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Saudi Stick-Up By: Ralph Peters
New York Post | Tuesday, May 06, 2008


WANT to know a key reason why you're being robbed at the gas pump? Well, my fellow Americans, you're being punished - for giving Iraqis a chance at democracy.

The Saudis ordered President Bush not to remove Saddam. The last thing that the despotic bigots in Riyadh wanted was change in the Middle East - especially change that empowered common men and women, Shia Arabs and Kurds.

But our president believed that the Saudis were not only America's friends, but his personal pals. He defied our Saudi masters. Silly him.

These past several years, the furious Saudis have been perfectly willing to help the new Iraq fail, hoping a disaster would lead back to rule by a Sunni Arab strongman. But the Iraqi government's starting to look like a going concern, after all.

So our president's old pals are teaching us a lesson - by limiting oil supplies. When Vice President Dick Cheney went to Saudi Arabia to beg for an increase in output, he got the bum's rush.

The Saudis aren't worried about our reaction. They know they'll always have regiments of paid protectors in Washington. They haven't just corrupted a few American public figures - they've built an entire Saudi cheerleading industry on the banks of the Potomac and beyond.

If our think tanks and universities had to list their funding sources on the cover of every "study" they publish, you'd be stunned. The Saudis and the Persian Gulf emirates have poured money into "nonpartisan" centers, faculties and department chairs from Massachusetts Avenue to Cambridge, Mass. (If you think mortgage brokers are greedy, you've never seen an intellectual offered a grant.)

Think those institutions have published many studies criticizing the Saudi royal family or the Emir of Qatar? Or defending Israel's right to exist?

If Congress really wants to improve our national security, let's try a baby step first: Pass a law requiring every think tank or college that accepts money from foreign governments, overseas institutions or ruling-dynasty members to register its employees as lobbyists.

Let's get this out into the sunlight so we can all savor the stink.

Another Saudi approach is to invite influential Americans to visit the kingdom as special guests: They literally get the royal treatment. Our political high-rollers and opinion-makers enjoy posh perks in Saudi Arabia - including lucrative contracts, cash hand-outs and Rolex party favors.

I've been terribly dismayed to see figures I respect - but who don't know the Middle East from East Orange - fall for Saudi pampering and the line that "We want change, of course, but we have to change gradually."

Even Osama bin Laden didn't buy that one. But you'll hear it parroted by no end of patsies in Washington.

Yet, as corrosive as the Saudis have been for our system, they're far worse for Muslims.

The crucial point you have to grasp is that the Saudis don't give a downtown damn about Muslims - flesh-and-blood men, women or children. They only care about Islam. They'd sacrifice tens of millions of Muslims to further their perversion of the faith.

I've visited over a dozen Muslim countries and many more that have significant Muslim minorities. In every case, I've found the Saudis funding evil.

From Thailand to the United States, the Saudi goal is to prevent Muslims from integrating into their host societies. In poor countries, such as Kenya, they pay families to pull their children out of state schools and send them to madrassahs - where they learn to recite the Koran, but no career skills.

The Saudis don't mind if Muslims live in poverty and squalor - as long as Muslims don't identify with the societies around them. They want strict religious and cultural apartheid.

So here's another easy thing Congress can do: Prohibit foreign funding, direct or indirect, of US religious institutions and schools by the government or citizens of any state that denies religious freedom to its own residents. No churches in Saudi Arabia? OK, no Saudi-controlled madrassahs in Virginia.

And when referring to Islamist terrorists or the Saudi royal family that nurtured them for so long, let's stop using the term "Islamo-fascists." As horrid as Italian or Spanish fascists could be, they were enlightened humanitarians compared to either al Qaeda or our Saudi "friends." Let's just call fanatics "fanatics."

The greatest modern tragedy for the Arab world wasn't European imperialism. It was who got the oil money: inbred desert barbarians with a zero-sum mentality about heaven and earth. The stunningly hypocritical Saudis (they could teach Eliot Spitzer plenty about top-flight hookers) have used their wealth to cut out Islam's heart. The faith of Mohammed, peace be upon him, has no greater enemies.

In this fight, we Americans, and Muslims around the world who cherish their faith, should stand united against the Saudis.

In the heat of the moment, Iran appears to many to be our worst enemy in the Middle East. While the nut house government in Tehran is a deadly problem, it's ultimately one of lesser scale. Our greatest enemy, anywhere, is Saudi Arabia, the cradle of terror.

Five years ago, I supported removing Saddam Hussein on moral and geopolitical grounds. I'm beginning to suspect we invaded the wrong country.


Ralph Peters is a New York Post Opinion columnist and the author of "Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."


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