Where to begin the roll call of follies? First of all, we are waging our so-called “War on Terror” against the wrong enemies. On 9/11 we were attacked by a Saudi Arabian group trained in Pakistan-controlled Afghanistan; we rooted the Pakistanis and their Taliban puppets out of Afghanistan, but allowed them and their Saudi friends to escape. Then we invaded Iraq, which had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, and now we are threatening to attack Iran and Syria, two other innocent bystanders to the global terrorist conspiracy.
There’s a long pattern to all this, dating back to 1979, when a group of armed Saudi extremists, followers of the same nasty brand of Sunni Islam as Osama bin Laden, Taliban and company, occupied the central mosque in Mecca at the height of the annual Hajj, when millions of pilgrims from all over the Moslem world visit the holy places in Saudi Arabia. A new book by Yaroslav Trofimov, The Siege of Mecca, describes how the mosque was seized, how the Saudi government used French commandos to kill or capture the extremists, and, most important, how the U.S. mysteriously claimed that the occupiers of the mosque were Shi’a Moslems in the pay of Iran, a case of mistaken identity akin to accusing Yassir Arafat of being a fanatic Zionist or Ariel Sharon of plotting to restore the Caliphate.
This was not an isolated incident. When the Khobar Towers, an apartment complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia housing U.S. military personnel, was bombed in 1989, President Clinton’s then-FBI chief Louis Freeh led an outraged chorus accusing Iran of being behind the bombing, despite the fact that the Saudi government denied American agents access to the accused bombers, tortured confessions out of them and suppressed vital evidence in the case. Even after his tenure at the FBI ended, Freeh continued to crusade for an informal indictment of the Iranian government in connection with the bombing.
Since then, it has become increasingly obvious that the attack on the Khobar Towers was a homegrown Saudi operation carried out by al-Qaeda, one of a whole series of attacks inside Saudi Arabia with similar targets and virtually identical modus operandi.
From the mosque takeover to Khobar Towers to 9/11, the pattern has been the same: Saudi Arabian Sunni Moslem extremists carry out attacks, which the U.S. promptly blames, with no supporting evidence, on Iran, with Iraq and Syria named as co-conspirators in the case of the Sept. 11 hijackings. And the idiocy continues today: the Bush Administration is currently blaming our troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan on Iran, when at least half of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudi Arabians, and the insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan are based in Saudi Arabia’s ally Pakistan, and are believers in the same brand of fanatical Sunni Islam as Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family.
Hoist in our own petard, indeed; wedgied by our own ignorance and greed. Our leaders don’t understand anything about the Islamic world, and are totally compromised by their financial ties with Saudi Arabia. At one time, we were powerful enough to survive our mistakes, but the world has changed. Our alliance with Turkey is fraying. China is eyeing the same gas and oil resources we crave, our alliance with Turkey is fraying, and our moral stature around the globe has shrunk to near-nothingness; we can bomb Iran, sure, but Russia can cut off Western Europe’s fuel supply in retaliation, and, sorry, there already is an Islamic Bomb, fifty of them in fact, weaponized and ready to go in a Pakistan that’s half an inch from anarchy and an al-Qaeda-aided coup.
What did Costanza call it on Seinfeld? An “Atomic Wedgie”? Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. Hope and pray we never find out just how much.