Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Playing Connect the Dots
Written by: Beck

Let's start at the end and work our way backwards, shall we?

Saudi clerics seen as influential with Islamists have announced that attacking Westerners is a sin. Go ahead and read that again, then take a minute to stop gibbering. That's right, the people primarily responsible for the anti-Western sentiment which rages across the entire Muslim world are changing their tune. But what would prompt them to do that?

Perhaps because the massive exodus of foreigners is seriously threatening the Saudi Arabian economy. The threat to the Saudi economy is much more fundamental than you at might first think. Unlike, say, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia is not in the least dependent on money spent by resident aliens & visitors. They make all their money on oil, and so long as the oil never runs out, they've nothing to fear. The problem is that Westerners quite literally run the Arabian oil companies. Western expertise is essential to keeping the oil coming out of the ground. Therein lies the Gordian knot the Sauds are trying to untie.

Now why would westerners be fleeing Saudi Arabia? OK, that's sort of a redundant question, but the issue has gone well past those fearful of terrorism in some ambiguous, nebulous sense to the United States State Department telling Americans to get the hell out. Now, this is going to be bad for the price of oil. Looks like those $35/bbl prices predicted only a couple weeks ago aren't quite going to be realized. But the message is clear: the safety of American workers is more important than the price of oil. Be sure to remember that the next time you hear some screeching moonbat yelling "No blood for oil!"

But how did all this get started? Why are we in this position in the first place? William Dalrymple has the straightforward (and painfully obvious) answer to that question: Saudi Arabia created the very monster now devouring it.

So now the picture is complete. As such, allow me to redraw it for you in a relatively novel way. The next four paragraphs are from the four articles linked above in reverse order of linkage.
Yet if more of the Muslim world is now open to a newly intolerant and violent strain of Islam, no force has been more responsible than Saudi Arabia. Ever since the 1930s, the Saudis have promoted Wahhabism, the most severe incarnation of Islam. After the oil boom of the early 1970s this became a fundamental tenet of Saudi foreign policy, and a sizeable slice of the country's vast oil revenues has been devoted to promoting Wahhabism at the expense of more tolerant forms of Islam. The Saudis have provoked a clash of civilisations, not so much between east and west as within Islam itself.

Referring to U.S. workers in Saudi Arabia, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "We first and foremost have a responsibility to Americans. We need to give them our best advice on how to handle any particular situation overseas."

There are even unconfirmed reports in the government-guided Saudi media of mass resignations from the state-owned energy giant Saudi Aramco, where Americans make up the bulk of the more than 10,000 Westerners whose expertise the kingdom still largely relies on to run its most vital economic sector.

"The bombings and killings have revolted people and hurt individuals and their property, and no one with the slightest knowledge of Islam can doubt that this is an atrocious crime and grave sin," they said in a statement carried by Saudi media.
The situation today stands at a critical juncture, but this did not happen overnight. This did not happen because of the invasion of Iraq. This did not happen because of September 11, 2001. The roots of this development can be traced as far back as World War I, and the roots took a firm hold during the immediate post-colonial period. Once oil came to the region, so too came the money, and now we shall all reap the whirlwind.

Update: Joined Beltway Traffic Jam

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