September 01, 2003

The Saudis, al Qaeda, and Bush

Wonder what this will do the price of oil, or, eventually, the stability of the Saudi monarchy. The article refers to information gathered from the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah--the al Qaeda terrorist the U.S. captured in Pakistan in May of 2002. Posner has a reputation as a bit of a conspiracy theorist. But look for this to become a campaign issue. Why is the Bush Administration sitting on known ties between the Saudi royal family and Al Qaeda? Can you see Hillary Clinton asking that question? How much the public cares about the issue will depend on how things go in Iraq between now and the election. And last week's assasination of a Shia cleric suddenly makes things a lot more critical in Iraq. Either these are the tactics of an adersary whose only hope it to try and spark and civil war....or it's the beginning of a low-level religious/civil war...the kind everyone feared before the war. This is not the kind of scenario the market has "priced in." Could be a big--and bad--week for the indexes. Stay tuned. Confessions of a Terrorist -- Sep. 08, 2003: "Zubaydah, writes Posner, said the Saudi connection ran through Prince Turki al-Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, the kingdom's longtime intelligence chief. Zubaydah said bin Laden 'personally' told him of a 1991 meeting at which Turki agreed to let bin Laden leave Saudi Arabia and to provide him with secret funds as long as al-Qaeda refrained from promoting jihad in the kingdom. The Pakistani contact, high-ranking air force officer Mushaf Ali Mir, entered the equation, Zubaydah said, at a 1996 meeting in Pakistan also attended by Zubaydah. Bin Laden struck a deal with Mir, then in the military but tied closely to Islamists in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (isi), to get protection, arms and supplies for al-Qaeda. Zubaydah told interrogators bin Laden said the arrangement was 'blessed by the Saudis.' "


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