Their logic is stunning. There’s an arsenal of strategies and tools the Kingdom could employ to find revenge for the 9/11 lawsuit bill. But, nearly hysterically – their response is to condone more terrorism. They’re threatening to limit U.S. use of air bases and assets in the Middle East region. They are publically considering scaling back their counter-terror cooperation in the area, as well. It’s an unproductive and silly move, but also exposes their true feelings toward Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Saudi Arabia believes ISIS is a product of global negligence. That might be so – but their negligence in the clerical establishment has played a larger role than most others. The entire region has been exploited by domineering Sunni governments in the Gulf. Propped and fueled by oil, a new clerical establishment emerged over time. Now, the rhetoric and Islamist conservatism and a literal interpretation that spread has helped spark extremist groups.
Ironically, Saudi Arabia sits at the spiritual heart of Islam. The geography of the Kingdom is why it is also a primary target for the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. That’s why it’s in the Kingdom’s interest to combat terrorism, because the extremists are going to reclaim the land they believe to be theirs. So, why would Saudi Arabia pull back their cooperation in Counter Terror? It will only come back to haunt them. It’s not good policy on their part.
A lawsuit is already on its way to Saudi Arabia. A 9/11 widow has filed a lawsuit against the Kingdom. Our counter-terror operations continue. Our bases remain and Saudi Arabia is as vulnerable to the security challenges of the Middle East as they were before.
Their selfish reaction to threatening to indirectly worsen the terror situation in the Middle East could ultimately lead to their undoing. But, if they go through with their threat based on principle alone, they might make the region more dangerous. The 9/11 lawsuit and the 9/11 attack itself are not the Saudis direct doing. However, they’re connected. Their stubborn foreign policy and inability to make in-roads with Americans led to a weakening relationship. In all, their internal decision, although not nefarious in nature, has aided unfortunate events for themselves, as well as the rest of the world.
Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang