As Congress calls for a tougher stance on organisations funding global terrorism, the spotlight turns towards Riyadh, considered by Washington as not doing enough to combat the scourge but also a crucially important ally if a pretext can be found to launch the much-vaunted attack on Iraq.
In a diplomatic message which was carefully sculpted to be as direct as possible but to also not antagonise what is seen as an important ally in the region, Washington declared that Riyadh “could do more” in the fight against the financiers of terrorist organisations.
The message was delivered by White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer, who declared that “We are very serious about making sure that nations do their level best in the fight against terrorism”, while the National Security Council went further, discussing contingency plans for a direct intervention in the country.
According to The Washington Post, the US Intelligence Agencies have a list of nine people, seven saudis, a Pakistani and an Egyptian, who they suspect of being at the centre of the funding to Al-Qaeda. The NSC suggested that Saudi Arabia be given 90 days to act against the individuals named in the list before “direct action” was taken.
Although the report did not state what form of action, it can be assumed without any exaggeration that there would have been an intrusion by Washington into the affairs of Saudi Arabia, whether by sending in “snatch squads” or by applying unbearable diplomatic and financial pressure.
Only Washington has the ability to systematically get itself into diplomatic tangles with outbursts of arrogance of this magnitude. Were Washington to take a more pragmatic, softer line, paying what it owes to the UNO, adhering to the terms of the ecological protocols it signs, not interfering in the internal affairs of practically every country on the planet, while its institutions spread their tentacles around the social and economic fabric of their prey, life would be so much easier for the United States.
Not only would there never have been a September 11th but the spectre of another one looming menacingly on the horizon would not be the depressing reality it is today.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM