Saturday, July 28, 2007

With Friends Like These

As a supplement to Attaturk's post immediately below, take a look at this anecdote about our good pals the Saudis from Tariq Ali writing in the London Review of Books:
The day after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 a Saudi woman resident in London, a member of a wealth family, rang her sister in Riyadh to discuss the crisis affecting the kingdom. Her niece answered the phone.

"Where's your mother?"

"She's here, dearest aunt, and I'll get her in a minute, but is that all you have to say to me? No congratulations for yesterday?"

The dearest aunt, out of the country for far too long, was taken aback. She should not have been. The fervour that didn’t dare show itself in public was strong even at the upper levels of Saudi society. US intelligence agencies engaged in routine surveillance were, to their immense surprise, picking up unguarded cellphone talk in which excited Saudi princelings were heard revelling in bin Laden’s latest caper. Like the CIA, they had not thought it possible for him to reach such heights.
Saw Robert Dallek on a Daily Show rerun yesterday. He was there to discuss his new book Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, but the part that I remember was his concern that BushCo is scrubbing the record of its activities as it goes along its merry way.

I wonder how many Dalleks it will take thirty years down the road to unravel the twisting, turning, torturous relationship we have with the Saudis, especially when evidence of it is probably being disappeared even as I type this.

(via Rick Perlstein)

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