The Bushies’ Saudi problem: update
According to the New York Times , the US is fed up with Saudi incompetence and dilatoriness on security matters. Quote:
“Reflecting what some officials said was increasing American frustration with the Saudi efforts against terrorism, the ambassador, Robert W. Jordan, praised Crown Prince Abdullah and Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, for their “sincere” vows of a crackdown on military groups. But he also said that “executing the plan to provide additional security is another matter, and I think there’s some ways to go on that, quite frankly.” The ambassador’s comments, coming two days after three bomb blasts in Riyadh killed 34 people including 8 Americans, illustrate the depth of continuing strains between American and Saudi officials over cooperation in fighting terrorism.
Even the White House, which has tried in recent months to repair relations with the kingdom, said today that Saudi efforts to combat terrorism remain inadequate, despite some recent improvements.
“As with many countries around the world, the fact is that Saudi Arabia must deal with the fact that it has terrorists inside its own country, and their presence is as much a threat to Saudi Arabia as it is to Americans and to others who live and work in Saudi Arabia,” the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said today. “
Hmmm… According to the CIA Factbook, Saudi has 23,513,330 inhabitants — including an estimated 5,360,526 non-nationals (most of them Palestinians and poor Arabs from other Islamic states). My guess is that if we discount the Al Saud regime’s retainers, freeloaders, parasites and hangers-on (say one and a half million mendicants) that means that upwards of 22 million Saudis and their gastarbeiters are fervent admirers of Osama bin Laden. So how exactly is the ruling regime going to sort that out?