“Hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood, constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts…Any Muslim who is aware of his teachings of his religion and who adheres to the directives of the Qur’an and the Sunn’ah will never involve himself in such acts because they will invoke the anger of God Almighty and lead to harm and corruption on earth.” Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulema, Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Âlush, Sept. 15, 2001
Michael Moore’s new film “Fahrenheit 9/11” has done a tremendous favor for some proponents of a war upon the Arabian Peninsula. The film achieves what endless pages of conservative think-tank studies and panel discussions, hours of PR time and books can not: spill gasoline on the anti-Saudi sparks already ignited within the United States. Moore’s film lambastes the Saudis not only for their business relationships but also for leaving the US after the attacks of September 11th 2001 as did other non-Saudi officials on the same day when specific flights were permitted. The overwhelming popularity of this documentary takes the anti-Saudi message to a whole new market. It is the latest manifestation of a rationale for war that could finally execute a long-term plan to invade and occupy the Kingdom. In spite of its progressive producer and target audience, “Fahrenheit 9/11” falls lock-step in line with the stated agenda of neoconservative hawks: rid Arabia of the House of Saud thereby granting the US and allies full access to the Middle East’s biggest prize.
There is a growing assumption on the part of members of the US Congress, US-Saudi diplomats, and the American public that the Bush administration is making a “turnaround” in US policy towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because of neo-conservative and domestic interest group pressure. Those opposed to the current administration accuse the White House of maintaining ties to an enemy of America in exchange for lucrative business deals. In contrast, those who support ties with Saudi Arabia maintain that the US has no intention of severing relations with a regional stabilizing force and with long term friends in the House of Saud. Who is correct?
The US has not had wholly “friendly” intentions towards the Kingdom for the past 30 years. Any appearance of such is only the visible veneer of real US military policy. Declassified documents reveal that there has been a constant drumbeat to invade Saudi Arabia that has sounded behind the closed doors of our government. The Pentagon, for three decades, has formulated and updated secret plans to seize Saudi oil wells and rid the Kingdom of the ruling House of Saud. This is not only a neo-conservative cabal. Time and again plans have been made for an invasion of Saudi Arabia for a larger purpose: US control of the global oil supply thereby dominating global economic markets.
The most recent wave of charges that Saudi Arabia supports, condones, and aids terrorism signify a secondary and more public attempt to gain support to finally execute a thirty year old plan to occupy Saudi Arabia. Other regional players’ objectives, (securing oil supplies; the rationale of a “war on terror”) may add synergy and an unstoppable impetus for an American invasion.
This essay discloses and evaluates the motives and actions of those behind the new drive to occupy Saudi oil fields.
Classified Plans Brought To Light
In 1973, the Nixon administration described a plan of attack against Saudi Arabia to seize its oil fields in a classified Joint Intelligence Report entitled “UK Eyes Alpha”. British MI5 and MI6 were informed, and under British National Archive rules the document was declassified in December of 2003. The oil embargo had been over for only three weeks but “Eyes Alpha” suggested that the “US could guarantee sufficient oil supplies for themselves and their allies by taking the oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Gulf State of Abu Dhabi”. It followed that “pre-emptive” action would be considered, and that two brigades could seize the Saudi oilfields and one brigade each could take Kuwait and Abu Dhabi.
In February of 1975 the London Sunday Times revealed information from a leaked and classified US Department of Defense plan. The plan, drawn up by the Pentagon, was code named “Dhahran Option Four” and provided for an invasion of the world’s largest oil reserves, namely Saudi Arabia. See exhibit #1
Exhibit 1 The Take-Over Plan
(Source: London Sunday Times, February 1975, retouched by IRmep)
Also in 1975, Robert Tucker, US intelligence and military analyst, wrote an article for “Commentary” magazine, owned by the Jewish American Committee, entitled “Oil: The Issue of American Intervention”. Tucker stated that, “Without intervention there is a distinct possibility of an economic and political disaster bearing … resemblance to the disaster of 1930s…The Arab shoreline of the Gulf is a new El Dorado waiting for its conquistadors.” And this was followed in February of the same year by an article in Harper’s Magazine by a Pentagon analyst using a pseudonym, Miles Ignotus, emphasizing the need for the US to seize Saudi oilfields, installations and airports entitled “Seizing Arab Oil ”. According to James Akins, former US diplomat, the author was probably Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State at the time. Kissinger has neither confirmed nor ever denied the charge.
Further, in August of 1975, a report entitled, “Oil Fields as Military Objectives: A Feasibility Study”, was produced for the Committee on Foreign Relations. In this report, the CRS stated that potential targets for the US included Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria. “Analysis indicates … [that military forces of OPEC countries were] quantitatively and qualitatively inferior [and] could be swiftly crushed.”
The real premise of an attack against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been around since the Cold War. The idea was, however, revived under the aegis of a new “war against terrorism” on the charge of that the Saudi state supported such against the west. One nexus of this drive is Richard Perle.
Neo-conservative Designs on Saudi Arabia
Richard Perle is an outspoken critic of any Americans doing business with the Kingdom, despite his own attempt to secure $100 million in Saudi investment for his private venture capital firm. His ill-fated attempt to become a power-broker with one foot on in the door of the US Defense Policy board of the Department of Defense and another foot in the door of Trimeme capital investments is well documented . He has since become more hard-line, telling the National Review, “I think it’s a disgrace. The Saudis are a major source of the problem we face with terrorism. “ (Perle had to resign from the Defense Policy Board when his secret and extortive fundraising meetings with Saudi Arabian businessmen became public.)
Perle’s efforts to rearrange the dynamics of the region, including Saudi Arabia, have gone on for many years. Incoming Israeli Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Perle to draft a regional strategy paper for Israel. The Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies, a think tank based in Washington DC and Jerusalem published the completed paper, “ A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ”, emphasized the need to overturn the Oslo Accords and Middle East peace process. It demanded Chairman Yasser Arafat be blamed for every act of Palestinian terror; required the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athist regime in Iraq and Syria; and the force of democracy foisted upon the entire Arab world plus Iran. One senior Israeli intelligence officer stated the goal was to make Israel the dominant power in the region and expel the Palestinians. Perle’s efforts to neutralize international funding for the Palestinian resistance and support of Palestinians have driven his policy recommendations ever since.
Another author of “A Clean Break” was David Wurmser. In September of 2003 Wurmser was moved to the US State Department to work directly under Vice President Dick Cheney and his Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. David Wurmser’s wife, Meyrav, ran MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) alongside Colonel Yigal Carmon, of Israeli Army Intelligence. MEMRI specializes in selective retrieval , searching and translating especially plucked Arab language documents that confirm MEMRI’s bias that the Arab world despises the West. Meyrav Wurmser received her doctorate at George Washington University on the life of Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism and declared fascist, and hero of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Likud Party.
Saudi Arabia was again declared an enemy of the United States on July 10th, 2002, when RAND Corporation’s Laurent Murawiec gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Defense Policy Board at the invitation of Perle Like Meyrav Wurmser, Murawiec is also from George Washington University and listed as a past faculty member. He was also a follower of the Lyndon LaRouche cultist organization. This group indoctrinates its members to abandon their homes because “family values are really immoral”, according to those who left the group. (Lyndon LaRouche is a convicted felon, conspiracy theorist and UFO believer.)
Entitled “Taking Saudi Out Of Arabia” the PowerPoint presentation states “Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot” and declared that the Kingdom is an enemy of the USA. It advocated the US seize the Kingdom and its oil fields, invade Mecca and Medina, confiscate Saudi Arabian financial assets unless the Kingdom stop supporting anti-Western terrorist activities.
Saudi Arabia was declared as the “kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent” in the Middle East. Murawiec claimed, “Since independence, wars have been the principal output of the Arab world” and that “plot, riot, murder, coup are the only available means to bring about change…Violence is politics, politics is violence. This culture of violence is the prime enabler of terrorism. Terror as an accepted, legitimate means of carrying out politics has been incubated for 30 years…” James Akins explained the overall plans thusly: “It’ll be easier once we have Iraq. Kuwait, we already have. Qatar and Bahrain too. So it’s only Saudi Arabia we’re talking about, and the United Arab Emirates falls into place.”
The connections between individuals pressing for a US invasion of Saudi Arabia run deep. Richard Perle’s lifelong mentor was the RAND corporation’s late Albert Wohlstetter, the grandfather of neo-conservative analysts. Wohlstetter also was a Ahmed Chalabi’s classmate at the University of Chicago. Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress and the protagonist of the information provided to the US government regarding the thus far non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, is an indicted criminal in Jordan where he has been sentenced to more than 20 years’ hard labor for currency manipulation and embezzlement through Jordanian Petra Bank.
The analytical and populist groundswell of denunciation against Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism from progressive and conservative circles alike may culminate in an invasion sooner rather than later. Supporters within the current US administration can use this unity to execute another “blueprint” for US policy. It can follow as easily as Saddam Hussein’s “imminent threat towards America” and Iraq’s Wads served as the principle rationale for the US invasion of Iraq.
Target Saudi Arabia: Taking the Case from Think Tank to Theater
In reality there has been no hard evidence linking Saudi Arabian leaders and officials to terrorism, little evidence of Saudi subjects playing a mindful role, and far less financial ties to terrorism than could be found in most nations with a banking system. In fact, the US State Department lists the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Australia and indeed the United States itself as having Al Queda financial ties and connections. However, facts may not be enough to stem rising anti-Saudi sentiment among policy makers and average Americans.
The Murawiec PowerPoint indictment continued, stating that Saudi Arabia is “[a]n instable group: …Wahhabism loathes modernity, capitalism, human rights, religious freedom, democracy, republics, an open society” and that “Wahhabism is spreading world-wide” [sic] based upon Iran’s Revolution led by Shi’ite Ayatollah Khomeini; that “Wahhabism moves from Islam’s lunatic fringe”, and that there was a “[s]hift from pragmatic oil policy to promotion of radical Islam…. [Saudi Arabians are] treasurers of radical, fundamentalist, terrorist groups.”
Saudi Arabia is then charged with being “the chief vector of the Arab crisis … active at every level of the terror chain…[it] supports [US] enemies [and has] virulent hatred against US…. There is an “Arabia” but it need not be “Saudi”…[US must] stop any funding and support for any fundamentalist madrasa, mosque, ulama, predicator anywhere in the world…Dismantle, ban all the kingdom’s “Islamic charities”, confiscate their assets… [and] What the House of Saud holds dear can be targeted – Oil…the Holy Places…Saudi Arabia [is] the strategic pivot”.
Were these presentations not heard by top-level Bush administration officials they would be dismissed as simplistic absurdity. However, the sparks of a mass movement to demonize Saudi Arabia had already begun to ignite, and on June 6th 2002 the right wing Hudson Institute held a seminar called “Discourses on Democracy: Saudi Arabia, Friend or Foe?”, Laurent Murewiec and Richard Perle in attendance.
Of even further interest is the ironic and direct link between Richard Perle and terrorism. A recent fundraiser in support of the victims of the Iranian earthquake in Bam, sponsored by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, asked Richard Perle to be their keynote speaker. Despite rejections by other groups to speak at the event, based upon the US state department’s official designation that the MEK is an officially designated “foreign terrorist organization”, Richard Perle knew of the designation, ignored it, and was happy to oblige and raise monies – monies which were immediately seized after the event by U.S. Treasury agents. The MEK is the same terrorist organization that attempted to assassinate Richard Nixon in 1972.
Two weeks after the PowerPoint presentation to the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, the American Enterprise Institute held yet another seminar by Dore Gold, former UN Ambassador from Israel to promote his new book, “Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism”. Having never visited the country, Gold has been promoted on broadcast television networks as an “expert” on Saudi Arabia when not introduced as “an advisor of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon”.
Gold claims that the al-Haramain group has channeled massive funding to Al-Qaeda whilst omitting that Saudi Arabia shut down the organization and froze its assets. Gold’s strongest claim is an Israeli document claiming funds to Hamas come from Saudi Arabia. Hamas has strongly denied the charge of any Saudi government involvement and Saudi Arabia also dismissed the charges as false. Gold uses the book to promote the Netanyahu/Perle/Bush agenda to pursue Saudi Arabia “far more aggressively if Middle Eastern security is to be protected” and argues that Israel has only a “minor role” in Al-Qaeda related acts of terrorism because Saudi Arabia is to blame for funding the “global jihad of Al Qaeda”. Gold then testified before the United States’ Congress about the inherent evil of Saudi Arabia. Yet throughout the book Gold only confirms that terrorism connections come from foreigners who infiltrate the country, and non-Saudi governments. The book provides no proof of official or unofficial support.
Hudson Institute co-founder and neoconservative Max Singer wrote a paper sent to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment in May 2002 urging the outside break up of Saudi Arabia. On Oct 7th 2003 fellow arch conservative William Kristol, editor of Weekly Standard, stated that he was upset that the US had not gone beyond the war on Iraq to the “next regime change” of the “next horrible” Middle East dictator Bashar Assad of Syria.
Before publication of his book “Sleeping With The Devil” , Robert Baer, ex-CIA officer, was ordered by the CIA to remove multiple passages claiming special CIA knowledge of Saudi royals having funneled money to Al Qaeda for terrorist funding, assassination plots, and even Chechen rebels. He asserts that Saudi Arabia is a “powder keg waiting to explode”, “the royal family is “corrupt” “, “hanging on by a thread” and “as violent and vengeful as any Mafia family”. Baer, filled with loathing towards the Saudis, relies upon a tacit, yet rejected CIA stamp of approval, but also shows little hard evidence. Baer refused to comply with the CIA’s request “just [to] defy them”. The CIA is considering filing a lawsuit against Baer, who, like Gold, has also never personally visited Saudi Arabia.
Another author who has made the best-seller list is Gerald Posner, who wrote “Why America Slept” which implicates Osama bin Laden and the Saudi government. In Posner’s opinion the rulers have been paying hush money to bin Laden for years in order to prevent terrorist attacks upon the Kingdom. One might consider it strange that there have been multiple fatal attacks upon civilians in Saudi Arabia if bin Laden receives such bribes. And how was Posner able to create a book with such a detailed indictment within a few months when US intelligence has taken years? Posner presents no clarifications.
The US government itself not only unknowingly harbored and sponsored terrorists (9/11 Al-Qaeda members, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Mujahedin-e-Khalq [MEK], IRA, etc.) it consciously negotiated with Iranian terrorist groups to secure US troop safety from attack in Iraq from Iranians in exchange for Iraqi weapons. Up until 2001 and since the mid-nineties the US dealt directly with the Taliban for oil pipeline rights, agreeing to pay the Taliban tax on every one of the million cubic feet of fuel that would have passed through Afghanistan daily. Vice President Dick Cheney, Halliburton CEO at the time, stated, “Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” During this timeframe Hamid Karzai was the Taliban’s deputy foreign minister and a former UNOCAL consultant (UNOCAL leading these negotiations along with Paul Wolfowitz aide Zalmay Khalilzad).
On November 9th 2003 Israel confirmed that it had failed in secret negotiations with Hezbollah, sleeping with their own devil. (In January 2004 the Israeli negotiations with their designated terrorist group Hezbollah bore fruit, when a prisoner swap became actuality.) Gerald Posner writes in his book that terrorists had been set up by the US posing as Saudi interrogators, releasing a flood of information under excess cruelty. This charge would mean that the US was in violation of international law by using torture on terror suspects.
Whatever inconsistencies exist between US public relations and the “war on terror”, the efforts to tie the Saudi government or “Saudis” in general to terrorism is taking effect. Merit or evidence is not the issue. Passion and mobilization is. The movie “Fahrenheit 9/11”, true to its title, turns up the heat through an entirely new American audience: Democrats and Progressives.
The Approaching Decision
On June 25, 2004, Michael Moore’s film, “Fahrenheit 9/11” opened to 500 screens and insatiable crowds. The film’s message to audiences is clear and simple: the US-Saudi relationship must end. However, Americans should take time to go beyond the film, books, and talk-show pundits to re-examine the complicated history between the US and Saudi Arabia and real motives of parties pushing for war. By understanding the motives and histories of the driving personalities new and old, we can uncover and more fully comprehend an growing case for war in Arabia.
Americans will soon be asked to make a decision about whether invasion is the proper course for American policy. But unlike the build up to a war in Iraq, an informed decision will serve America in a way that hidden plans, rationales and one-sided messages on sale at the box-office cannot.