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Is it Time to Take Saudi King Abdullah at His Word and Exit Iraq?

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According to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah's statement late in March the
United States' presence in Iraq is an "illegal foreign occupation". Then we recently learned that Prince Bandar, who according to the New York Times is "the diplomat with more access to President Bush, his family and administration than any other diplomat" had received billions in clandestine payments from the British defense contractor BAE. The bulk of these payments were made to bank accounts in Washington. Responding to press reports Prince Bandar denied accepting "improper secret commissions" and BAE has denied acting illegally.

While our soldiers are dying in Iraq, millions upon millions of Saudi dollars are flooding into Iraq supporting the Sunni insurgency, hundreds if not thousands of Saudi jihadists are martyring themselves, murdering countless noncombatants, women and children in Iraqi cities and towns while Saudi imams, funded directly or indirectly by the Saudi state, preach their venomous hatred of Shiites, Christians and Jews.

All the while Saudi Arabia, the putative leader of OPEC, according to recent reports has advised it is willfully keeping a lid on crude oil supplies to Asian and European customers. This, it would appear, in order to support oil prices in the mid to upper sixties per barrel, more than 30 percent higher than they were at the already high levels quoted in January. These production cuts are being made in the face of the International Energy Agency's pleas for OPEC to increase its oil production. Since the beginning of this year OPEC has willfully reduced output by 1.7 million barrels a day to put upward pressure on prices with the Saudi's leading the charge in bleeding the world's consumers and profiting shamelessly while America is mired in a political morass at vast cost in blood in treasure. Only an oilman President would sit quietly by, while the nation to whom he pledged his oath is held to ransom.

Our role in Iraq, foggy at best, is perhaps better understood in our government's determination to carve out a Sunni presence in the future governance of Iraq. In this our policies mirror those of and are deeply influenced by the Saudis, for which the Saudis repay us by rigging the price of oil, insinuating themselves into the halls of our government, recycling their petrodollars dollars or pounds in ways that seemingly compromise our governance and sense of principle. As example one need only take note of the British Government's rush to cancel an investigation into allegations of corruption attached to a major defense contract with the Saudis. This even in the face of BBC report that payments of some 120 million pounds/year were made over two decades to accounts in Washington and that BBC "has established that these accounts were actually a conduit to Prince Bandar".

Such is the influence of Saudi petro-gold that Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to rationalize, somewhat sheepishly about terminating the probe, declaring he didn't believe "it would lead anywhere except to the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship for our country in terms of fighting terrorism, in terms of the Middle East, in terms of British interests" and that it would have cost thousands of jobs. So much for principle, so much for standards of law and comity evolved over centuries.

Not to be left behind the Bush White House has been wedded to Saudi interests since the days of George H.W. Bush, infusing our policies with goals that are more properly exclusively the goals of the Saudis. And while our soldiers die and are maimed, the Saudis continue to rapaciously tax us and the rest of the world, while our oil influenced government looks on benignly and our Department of Energy becomes OPEC's lapdog.

One could argue that much of what has happened and is happening in Iraq is in large measure due to Saudi influence on our government and its policies, starting with the fifteen Saudis on those four planes, as well as the vast amount of petrodollars they are able to bandy about. Perhaps it is time to take King Abdullah at his word and give him our rusted keys to Iraq and let him use his petrodollars to set things straight. After all, if his minions can buy Tony Blair together with the British Government, buying the Iraqi government, while certainly difficult, should be doable.