Al-Jubeir May Replace Turki
As the year comes to a close, we think first of our troops and other coalition fighters on the front line of the global anti-terror war, in Iraq and Afghanistan. No other issue surpasses that, for Americans concerned for our safety and future.
Right now, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is important to Americans – not because of the price of gas, but because of the role of extreme Saudi Islamists, who adhere to the state cult of Wahhabism, in attacks on our troops and their partners in Iraq.
The Baker-Hamilton Iraq report, thin as it was, had the virtue of admitting that "funding for the Sunni insurgency [sic] comes from private individuals in Saudi Arabia." Such terror backers allegedly include Yasin al-Qadi, a rich Saudi who was named a specially designated global terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in October 2001. Al-Qadi continues to operate unmolested in the kingdom.
According to the Saudi newspaper al-Watan, 2,000 Saudi subjects have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the anti-Saddam intervention in 2003. This is an extraordinary news item, for the following reasons:
The Saudi newspaper claimed that 40 percent of the dead were suicide terrorists or jihad combatants, and admitted that all were slain in sectarian conflicts.
With at least 2,000 Saudis dead in Iraq since 2003 (a number that may be understated), the total of Saudi jihadists in Iraq must be much larger. If only 6,000 Saudis have gone north of the border in four years of war, they would certainly constitute, once trained in terror methods, a fearsome armed body for the disruption of Iraq. Many would be veterans of previous such activities.
What connection might exist between this remarkable bit of information and the possible accession of Adel al-Jubeir to the Royal Saudi Embassy in Washington – and how may it affect Americans?
The brusque departure of Prince Turki al-Faisal from the ambassador's post, as described in this column two weeks ago, seemed to have been precipitated by a media float of rumors that the Saudis would carry out a "massive" invasion of Iraq to protect the Sunnis there, and that Saudis thus sent to fight in Iraq could not be prevented from attacking U.S. troops, as well.
This outrageous threat was delivered in The Washington Post by a now-former Saudi Embassy consultant named Nawaf Obaid, who was immediately fired by Turki. Turki then resigned. Rumors of a Saudi intervention in Iraq spread like a virus to The New York Times, the main fever center of the MSM.
On December 21, in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, came reports that Turki's replacement would be Adel al-Jubeir, a long-experienced spokesman for the embassy in Washington.
Would al-Jubeir's appointment be good or bad for Americans?
Al-Jubeir has most recently worked as foreign-affairs advisor to Saudi King Abdullah. That is a good sign because Abdullah has made significant gestures toward reform of the kingdom and, most important, toward ending the Sunni terror in Iraq:
On December 20, one day before the Jubeir news, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, the brother of ex-ambassador Turki, stated firmly in Riyadh, "The kingdom has said it will stand at an equal distance from all Iraqi groups and does not describe itself as the guardian of any group or sect."
Such an attitude is supported by other declarations, included repeated official remarks by Saudi King Abdullah himself. As recently as December 12, media reported Abdullah publicly expressing his profound grief over the sectarian and ethnic bloodshed in Iraq.
Al-Jubeir, as ambassador, and King Abdullah, can do a great deal to restore U.S.-Saudi relations, which have been undeniably harmed since the revelation of "15 out of 19" – that 15 of the 19 suicide terror pilots on September 11, 2001, were Saudis.
To restore good U.S.-Saudi relations, King Abdullah must, first, help protect our troops and our coalition allies in Iraq. He must prevent Saudi money from funding jihad in Iraq, and Saudi volunteers from going north to fight. He must also take further steps to cut off all state links with the Wahhabi cult and the campaign for world Wahhabi jihad.
Al-Jubeir can secure the future of his country by honestly and loyally supporting a program for a new, pluralistic, and normal Arabian kingdom, which will regain the country's global respect and help repair the image of Islam. But for all of us as Americans, the safety of the coalition in Iraq, and its Iraqi allies, must come first.