Saudis running U.S. policy?
Vexing decisions facing Obama administration

Posted: May 12, 2009
Joseph Farah

One does not have to look back all that far to the day that Obama publicly bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia and to no other head of State while visiting Europe to attend an economic summit.

Parts of the United States' policy in the Middle East under the Obama administration may, in fact, be influenced by Saudi Arabia, which is worried over increasing overtures by the U.S. for a dialogue with Iran and may be leveraging the Pakistan situation to its advantage, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The Saudi kingdom, the leader of Sunni Muslims worldwide, is concerned about U.S. interaction with Shiite Iran, and may be able to manipulate U.S. Middle East policy with the Pakistan issue and push the U.S. towards support in next month's parliamentary elections of Lebanese Sunnis, whom analysts have described as Saudi-backed Wahhabists.

Obama administration overtures already has begun toward the Saudis. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked them to help develop a political consensus in Pakistan to deal with the Taliban threat. While the Saudis also have considerable influence over the Pakistani government, they share the same influence over the Taliban.

The Saudis provide financial and ideological support to the Wahhabi Sunni Taliban. Initially beginning in 1996 when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries all controlled by Sunni governments which recognized the Taliban government. The other two were Pakistan which helped create the Taliban to extend what it perceives is its traditional sphere of influence in Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates. With the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Saudis continue to provide support for their efforts in Afghanistan, including the killing of U.S. soldiers.

Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.

In Lebanon, the Saudis back the Sunni March 14 coalition led by Saad Hariri, whose father, Rafiq Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister, was a Saudi favorite before his assassination in February 2005. The Saudis and the March 14 group blame the Syrians for his death.

The U.S. has been supporting the March 14 coalition against the March 8 group which is dominated by the Shiite Hezbollah. It's also comprised of Marionite Christians. The U.S., which has declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization, is very concerned that this Syrian and Iranian-supported Shiite group will take over the government in the upcoming June parliamentary elections. The U.S. has made veiled threats to curb assistance to the Lebanese government should Hezbollah take it over. In return, Hezbollah is almost certain to limit any interaction with the U.S. should it win. One complaint is that the U.S. seeks elections through a democratic process that, in this case, may favor Hezbollah. Yet, the U.S. cannot accept the results.

The British government, on the other hand, has dropped its opposition in recent weeks to meeting and working with the political wing of Hezbollah by distinguishing it from the group's military element.

The U.S. has been obliged to support Hariri's Sunni-led majority party, which has vowed to refuse joining the government should Hezbollah win. Hariri's group also opposes any dialogue with Syria, an approach also backed by the Obama administration. Because the Saudis believe the Syrians were behind the assassination of the senior Hariri, Riyadh has maintained chilly relations with Damascus. In fact, the Saudis are financing armed clashes of the Sunni March 14 opposition with the Syrian-backed Alawite minority and Shiites in northern Lebanon. The U.S. is providing training and equipment to March 14 militia groups, according to informed sources.

"The Saudis are supporting the Wahhabi Sunnis of Saad Hariri in Lebanon and that's what they are, Wahabbists, said one Middle East analyst.

Indeed, Wahhabism, an extreme form of Sunni Islamic teaching, is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida represents Wahhabism in its purist form. However, Saudi Arabia has propagated the Wahhabist form of Islam by supporting its teachings through madrassas and financed these learning centers through charities located in various countries, including the U.S.

In the U.S., these charities and madrassas have helped raise funds for al-Qaida and continue to provide funding for the Sunni Hamas to help finance their terrorist operations.