to say it, but I have to agree with Cedarford on this one. Ownership and property rights are all important, especially if we wish the world to operate in a peaceful manner. Wars happen when another nation/people decide that they have a right to someone else's land/resources. Food is just as vital, if not more so, as oil. So per your logic it is perfectly permissible for one nation to seize the farmland of another in order to feed its people. Or how about nation lacking in women (the currently situation in China) going into another to "retrieve" wives for its men. Isn't the emotional needs of a nation's men just as important as oil? It's called a slippery slope, my friend.

7/20/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger stumbley said...


Ordinarily, I'd agree with you 100%. However...those oil fields originally were developed by American and British companies, and were in fact owned by those British and American companies, in concert with the KSA government. One of the companies was called ARAMCO (Arab-American Oil Company). My uncle used to work for them. These companies paid a royalty to KSA, but also retained some profit for themselves, until they were "nationalized" by the government, just like Hugo Chavez "nationalized" Venezuela's oil.

The Arabs would never have known about or developed the resource that's given them so much power and wealth without the British or American companies that did it for them.

The ARAMCO arrangement was perfectly fair, in that it rewarded both entities for the effort that went into extracting oil resources.

7/20/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My understanding is that no one gave the oil to the Saudis or any other middle-eastern country. It was nationalized, which is a very polite word for the very impolite action of stealing.

If this seems incomprehensible, notice it is happening again this very day in Venezuala under Chavez.

A much better option for undermining the Saudi jihadi-machine would be to restore (by military force) the ownership of the oilfields to their rightful owners: namely, the oil companies that discovered and developed them.

The US doesn't have to go chasing inefficient energy (from windmills to oil shale), and you cut off a huge portion of jihadi-funding.

Far more important than Saudia Arabia, however, is Iran. While the Saudis provide ideological support, Iran is actively enganged militarily against Western interests on all fronts from Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Lebanon to Ghaza.

Oh, and they're far closer to obtaining nuclear weapons than Saudi Arabia ever will be.

First things first.

7/20/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Cedarford --

While you are correct that Arab nations own their own resources, as a practical matter they will either sell on the world market and keep the world economy going or strong nations such as China and the US will simply take it.

As long as it's simply easier and cheaper to buy oil from the various suppliers, that is exactly what China and America will do.

But should China see it's economic growth come crashing down, and with it a version of the Taipeng Rebellion on steriods, they will move both aggressively and ruthlessly to secure oil to keep their economy going and themselves in power.

Maybe supplies can be achieved from somewhere else, but I don't see much slack production. Russia and Venezuela and Mexico have failing/falling production due to corruption. Africa can't even keep it's thugs under control (wow, no wonder, because Africa has 30% polygamy). Oil sands face a concerted effort by Greenpeace and others to stop it.

China is quite ruthless. Tiananmen Square anyone?

7/20/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Libertarians and those who think that deals of the past about "sacred private ownership" must last forever just have to look to the US. America also nationalized assets. Permanently - as in Indian lands became Federal lands, private roads became state or Federal Roads, all offshore marine assets. Temporarily - As in when all coal mines were nationalized in WWI, WWII.

It would be mighty convenient to tell other nations that they are "locked in" to the business deals they made many decades ago, "forever" if it is in America's interest while we can abrogate foreign owners rights here - as we did to certain British and French investors to squeeze them out of our oild fields, strategic mineral ownership, and water rights out West.

The other ugly truth is that from the East India Company onwards, ownership of national resources in much of the world was ripped away by the powerful nations that used bribery or military threat to negotiate the "deals" that delivered those nations resources into provate hands. Big tin mine in Bolivia US corporations wanted, but the Bolivians wouldn't sell exploitation rights to us? Simple, go in and subvert until a "business-friendly" puppet government delivered. It doesn't even need capitalism. The ex-Soviet states have mostly gotten back the national resources once controlled by Czar-authorized private companies or the Soviet State negotiated under military threat or post-conquest.

The days of "smart people able to find and develop other's property thus having a RIGHT to it forever - are over.

7/21/2007 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my surface hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in a lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there's noone around, oh yeah, baby baby
Now if there's a smile on my face
Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression
Don't let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don't care
Cos really I'm sad...

Smokey Robinson’s reference to Pagliacci - TEARS OF A CLOWN

7/21/2007 04:36:00 PM  

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