Saudi Arabia And The Proxy War In Iraq
Much has been made of Iran's alleged supplying of weapons and bombs to Shi'ite factions in Iraq. Far less has been made of Saudi Arabia's apparent role in supplying weapons and funding to Sunni insurgents. And yet, as Saudi Arabia threatened to do, and as has been stated by the Iraq Study Group as well as by journalist, Seymour Hersh, this appears to be the case.
McConnell's testimony undergirds U.S. concerns that the Iraq civil war could turn into a direct Saudi-Iranian confrontation, with American military forces caught between warring combatants for Islam's two dominant strains.
Separately, Brian Jenkins, a military expert with Rand Corp., a national security and foreign policy research organization, said: "What we already are seeing in Iraq is an emerging proxy war between Saudi-backed Sunnis and Iranian-backed Shia."
So we seem to have a proxy war taking place that involves three of the biggest oil producers on the planet. It wouldn't take much for this proxy war to escalate into the feared regional conflict that has been widely talked about. Needless to say Saudi Arabia's involvement in the Iraq quagmire is embarrassing for Bush who would prefer to blame Syria for supplying the Sunnis. Admission of the Saudi involvement had to be wrung out out of Mike McConnell by Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
McConnell replied: "There is some flow to the Sunni side in terms of funding and weapons and recruits."
Levin continued: "And what countries are those weapons coming from?"
McConnell: "Weapons could come from a variety of countries. Syria probably is one of the major places."
Levin: "What countries other than Syria could either weapons or funding for the Sunni insurgents come from?"
McConnell: The U.S. lacks "clear evidence that it's definitely coming from any one particular government. But there are indications that it could be a variety of countries around Iraq and also from private donors …"
Levin, interjecting: "What other countries besides Syria? You said that there's evidence that weapons or money for weapons is coming from a number of countries. The one you singled was Syria, but what other countries?"
McConnell: "What I was attempting to say is donors from countries around the area. One would be inside Saudi Arabia, as an example."
Just like the Iranian government, the Saudi government is denying any involvement in supplying the insurgents. Yet strangely, there are no US aircraft carriers threatening the kingdom, no sabre rattling at the UN and no Saudi diplomats have been kidnapped by the Americans. The kingdom seems to be able to do anything it wants with impunity, whether its torturing British citizens or being involved in corruption with BAE or even having known links to al Qaeda.
"There is a renewed desire to protect the U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship," Simon said in an interview. "So you don't want to draw public attention to things they are doing that many observers might regard as counter to American interests."