My Thoughts on Saudi Arabia in December 2002

In the light of Roger Boyes’ article in yesterday’s ‘The Times’ (Time to tell the Saudis some home truths) I thought I might post the column I wrote for Wessex Jewish News in the winter of 2002. Here it is, as published:

A year and more after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Centre, the picture is starting to become clearer. First we thought that the threat to the civilized world was one mad fundamentalist Moslem terrorist called Osama. Polish off him and his hundred or so fanatical followers, the thinking went, and we’ll be safe. Then the pendulum swung the other way: over a billion Moslems were poised to engulf us in an apocalyptic clash of civilizations, and we were being faced with the biggest threat since Hitler.
In fact neither of these extremes is true. The enemy is neither a tiny uncatchable guerrilla band nor half the world. It is a large but finite and geographically localised political unit. But it is not Saddam’s Iraq.
The enemy is a creed, a party and a state. Its name is Wahhabism and its state is Saudi Arabia. This evil cult – it is a perversion of true Islam that should not be dignified with the name religion – enforces sharia law without one iota of the mercy that Mohammed intended when he propounded it. Wahhabism relates to Islam as the Inquisition in Spain related to Roman Catholicism, or Pol Pot’s re-education committees related to Socialism. It is the creed of the Taliban. It has also taken hold of Somalia, northern Nigeria and some other petty states; but it is in Saudi Arabia that it poses the greatest threat, and it is there that it must be eradicated.
Everything that antisemites say about Jews is in fact true about the Saudis. They own great swathes of Manhattan, Frankfurt and the City of London. Their financial clout is unparalleled: not the paltry £100 million or so of Bin Laden, but £100 billion or more. Our elected leaders take their suggestions as orders they dare not disobey.
The duty of America and its allies is clear. Once we have polished off Saddam and taken control of his oil, we must turn our attention to Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud must go the way of the Chrysanthemum Throne. General MacArthur’s Japan must be our template for a new order in the Middle East. It is blindingly obvious that the rulers of that region are utterly unfit to control all that oil, which we in the civilised nations need to run the world. It must be supplied to us at a fair price; and the profits from it must go to re-shaping the nations of that region into liberal democracies with freedom of speech, equality of opportunity, a free market economy and equal rights for all.

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