Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rice Glosses over Bush’s Past Saudi Blow Offs while Begging for Help

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice pleaded with Arab countries to back the fragile government in Iraq. The Saudi Foreign Minister offered only tepid support in offering his hopes that Bush’s plans to turn the situation around are successful before qualifying that with doubts about the Iraqi government’s ability to do so. Why would Mr. al-Faisal be so skeptical of the President’s plans? Could it have anything to do with the Bush administration’s continually blowing off Saudi advice in the region?

Before the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 Mr. Saud al Faisal warned such an occupation could lead to sectarian strife and destabilize the region. In Feb. 2003 a Time report said “Saud said that the proposal was prompted by concern that the collapse of central order in Iraq could trigger a civil blood bath as well as a regional conflict, perhaps drawing in neighbors like Turkey and Iran.”

After Hamas won elections in the Palestinian Territories, the Saudi Foreign Minister encouraged the U.S. and its allies to talk with the newly elected democratic leaders. “On Hamas’ victory in recent elections and the suspension of financial aid to the Palestinian government, Prince Saud said this amounted to collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

After Israel invaded its democratic neighbor to the north, the Saudis denounced America’s knuckle dragging. Bush and Co. sat on their hands for almost a month before a cease fire was declared. Ooops, Bush did lift his fingers to accelerate bomb shipments to Israel.

Given this background Mrs. Rice has some gall expecting full support from the Saudi’s no matter how much oil we buy. Friends like to be listened to once in a while.

I wonder what the Saudi’s thought of Condi’s passing the plate of responsibility during her visit?

"We share risk and we share responsibility, because this is an area of the world which will very much be affected by how Iraq turns out," Rice said.

It seems the Saudis tepid support might be a withdrawal of that “shared responsibility”. What if they ask, “why should Saudi Arabia support you when the U.S. continually ignores our advice?” I can just see President Bush responding with a “D’oh!”

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