Words from a Saudi Advisor

The following is a chilling piece written by Nawaf Obaid, adviser to the Saudi Royal family.  He has subsequently resigned his post but his words are no less important.  This is a window into the complexity of the Iraqi problem.  This is why President Bush (41) did not invade Iraq.  This is also why a diplomatic solution is necessary.


In February 2003, a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned President Bush that he would be “solving one problem and creating five more” if he removed Saddam Hussein by force. Had Bush heeded his advice, Iraq would not now be on the brink of full-blown civil war and disintegration.

One hopes he won’t make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that “since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited.” If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.

Over the past year, a chorus of voices has called for Saudi Arabia to protect the Sunni community in Iraq and thwart Iranian influence there. Senior Iraqi tribal and religious figures, along with the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and other Arab and Muslim countries, have petitioned the Saudi leadership to provide Iraqi Sunnis with weapons and financial support. Moreover, domestic pressure to intervene is intense. Major Saudi tribal confederations, which have extremely close historical and communal ties with their counterparts in Iraq, are demanding action. They are supported by a new generation of Saudi royals in strategic government positions who are eager to see the kingdom play a more muscular role in the region.

Because King Abdullah has been working to minimize sectarian tensions in Iraq and reconcile Sunni and Shiite communities, because he gave President Bush his word that he wouldn’t meddle in Iraq (and because it would be impossible to ensure that Saudi-funded militias wouldn’t attack U.S. troops), these requests have all been refused. They will, however, be heeded if American troops begin a phased withdrawal from Iraq. As the economic powerhouse of the Middle East, the birthplace of Islam and the de facto leader of the world’s Sunni community (which comprises 85 percent of all Muslims), Saudi Arabia has both the means and the religious responsibility to intervene. Continue reading

A time to stall

Just as I predicted.  Tony Snow tells it like it is (yesterday) – I know a lot of you have been curious about when he would be announcing or talking about the way forward. That is not going to happen until the New Year We do not know when, so I can’t give you a date, I cant give you a time, I can’t give you a place, I can’t give you a way in which it will happen, so all of those questions are yet to be answered.

I’ll see if I can get a little video to go with this.  later.


Tiger Woods – one of the greatest ever

My goodness, (I got the phrase from Donald Rumsfeld) what a season!  I’m not really a golf fan but Tiger Woods is a superstar (define superstar as someone who you just have to watch).  He was simply great. 

From ESPN.com:

In an announcement that featured less surprise than the Britney/K-Fed breakup, Tiger Woods was named the 2006 PGA Tour Player of the Year on Tuesday. That’s right: The seasons change, the Earth continues spinning on its axis and Tiger Woods earns a postseason award. All is right with the world once again.

Those holding their breath may now confidently exhale. The rest of us will continue debating the merits of Woods’ season as compared with the greatest in PGA Tour history. After all, we live in a world of rankings and lists, where players’ feats are consistently measured against their own previous bests, against those of their peers, against legendary all-time marks, and it’s fitting that Tiger’s latest journey sparks similar cogitation.