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January 21, 2005

Faster, Please

"Axis of Evil, I'd like you to meet 'Outposts of Tyranny.'"

Axis, Outposts.

Outposts, Axis. I'm sure you'll find you have a lot in common."

Not the least of which is that, for the most part, we'd label you than do anything about you--to which I hope the response would be "One at a time, sir."

And, as bad as Cuba is, is it really more of an Outpost of Tyranny than Saudi Arabia? Which is a larger producer of hate and lies, Castro's crippled Communism, or Fahd's greasy Sharia?

If David Duke ruled his own kingdom, would President Bush invite him and his envoys to socialize at his ranch, praise them publicly and permit his advisers to do so? Not likely.

And yet one would have to be a Duke-style neo-Nazi (or the genuine, German article) to spew the anti-Semitic venom that routinely simmers within Saudi institutions.
Though sometimes hassled by Tehran, Iran's Jews may practice Judaism. Even Iraq has some 100 or so elderly Jews who pray at Baghdad's synagogue. While these two members of the Axis of Evil permit Jewish worship, America's "moderate ally" forbids non-Islamic devotion and is basically Jew-free. As a Saudi embassy spokesman told me: "100 percent of Saudi Arabia's citizens are Muslim."

Despite all this, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer practically delivered a singing telegram to the Saudi ambassador when he visited Bush's ranch on August 27. Prince Bandar is "a very seasoned diplomat," Fleischer crooned. "He's a very affable fellow, very good humor, speaks English better than most Americans."

For his part, President Bush drove Prince Bandar around in his pickup truck and praised "the eternal friendship" between America and the arid tyranny.

Uplifting rhetoric about spreading Democracy, Freedom and Liberty is all very nice, but until Bush applies it that principle to his oh-so-connected friends it should be taked with a grain of salt.

First step, appointing an ambassador who actually speaks Arabic to the Saudi Arabian embassy.

In April 1988 Saudi Arabia asked the U.S. to withdraw its newly appointed ambassador, Hume Horan, after only six months. News reports said King Fahd just didn't like the U.S. envoy. What the Saudis didn't like about him, though, was that he was the best Arabic speaker in the State Department, and had used his language skills to engage all kinds of Saudis, including the kingdom's conservative religious leaders who were critical of the ruling family. The Saudis didn't want someone so adroit at penetrating their society, so - of course - we withdrew Mr. Horan.

Ever since then we've been sending non-Arabic-speaking ambassadors to Riyadh - mostly presidential cronies who knew exactly how to penetrate the White House but didn't have a clue how to penetrate Saudi Arabia.

Second step, amending the Foreign Agent Registration and Lobbying Disclosure Acts so that former members of the United States government are not allowed to act as agents of a foreign company or power, or to lobby on their behalf, after they have complete government service, period.

When the Saudis are as nervous about our intentions as Iran is now, when Prince Bandar is as popular in Washington as a case of the crabs, then I'll believe.

Posted by Bigwig at January 21, 2005 12:06 PM | TrackBack
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Hear, hear. There are trees dead these past 20 years that are less rotten than the House of Saud.

Posted by: Lex at January 21, 2005 01:51 PM
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