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27 July 2005

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elf

Thank you for adding your voice to the blogoshpere.

As the others posted before me, I pretty much read blogs then check against news accounts. Interesting how things change.

Appreciated your testimony last week. And have now read your article "Drinking the Kool-Aid".
Please keep us posted on any other articles you publish.

Thank you,
Elf

common sense

You seem to be right about our usefulness to the Shia, at least that seems to be the voice of the prime minister.

I am curious about developments among the Sauds. It seems to me that the new ambassador to the US is likely more acceptable to Islamic militants, it is my understanding that among the tens of thousands of princes in the Royal family many are comfortable with Islamic radicalism.

Of course they disagree with Osmaa about the nature of government, but on other aspects there is agreement.

It would seem to me that it is in the interest of the Saudi establishment to move closer to radical religious lines and thus undercut potential revolts.

I feel like we are getting to the point where we will accept anything as long as they say a few nice words and don't actually shoot at us. For example Uzbekistan has agreed to let us continue using their bases rather than throw us out as they were considering and now the right is heralding this as a great strategic victory.

common sense

Trying to guess at developments of events my original notion was:

- Both British and Italians would like to stsrt getting out this autumn and finish by early next year.

- The Bush administration would like to be able to proclaim victory and have significant troops out before elections next year.

Indeed a number of people voted for Bush because unlike Kerry he was in a political position to withdraw.

From my perspective I felt the Shiites were comfortable with the schedule above. US troops would be concentrated among the Sunni weakening them. The Shiite theocracies would have a chance to build up their forces and stock heavy weapons. And with American forces diminished we would be far more in their power since any trouble they made could cripple supply lines, and generally make our situation untenable.


ismoot

CS

The Saudi government is run as a family business with the help of people who have proven or who hope to prove their loyalty to the family. The idea of Saudi "citizenship" is a bit of a joke. Saudis are "subjects" of the monarchy, not citizens in the sense that would be understood elsewhere, even in other Arab kingdoms. Jordan, for example.

The perceived legitimacy of the Saudi state rests on its three hundred year old alliance and symbiosis with the Wahhabi sect of Islam. As a result of that relationship the Saudi government has felt required to fund many zealot schools and other projects around the world. In the process, they have "created" a mass environment in the kingdom that is xenophobic, and intolerant of other peoples' ways and beliefs.

The Saudi government now has the problem of placating the anti-Western 'Ulema and masses while retaining some sort of "working" relationship with the US. Difficult.

To borrow an expression from Mr. Jefferson, the Saudi establishment has "the wolf by the ears."

Hobson's choice.

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