Saudi Arabia 'Is a Kernel of Evil in the Middle East'

Daily Mail (London), August 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

Saudi Arabia 'Is a Kernel of Evil in the Middle East'


SAUDI Arabia has been accused of being a major backer of terrorism and an enemy of America.

The explosive claim, in a briefing to a powerful Pentagon advisory board, came to light yesterday and immediately caused outrage in Washington.

It was made by Laurent Murawiec, an analyst with the Rand Corporation - one of the world's most respected thinktanks - to prominent intellectuals and former senior officials who advise the Pentagon on defence policy.

He told the Defence Policy Board: 'The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader.' Saudis made up the majority of the September 11 hijackers and the atrocity was plotted by Saudi-born terror leader By William Lowther in Washington Osama Bin Laden, he said Mr Murawiec went on: 'Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies. It is the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent in the Middle East.' He suggested Saddam Hussein should be overthrown and replaced with an Iraqi leader friendly to the U.S. so it could end its reliance on Saudi oil.

The White House should issue an ultimatum to the Saudis that if they did not stop backing terrorism, the U.S. would seize their oilfields and freeze their vast financial assets invested in America.

After Saudi Arabia, Iraq has the world's second-largest oil reserves.

The advisory board is chaired by hard-liner Dr Richard Perle, a former assistant Defence Secretary who is close to President Bush and one of the most prominent advocates of invading Iraq.

While Mr Murawiec has no political or policy power base, the briefing and the way it has been publicised strongly indicate that his views have substantial support within the right wing of the government.

And although the White House was trying to distance itself from Mr Murawiec last night, others close to the Bush administration were not.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: 'People used to rationalise Saudi behaviour.

You don't hear that anymore.

'There's no doubt they are recognising reality and that Saudi Arabia is a problem.' It was a mistake to consider Saudi Arabia a friendly country, said Kenneth Adelman, a former aide to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

He is a member of the policy board but did not attend the July 10 briefing.

The view that Saudi Arabia was an adversary of the U.S. 'is certainly more prevalent than a year ago. …

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