No good choices

Saudis reportedly threaten to back Sunni insurgency if Bush pulls out of Iraq.


Tim Grieve
December 13, 2006 7:02PM (UTC)

You know that expression, "over a barrel"?

From this morning's New York Times: When Saudi leaders summoned Dick Cheney to Riyadh for a "come to Jesus" talk last month, this is what they had to tell him: If the United States pulls out of Iraq, leaving the Sunni minority at the mercy of Shiite death squads and handing Iran a free pass for further influence there, the Saudis may decide to start funding the Sunni insurgency.

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As the Times explains, the Saudis have been "wary of supporting Sunnis in Iraq because their insurgency there has been led by extremists of al-Qaida, who are opposed to the kingdoms monarchy. But if Iraqs sectarian war worsened, the Saudis would line up with Sunni tribal leaders."

Let's say that again slowly. With his ill-advised war in Iraq, George W. Bush has now created a situation in which one of his closest allies in the Middle East may decide to side with al-Qaida in Iraq -- even though al-Qaida would like to see its government overthrown.

No wonder it's taking so long for the new "way forward."

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Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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