The Saudis


James Rummel over at Hell in a Handbasket points out a James Lileks post about the recent bombing in Saudi Arabia. Lileks writes

“And it would seem to be an act of audacious stupidity by Al Qaeda — this isn’t just biting the hand that feeds them. This is biting it, tearing it off, chewing it up, and blowing smoke rings with the bone powder.

“And it makes me wonder: They stick the shiv in the ribs of their richest and most enthusiastic backers.

“What makes them this confident?”

Rummel responds with

It’s not confidence. It’s desperation. It’s crunch time. It’s “use it or lose it” for the terrorists. Or at least a faction of them.

Those of us interested in military and law enforcement matters have known that the Saudis have been cracking down on al Queda for awhile now, but they’ve never really been all that serious about it. As Winds of Change points out, there’s been all sorts of gun battles between the police and the terrorists inside Saudi Arabia of late, but none of the real support for the organization has been touched. Until the money is shut off there won’t be any real change.

This is a great point. I’m not totally convinced that the bombing was an act of desperation, but I’m open to the possibility. And I’m not at all convinced that Saudi Arabia is really acting like a friend of ours. Their efforts to cut down on terrorism funding and other support in their country haven’t really impressed me yet.

I’m open to the idea that the lack of serious pressure from us may be due to behind-the-scenes negotiating, though. Maybe we’ve allowed them to publicly hem and haw while they work to get their house in order. We have a serious interest in that black liquid they’re sitting on top of, and I’m sure that we don’t want to risk upsetting them too much. (You’re either FOR us or AGAINST us in this war. Unless you’ve got proven oil reserves. Then it’s negotiable.)

I do hope this bombing is a sign of desperation. I do hope that the Saudis begin cooperating in earnest. But I’ll believe it when I see it. Like Mr. Rummel says, “Until the money is shut off there won’t be any real change.”

Incidentally, I haven’t seen any claims that the CIA planted the bomb to nudge the Saudis and to keep everyone afraid. Weird. Someone must be slipping.