Thursday, August 22, 2002

A while ago I wrote that there seemed to be a danger to the U. S. economy and stock markets that American policies in the Middle East would lead to the withdrawal of massive amounts of Saudi Arabian money from the United States. Since that time, the extreme anti-Saudi rhetoric from the American right-wingers has escalated to the point where some are calling Saudi Arabia no longer an ally of the United States, and there is even a hint that the U. S. ought to take military action to take possession of the Saudi oil fields (perhaps as part of the war on Iraq, or perhaps even that the war on Iraq is a cover to assemble troops who will then attack Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq - that would explain the odd leaks concerning the attack against Iraq in terms of disinformation to hide the true intentions of the Americans). While it is true to say that the Saudi government is a corrupt regime with a medieval view of the world, it is a bit much for the Americans to start complaining about it now, given that successive American governments have consistently supported the same Saudi regime and have benefitted greatly from the weaknesses of Saudi Arabia (in fact the essential nature of the British colonial plan in all the Arab states was to set up unpopular corrupt governments that could be easily controlled by the colonial power, and the colonial power is now the United States). It is also a bit much for American right-wingers to complain about Saudi funding of Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when such funding started as a CIA program to advance American geopolitical goals. Finally, it is also a bit much for the Americans to keep insisting that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia when it is clear that the identities of most or perhaps all of the hijackers are completely unknown, and the Americans refuse to conduct the investigation that might shed some light on September 11. Regardless of what you might feel about the Saudi princes, you have to sympathize with them in their feelings that their old friends have turned on them giving completely hypocritical reasons, and possibly just to provide an excuse to steal some oil. Noam Chomsky has pointed out so many times how the American government supports the worst sort of human-rights violators when those violators suit American goals, only to suddenly find how horrible these human-rights violations are when they are looking for a 'regime change' (we currently see a good example of this in Bush's carping about Iraq's use of chemical weapons against the Iranians when we find that the U. S. was aware of such gas use at the time and even with that knowledge provided battle planning assistance to the Iraqis, not to mention the assistance in giving Iraq chemical and biological warfare capability in the first place). Now, this completely gratuitous anti-Saudi talk from a bunch of American talking heads has made the Saudis question their relationship with the U. S. For absolutely no good reason other than sheer arrogance, these supposed geniuses (and why are the Bush people supposed to be so much smarter than the Clinton people were when everything the Bush people do is a disaster?) who now run the United States have caused trouble with what used to be an ally. The Saudis are clearly starting to withdraw money from the United States and considering denominating oil pricing in Euros rather than dollars. On top of the stupid words of the Americans, we now have a rather political lawsuit on behalf of victims of September 11, claiming one trillion dollars (kindly reduced from 100 trillion!) in damages, and naming as defendants not only the Saudi government but also three members of the Saudi royal family, including defence minister Prince Sultan. The Saudis will quite clearly remember how Iranian assets in the United States were frozen at the time of the hostage crisis. If this suit ever gets to the point where there is the slightest possibility that a lawyer for the plaintiffs might try to freeze Saudi assets in the U. S., Saudi money will flow out of the United States as quickly as positions can be liquidated. The whole basis of U. S. recent economic success has been the recycling of wealth obtained by selling oil to the United States back through the American economy. It would be the height of stupidity if the current group of morons running the United States were to ruin this system.