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Middle East: Discussion
Sonia dropped Cairo visit plan
- By Seema Mustafa
New Delhi, Nov. 12: India was the only country in the developing world to be represented at Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s funeral in Cairo on Friday by a delegation led by a foreign minister. All other developing countries, unlike many from Europe, were represented by Presidents and Prime Ministers, with many like Pakistan declaring a three-day period of national mourning.

New Delhi, which is looking to strengthen its strategic and economic relations with the United States, took the deliberate decision to maintain a low-key level of sorrow for the departed leader, who had always considered India to be a close friend. <b>Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was initially expected to lead the delegation, decided against it after consultations with those in the government and the Congress Party</b>. Senior advisers had confirmed on Thursday that she was "very likely" to attend the funeral but by the evening it was clear that the Indian delegation would not include her. <b>Sources said her presence, the first at a large gathering of world leaders, would have given Indian participation a higher profile than the government felt was desirable at this stage</b>.

Officially, of course, it was stated that there was never any question of Mrs Sonia Gandhi participating in the funeral. The Congress Working Committee at an emergency meeting on Friday adopted a resolution commemorating the Palestinian leader. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the Palestinian mission in New Delhi for all of five minutes and signed the register. The low-key response was all the more noticeable as just 10 days ago India had declared three-day mourning for UAE leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam representing the country at the funeral.

There is also a distinct East-West divide noticeable in the list of dignitaries, with most Western countries, like India, being represented at Arafat’s funeral by foreign ministers, while most African and West Asian countries were represented by Kings, Presidents and vice-presidents. Jordan was represented by King Abdullah, Pakistan by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Abdullah, Sudan by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, South Africa by President Thabo Mbeki, Somalia by President Abdullahi Yusuf, Turkey by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysia by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Indonesia by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe and Lebanon by both President General Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Omar Karami.

The Western representation, like that of India, was mostly at the foreign minister level. Britain sent foreign secretary Jack Straw, <b>while Washington did not even send a Cabinet member: it was represented by assistant secretary of state William Burns</b>. Most European countries sent their respective foreign ministers. The political decision by India not to join the developing world in highlighting its close relations with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians has surprised analysts here, with a former foreign secretary wondering at the reason for the UPA government’s response. As he pointed out, Arafat always had close links with the Congress Party and in particular with late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and <b>"it is surprising that the party prefers to follow the policies set out by the BJP government instead of rediscovering its own friends and allies." </b>
The Middle East Forum-
<b>Does Human Rights Law Apply to Terrorists?</b>---by Ted Lapkin
<b>Lebanon's Pro-Syria Government Quits After Protests </b>

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 28 - Lebanon's prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned Monday, dissolving the country's pro-Syrian government and setting the stage for an intense struggle over the relationship between Syria and Lebanon.

The surprise resignation came as the streets of Beirut were filled with tens of thousands of flag-waving protesters and hours after a grueling no-confidence debate in the Lebanese Parliament. Pressure on both the government and Syria has risen steadily since the car-bomb assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two weeks ago, for which government opponents blame Syria.

The Lebanese opposition has demanded a full investigation of Mr. Hariri's assassination, the resignation of the government, and an immediate pullout of Syria's 14,000 troops from Lebanon. Opposition leaders say they have consciously imitated the popular uprising in Ukraine, where demonstrators forced the government to call a new election after accusations of corruption.

Marches over the past two weeks here culminated in a huge demonstration at Martyr's Square on Monday in open defiance of an Interior Ministry order against the gathering, as the parliamentary session began.

Lebanese soldiers circled much of the city center with barbed wire and barricades on Sunday evening to block the Monday demonstration, but to little avail.

Syria has been under intense American pressure because of its support for anti-Israel terrorism and for what Washington says is its tolerance of wanted former Iraqi officials taking refuge in Syria. In addition, the Bush administration has pressed for Syrian troops to leave Lebanon.

Lebanese opposition leaders say they feel that the Damascus government is more vulnerable than ever and that this is the moment to act, especially as Lebanon's wary communities of Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druse have grown more united in their demands for the Syrians to leave.

Mr. Karami, a Syria loyalist, announced his resignation in a terse statement as Parliament reconvened debate on the confidence measure. "Out of concern that the government does not become an obstacle to the good of the country, I announce the resignation of the government I had the honor to lead," he said.

Lebanese television reported that President Émile Lahoud had accepted Mr. Karami's resignation and that he would soon establish a caretaker government.

Mr. Karami, scion of the Lebanese independence hero Abdul Hamid Karami and brother of the multiterm Prime Minister Rashid Karami, who was assassinated in 1987, was defiant as he faced Parliament on Monday morning.

"I call on everyone to be patient and avoid taking their strength from abroad, allowing Lebanese demands to be manipulated by the ongoing conflict in the Arab world," he warned, in an allusion to growing pressure by the United States and France on his government and on Syria.

The resignation is likely to help budding democratic efforts throughout the Middle East. Few opposition members of Parliament expected to win the no-confidence measure, but in a nod to the growing populism of the opposition, Mr. Karami bowed to the Lebanese street.

"The government would have won the confidence vote, they weren't afraid of that," said Jihad al-Khazen, a professor of political science at American University in Beirut. "But they lost confidence on the street, and that was awkward. They lost legitimacy, they lost credibility."

Parliamentary elections had already been planned for May.

Mr. Karami became prime minister after Mr. Hariri resigned last October in protest over the lifting of term limits on Lebanon's presidency that allowed the pro-Syrian president, Mr. Lahoud, to remain in office for three more years.

In scenes reminiscent of protests in the United States in the 1960's, protesters rushed to get to the site of the demonstration, just yards away from Mr. Hariri's grave, and camped through the night, waving Lebanese flags as anthems played on. Many handed flowers to the soldiers and beseeched them to cooperate with them. Despite orders to prevent demonstrators from entering the area, soldiers eventually relented to the flood of largely young protestors on Monday, and the demonstration carried on peacefully.

"We came to say that conditions are not acceptable anymore," said Tony Khouri, who had come from Amman, Jordan, with his wife, Caroline, on family business and stayed on for the demonstration. "The goal is for everyone to stop interfering in our country and let us take care of ourselves," he said, alluding to Syria's grip on Lebanon.

Such talk was virtually unheard of in public only a year ago. But the resignation of Mr. Karami underscored Syria's weakening grip on Lebanon. For more than 30 years, Syria has held sway over Lebanon's political and economic life through its military and proxy over the government, arming Hezbollah, and using the country as a gateway into the global economy.

Mr. Hariri's assassination on Feb. 14 turned the opposition movement, which initially began in 2001 and took shape in 2004, into a populist movement on the streets.

"It was unprecedented for the Syrians," Dr. Khazen said. "It is the first time in Lebanon we see such national unity on such a crucial issue." Syria has faced fierce pressure in recent weeks. The Bush administration recalled its ambassador to Syria last week, and has demanded that Syria leave Lebanon completely.

United Nations investigators landed in Beirut on Friday to investigate the assassination, emphasizing the lack of confidence many Lebanese have in Lebanon's Syrian-backed government. The international community, together with Lebanon's growing opposition movement, has increased pressure on Syria. Arab leaders like the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, have also sent Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, messages to withdraw, warning of dire consequences otherwise.

Syrian officials described the resignation on Monday as a "Lebanese issue." "We hope that a Lebanese government will emerge to lead Lebanon to what is best for Lebanon and for the rest of the region in this very delicate time," an official of the Foreign Ministry said.

State Department officials, who have the called the fall of the government the cedar revolution - like Ukraine's orange revolution - praised the opposition's efforts. At the White House, officials were elated, though they cautioned that the government's decision to resign did not assure a fair election.

Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, told reporters, "The resignation of the Karami government represents an opportunity for the Lebanese people to have a new government that is truly representative of their country's diversity."

The dissolution of the government may have been the easiest of the opposition's goals, other analysts say, warning that Syria's response remains unclear.

"It's just a first success for the opposition," said Michael Young, an analyst and journalist based in Beirut. "You have to watch out there isn't a military government or some kind of martial law that takes over."

The instability threatens to damage the Lebanese economy and cleave divisions in the country. "In my opinion, he wants to throw the responsibility on someone else, and that somebody else will not be able to solve Lebanon's problem," said Adnan Araqji, a close confidante of Mr. Hariri's. "They now have to sit at the table and negotiate with each other, or else the country will go to ruin."  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>At least 14 militants killed in three-day gunbattle in S Arabia</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Riyadh, April 6, 2005|04:50 IST
At least 14 militants, including a number of most-wanted Al-Qaeda suspects, have been killed in three days of fighting with Saudi security forces in the north of the kingdom, officials said on Tuesday.

The interior ministry said 14 members of the "deviant group" — official terminology for Al-Qaeda suspects — had been confirmed killed in the clashes at Al-Rass in Al-Qassim region, considered a haven for Islamist militants.

Security forces had "successfully completed their tasks" at the site, about 320 kilometres north of Riyadh, the ministry said, indicating the confrontation was over but that the toll could rise further.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
There is widespread support to such terrorists among the local masses in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is also into establishing a superficial democratic system. It just had elections for the Riyadh municipality and it is about to have one for Jeddah ( of course, women are not eligible to vote). However, a lot of (even well educated) people <b> do not want democracy or elections.</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->However, a lot of (even well educated) people do not want democracy or elections. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Elite will lose there power and may be wealth which discourage them to take democracy route.

I do not think it is the loss of power or wealth. Islam is not egalitarian. It respects power , wealth or other appurtenants that go with them. Remember that the Saudi society has been mostly tribal and clannish where tribal and clan power-centres have always been widely respected. Islam (at least the Hanbali/Wahhabi interpretation widely practised there) allows "slaves" and "obedience" to power. To overthrow the Head of State is "<i>haraami</i>". Many educated Saudis (even those exposed to liberal societies like India or the West) otherwise feel that "democracy" is against "Islam". Such a feeling is rooted in the concept of "Caliph", one which they still expect in the mould of those early "Four Guided Caliphs" to appear somehow and bring back the glory of the days of Prophet Muhammad or Abu Baker.

Al-Qaeda is not the only terror outfit in Saudi Arabia. There were the "Ikhwanis", a group setup by Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman al-Saud in early 20th century to help him drive out the Hashemite king out of Makkah, Medinah area (Hijaz province) and to unite the other tribes under himself. There are a large number of modern-day Ikhwanis, who want to implement a distilled purer form of Islamic governance in Saudi Arabia. They have been warring with successive Kings of the al-Saud dynasty. Today, they have probably linked up with al-Qaeda. These Ikhwanis have a large moral support base within KSA.
In any democratic election in SA, Islamist will win. When in power their principles require them to suppress what they see as impious and subversive activities, it means grand palaces and Harem filled with western models. For Islamist, democracy is the road to power, but it will be one-way road. And it will be One man, one vote and once only. For educated people combination of this scenario is scary.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Saudi King Fahd is dead</b>
Associated Press
Riyadh, August 1, 2005
Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, who moved his country closer to the United States but ruled in name only since suffering a stroke in 1995, has died, the Saudi royal court said early on Monday. He was believed to be 82.

The king's brother, Crown Prince Abdullah, has been appointed the country's new monarch.
At 81 new king doesn't have much time left to rule. Resentment against nepotism/long rule of present family and rise of Jihadis will be a cause of concern for the world. Pak is working closely with Sunni SA and has very good relations.

Unstability in SA and if Mushy goes, this will be a fertile ground for spreading religious extremism in the world (read India).Already there are reports of possible infighting within the ruling family for succession a ka Mughal dynasty.

Any overt effort by US to control the situation will only add fuel to the fire.It is catch 22 situation.
Oil prices already hit $ 61. With belligerent Iran and deteriorating Iraq, OIl prices will hit the North. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><b>$ 90-100 by year end??????</b></span>

<<<<Tensions remain among Saudi royals
By Jon Leyne
BBC News

Crown Prince Abdullah is part of a generation of ageing royals.

Following the death of King Fahd, the Saudi Royal family moved quickly to name Crown Prince Abdullah as his successor.

Prince Sultan has also been named as the new Crown Prince.

The announcement of the succession to King Fahd was made as soon as his death was confirmed.

Saudi spokesman have stressed there will be no change in policy.

<b>The markets have taken the news relatively calmly but behind the scenes there's still scope for plenty of turmoil, and despite the air of continuity and stability, tensions remain within the royal family. </b>
Next Generation

Crown Prince Abdullah has effectively run the country since King Fahd suffered a major stroke in 1995.

But jobs will now need to be found for the members of King Fahd's court, his royal circle.

Also the new king, Abdullah, is rumoured to get on very badly with his designated successor, Prince Sultan.

In any case, they are both members of the same generation as King Fahd - all are sons of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz.

That means thoughts are already turning to the next generation, and who will succeed these ageing Royals.

In one hint of the jostling for position, Saudi Arabia's long term ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar, left his job and returned home recently - perhaps to secure a position in the new administration.

<b>Because of Saudi Arabia's pivotal place as the world's biggest oil producer, any uncertainty could have a dramatic effect on the world economy. </b>

And in the background there's always the question of whether the Islamic militants who have been waging a sporadic campaign in Saudi Arabia will take the opportunity to revive their attacks. >>>>
I think we may see violent infighting between sons. During Mughal period they used to kill sibling, but we haven't seen any sign yet in SA. There are more than 3000+ princes in SA.
This transition was too smooth.

Initially House Saud survived because of Britain now USA will keep them floating till last drop of oil.

Link<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Some people expect him to face behind-the-scenes competition from a clique of half brothers who hold their own powerful posts and have close ties with Saudi Arabia's conservative Muslim clerics, although the royal family's swift backing for the new king hinted at some consensus.

With oil markets already jittery because of rising consumption and strained production capacity, prices for crude jumped after the death of King Fahd early Monday even though Saudi oil policy is expected to be unchanged under Abdullah

SA Family tree
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Future of Arabia </b>
The Pioneer Edit Desk
The shifting sands of Arabia will soon obliterate all traces of the unmarked grave of King Fahd who died on Monday. Hopefully, the House of Saud, no longer considered unshakeable, will not meet the same fate in the near future.

Ever since King Abdul Aziz bin Saud, a Bedouin chieftain, forged the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, there have been tectonic social, political and economic upheavals that have radically altered the perspective of Arabs not only in that country, but also in states across West Asia and North Africa.

The emergence of oil as a key denominator of world economics, the astonishing influence that the US has come to wield on both sides of the Suez Canal at least among the kings, emirs and presidents of dubious repute and questionable legitimacy and the continuous state of war at which Arabs have found themselves for decades, has had a telling impact in the form of resurgent Islamism.

King Fahd, known in his younger days as a liberal came to be recognised in his lifetime as one of the key instigators of Islamist fanaticism and a major investor in jihad as we know it today. He literally spent billions of dollars building an army of "holy warriors" to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

He lavished funds on the Saudi clergy to promote fundamentalist Wahabi Islam at home, arrogating to himself the remarkable title of "Custodian of Holy Mosques" and directing the harshest possible crackdown on dissent.

And all this merely because he did not want Ayatollah Khomeini, a Shia, to emerge as the popular face of Islam and pose a challenge to Sunni dominance. It was not only Saudi Arabia that he desired to dominate, but also all of Arabia.

He paid for his folly in his lifetime, too. Nothing could have highlighted the dangers of his misguided shift towards orthodoxy and fundamentalism more than the fact that 15 of the 19 suicide bombers who struck on 9/11 were Saudi men. In a sense, his was a life of missed opportunities, botched policies and amazing contradictions.

He could have used the unimaginable oil wealth of his kingdom to usher in a new, modern era for his people and influence rulers in the neighbourhood to part ways with the past. He could have forced an equitable Arab-Israeli rapprochement but he chose to feed old animosities.

Yet, to ensure the survival of the House of Saud, he unabashedly looked to the US for help. King Abdullah, who has now assumed the throne, is perceived as a moderniser who has been pushing for reforms at home; if he steps up the process of granting political freedom and ushering in social reform, he could greatly influence the rulers of the other 21 Arab states.

For starters, he could push the Arab League into accepting a deal on peace with Israel, an effort that has faltered in the past because he lacked full legitimacy. But those hopeful of seeing King Abdullah take his country into the 21st century must factor in his age. At 81, he is only three years younger than his predecessor; his designated successor is four years younger than him.

Also, it remains to be seen whether the palace plotters known as the "Sudairi Seven" will let him have his way in shaping Saudi Arabia's internal and external policies.

For the moment, it is important for the House of Saud to survive. If it falls, Osama bin Laden shall triumphantly return home to cheering Saudi Islamists. 
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indians warned against carrying scriptures to Saudi</b>
Indo-Asian News Service
Hindustan Times
Hyderabad, August 3, 2005
Indians travelling to Saudi Arabia have been warned not to carry religious scriptures, photographs or idols.

An official statement issued here Wednesday said that religious activities in private residences or undertaking missionary or preaching activities are banned in Saudi Arabia and could invite stringent punishment.

CR Banswal, principal secretary (political) to the Andhra Pradesh government, said the Indian ambassador in Riyadh had said that detention cases of Indian nationals on allegations of involvement in religious activities in that country were increasing.

The statement said the Saudi religious police recently arrested nine Indians for preaching Christianity.

"He (the ambassador) has therefore expressed the view that it is urgent and important that all Indian nationals be forewarned prior to their departure from India against carrying any religious scripture, photographs or idols with them to Saudi Arabia," said the statement.

"This would be a major preventive measure in promoting the welfare of the Indian nationals in Saudi Arabia," the statement added.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->nine Indians for preaching Christianity<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Workers from Kerala at work. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>Global terrorism — The Pakistan-Saudi Arabia nexus </b>
G. Parthasarathy
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There is no dearth of evidence that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are partners in global terrorism. Mosques and jehadi-oriented madrassas in both countries spout anti-Western venom. Terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba have links in Saudi Arabia. There are reports of extensive nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia since 1994. Hopefully, says G. Parthasarathy, the new Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, will avoid the path of sponsoring terror abroad.

A 2003 picture of the Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, and the then Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah in Islamabad... Long-time cosy relationship.

WHEN SAUDI ARABIA'S ailing ruler King Fahd died after a prolonged illness on August 1, his last rites were performed according to strict Wahhabi traditions, with people going about their normal lives. But the one person who reacted as though his beloved uncle had died and proceeded to mourn publicly, was Pakistan's President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, who promptly declared a week-long state mourning and became the first non-Arab ruler of a Muslim country to announce that he would be present in Saudi Arabia at the last rites of the Saudi monarch.

What is it that prompted this show of grief and solidarity by Gen Musharraf? He had, after all, paid an official visit to the Wahhabi Kingdom barely six weeks ago? Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are now finding themselves in the same boat on issues of global terrorism. Pakistan's ISI continues to provide support to the Taliban and such Jehadi groups as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, whose cadres are being arrested worldwide for inciting and promoting terrorism. There are strong suspicions that government-backed Saudi charities such as the Al Harmain Islamic Foundation, the International Institute for Islamic Thought, and the International Islamic Relief Organisation continue to fund extremist and terrorist activities worldwide and disturb peace and harmony in pluralistic societies.

King Abdullah, who has just ascended the throne in Riyadh, is respected as a moderate who realises the dangers of funding and supporting terrorism abroad.

The same, however, cannot be said of others in the Royal Family, including members of the powerful Sudairi clan, who have controlled the levers of power and defied Abdullah even when he was the kingdom's de facto ruler, after King Fahd became incapacitated. It is no secret the influential Royals of the Sudairi clan such as the Governor of Riyadh Prince Salman have funded extremist Islamist causes worldwide.

Prince Salman, for example, channelled huge funds to Islamic extremist groups in Bosnia, He is also known to have assisted in the provision of arms and training to Chechen rebels. King Fahd's "favourite" son Prince Abdul Aziz (popularly known as Azouzi) is reported to have sent millions of dollars through a known associate of Osama bin Laden to "slaughter Russian soldiers and civilians alike" in Chechnya.

Azouzi is also known to have transferred huge sums of money to countries Germany, Spain and the US to fund Wahhabi Islamic causes that preach hatred of the west.

His love for opulence is such that he was permitted by an indulgent father to spend $4.6 billion for constructing a palace outside Riyadh. Not surprisingly, one of America's leading experts Robert Baer, who was formerly in the CIA, says that Saudi Arabia is ruled by "an increasingly bankrupt, criminal, dysfunctional royal family that is hated by the people it rules'.

One would have expected that after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the Americans would come down heavily on Saudi Arabia's rulers. Washington has instead chosen to tread cautiously.

It is well-known that humanitarian causes dear to influential people such as Mrs Barbara Bush and Mrs Nancy Reagan have been funded by the Saudi Royals. Influential Americans including the Vice-President, Mr Dick Cheney, and Messrs George Schultz, James Baker, Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger have all been associated with companies such as the Carlyle Group, Haliburton and Chevron-Texaco that deal extensively with Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis are estimated to have invested over $500 billion in the US. They remain a major buyer of American arms and are the largest supplier of oil to the US. They have also played ball with the Americans in keeping global oil prices at levels that the Americans find acceptable. But while the Bush Administration has avoided public criticism of the links of Saudi Royals with international terrorism, American writers such as Robert Baer, Gerald Posner and Craig Unger have been given access to information about their terrorist links.

Gerald Posner recently revealed that when the FBI captured a top Al Qaeda man Abu Zubaydah in Faisalabad, the terrorist revealed that his main contacts in Saudi Arabia were Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, a wealthy royal with a passion for racehorses, Prince Sultan bin Turki al Saud, a nephew of King Fahd, and Prince Fahd bin Turki, another relative of the monarch.

Zubaydah told his American interrogators that the Royal Family struck a deal with the Al Qaeda for the latter not to target it. He also revealed that Prince Ahmed was informed beforehand that the Al Qaeda was planning to strike American targets on September 11, 2001.

Zubaydah further revealed that the Al Qaeda had also struck a deal with the Pakistani military and informed Pakistan's Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali Mir of the impending 9/11 attacks.

Not surprisingly, the Bush Administration has remained silent on these allegations. More ominously, the 43-year-old Prince Ahmed died mysteriously in his sleep a few weeks after Zubyadah's revelations. His cousin Prince Sultan bin Turki died the next day in a "car accident" while proceeding to attend Prince Ahmed's funeral. Prince Fahd bin Turki died mysteriously a week later of "thirst" while he was said to be driving in the desert. Finally, the last person whose identity was revealed by Abu Zubaydah as having known of the impending terrorist attacks of 9/11, Air Chief Marshal Mir, died in a mysterious air crash in Pakistan.

According to Posner, the air crash in which Air Chief Marshal Mir died is widely believed to have been an act of sabotage. There is no dearth of evidence now that if Pakistan and China are partners in nuclear and missile proliferation, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are similarly partners in global terrorism. Mosques and jehadi-oriented madrassas in both countries spout anti-Western venom. Terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba have links in Saudi Arabia.

This is evident from the phone calls made by Lashkar militants operating in India to contacts in Saudi Arabia. But the Pakistani-Saudi Arabian nexus goes beyond terrorism. In July 2000, the Petroleum Intelligence Weekly reported that Saudi Arabia was sending 150,000 barrels of oil per day virtually free of cost to Pakistan. These supplies, currently valued at $ 3.2 billion annually, still continue.

Robert Baer has reported that the US has known of extensive nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia since 1994. The Saudi Defence Minister, Prince Sultan, was given unprecedented access to Pakistan's nuclear facilities in Kahuta in May 1999.

Dr A. Q. Khan visited Saudi Arabia shortly thereafter. According the Pakistani writer Amir Mir, Gen Musharraf's visit to Saudi Arabia on June 25-26 was primarily to discuss how to deny the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to information about the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia nuclear nexus. Saudi Arabia is said to be resisting pressures to adhere to the IAEA's Additional Protocol, which Iran has been compelled to accept.

Saudi Arabia has been a consistent supporter in the Organisation of Islamic Conference of Pakistan's protégés in the Hurriyat Conference in Jammu and Kashmir. It is going to take a long time for members of the Saudi Royal Family to stop funding extremist Islamic causes that destabilise pluralistic societies across the world. One sincerely hopes King Abdullah will avoid going down the path chosen by Gen Musharraf. No country can insulate itself from the inevitable consequences of sponsoring jehad and extremism abroad, while piously proclaiming its abhorrence of such causes. Words necessarily have to be matched by deeds.

(The author is a former High Commissioner to Pakistan.)

Isn't it surprising that USA which sendS maximum money for buying oil IN THE MIDDLE EAST, same money is used to fund religious extremism around the world which resulted in 9/11 NY and caused trillions of Dollars of loss to USA!!

With EVERY ACT OF extremism , oil price rises and more funds for extremists.

Its myth, US is sitting on world second largest Oil reserve (Iraq) and Over 50% oil interest are owned by British and US companies in SA. US is making money and using it in Iraq for its long term interest. Rest of world especially developing country i.e China and India will suffer most and it will retard growth. So US domination will stay.
Welcome to new "The Great Game" with new players.
Read somewhere the war is costing $ 100 billion per year....donot know what is the cost benefit...with increased security costs also in billions.....and a perfect condition for even further terrorism...who will be winner difficult to say....

It is easy to create a frankenstein monster presuming long term benefits but it consume the creator...old adage.

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