[DEBATE] : US: Saudi Arabia destabilising Iraq
Riaz K. Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Mon Jul 30 09:23:55 BST 2007
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2007
0:18 MECCA TIME, 21:18 GMT
US: Saudi Arabia destabilising Iraq
Khalilzad said that Saudi Arabia and other US friends were not doing
enough to help Iraq [AP] The US ambassador to the United Nations has
accused Saudi Arabia and other US allies in the Middle East of
undermining efforts to curb violence in Iraq.
Zalmay Khalilzad's comments, during a CNN interview on Sunday, follow
reports that the US is set to announce the proposed sale of $20bn in
weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Khalilzad said he was also referring to Saudi Arabia when he wrote in an
opinion piece in the New York Times last week that "several of Iraq's
neighbours - not only Syria and Iran but also some friends of the US -
are pursuing destabilising policies".
"Yes, well, there is no question that ... Saudi Arabia and a number of
other countries are not doing all they can to help us in Iraq,"
Khalilzad, the former US ambassador to Iraq, said.
The envoy said that some of Iraq's neighbours were not engaging the
government or the Shia-led majority and had no diplomatic representation
"The level of positive effort that they are making compared to the
stakes involved for the region is minimal," he said.
Iraqi officials have openly accused Saudi Arabia of funding Sunni
fighters and failing to prevent would-be suicide bombers from crossing
the Saudi border into Iraq.
Khalilzad's comments came a day before Condoleezza Rice, the US
secretary of state, and Robert Gates, US defence secretary, go to the
Middle East to bolster Iraq and discuss weapons sales with allies.
Rice and Gates will make rare joint visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia
before separate trips to other parts of the region.
Rice will also travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah to meet Israeli and
Palestinian officials [AFP] The duo "are going to be talking to the
Saudis as well as others about what they might do" in supporting the
Iraqi government, not only on the security front but also diplomatically
and financially, Sean McCormack, the US state department spokesman, said.
In a bid to soothe concerns of pro-Western Sunni nations worried about
Iran, Washington is also expected to discuss military aid packages and
arms sales with them.
The arms deals, according to one administration official, are aimed at
shoring up US allies in the Middle East and countering "a more
US allies in the Gulf are "very concerned about what our commitment and
the possibility of withdrawal from Iraq means for the region", a
Pentagon official said.
Arms deal block
In related news, Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler, two US Democratic
representatives, said on Sunday, they would introduce legislation to
block the Saudi arms deal, accusing the oil-rich country of exporting
terrorism and acting against US interests.
"We need to send a crystal clear message to the Saudi Arabian government
that their tacit approval of terrorism can't go unpunished," Weiner said.
"Saudi Arabia should not get an ounce of military support from the US
until they unequivocally denounce terrorism and take tangible steps to
Weiner and Nadler said they would introduce legislation to block the
deal, and emphasised that 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001,
were Saudi citizens.
US media has reported that the Bush administration is set to announce a
series of arms deals worth at least $20bn with Saudi Arabia and the five
other Gulf states on Monday. Source: Agencies
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from
More information about the Debate-list