Having constantly blamed Iran and Syria for the turmoil in Iraq, the US is now turning its attention to Saudi Arabia.
By Dilip Hiro
"......According to Zalmay Khalilzad, the then US ambassador in Iraq, these documents were forgeries. It beggared belief that Maliki would be so foolhardy as to put his advice to Sadr in writing, he reportedly argued. But when he conveyed this to Saudi king Abdullah, the latter replied that his officials had secured these papers from a reliable source in Iraq and that they were genuine.
Instead of persuading Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders to seek reconciliation with the Maliki government, as recommended by Washington, the Saudi government had resorted to funding them to arm their tribes in the eventuality of a full-blown civil war.
The unnamed senior US sources claim that the evidence to support these charges against Riyadh has been gathered over an extensive period. So why is the Bush administration airing them in public now? It is doing so out of desperation since things are going badly for it in Iraq, militarily and politically.
It is a good diversionary tactic to throw a different bone to the media. Constantly blaming Syria and Iran for troubles in Iraq is becoming tiresome. So pointing an accusing finger at Riyadh should provide a welcome variation......
Another reason for the White House's outing of the Saudi malevolence is that King Abdullah is showing increasing signs of independence in foreign policy, partly because of the record high prices of oil caused by relentless rise in demand for hydrocarbons.
He acted on his own to reconcile the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas in February, a move that displeased Washington. After the collapse of the Palestinian national unity government in June, Abdullah did not follow the example of Egypt and Jordan in backing President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader unequivocally and isolating Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Instead, he has been working actively to bring the feuding Palestinian parties back to the negotiating table.
Abdullah's persistent divergence from Washington's policy in the region has annoyed the Bush administration. This is hardly surprising. Historically, the United States has always preferred pliant allies - particularly in the Third World......"