Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Growing Saudi Conundrum
Well, six years after 9/11, the Saudis continue to be a major obstacle in the fighting radical Islam, while remaining a necessary partner because of the oil reserves.

Two recent stories shed a clear light on the huge damage the Saudi royal family and business elite continue to do in hindering meaningful progress is shutting down the hate speech, bigotry and twisted theology that drive the _jihadist_ movement, financed by these actors.

The first was in the Wall Street Journal by Glenn Simpson, outlining the role of the al Rajhi family and banking institutions in funding radical Islamists, and what the U.S. knew about the activities.

In every case when U.S. officials could and should have been raising the issue publicly to force action, the administration opted for "quiet diplomacy," resulting in nothing.

While there is only circumstantial evidence the Al Rajhi network directly aided terrorists, it is clear that Islamic banks, while mostly doing legitimate business, are the institutions extremists rely on. Why? In part because they are _sharia_ compliant, and in part because the Islamic banks are largely exempt from Western (pagan) banking regulations, and have virtually no transparency requirements.

The article drops another interesting tidbit in the middle: That Saudi Arabia has never set up the commission, promised several years ago, to oversee Saudi charities, the lifeblood of many Islamist groups.

And, my sources tell me, they never set up the Financial Intelligence Unit either, and there has been virtually no cooperation on the financial side at all.

In essence, we still have the rivers of money flowing to spread _wahhabism_ around the world, with no control, oversight or interest in stopping the spread of that venom. Hardly bolsters the claim of the Saudis being a "strong partner in the war on terror." I wonder what a weak partner would look like.

The second shoe to drop is the splits with the Saudis over Iraq-a mess to be sure, and one with no easy answers. As the International Herald Tribune reports, the Saudis are intent on crippling the Shi'ite led government there and trying to use apparently forged documents with U.S. diplomats to convince them it is all an Iranian plot, let by the prime minister.

And perhaps it is, the waters are murky enough for many interpretations.

But aside from using apparently-forged documents to go after prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki (and there is plenty to go after there), the most interesting thing is the number of Saudis still making their way to Iraq to fight U.S. troops. And, of course, the very little effort the Saudis put into stopping them.

This goes back to the first point-no controls on the spread of _wahhabism,_ so how can one try to control or punish the behavior this teaching so strongly encourages? The short answer is one doesn't, and the Saudis don't. They have learned that talking, especially if done in very good English, will buy them all the time they need to play their lethal double game. Six years have proven them to be correct.
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