Despite the leanings of oil-slick Americans (including President Bush), the diplomatic bureaucracy, and their own ongoing PR campaign, Americans are finally starting to doubt the “friendliness” of our “allies” Saudi Arabia. Stephen Schwartz’s book, Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa’ud from Tradition to Terror, points vehemently in that negative direction. He was interviewed on the subject in the Boston Globe a couple of days ago:
- ”I just debated Prince Turki!” he shouts gleefully into the phone to a reporter. He’s just returned from the CNN studios to his office at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, an anti-terrorism think tank associated with a range of prominent conservatives, including Newt Gingrich.
”People say to me, ‘Great timing for your book,'” says Schwartz with a touch of contempt. ”And I want to sit down with them and say, `Let me explain to you how the world is. When you understand what’s going on, and you’ve published a book the goal of which is to be the ”Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of the Saudi transformation and to unmask Wahhabism, it’s not a matter of great timing. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t know the Saudis were going to help with the PR campaign, so to speak.'”
The Saudis seem to be working overtime on Schwartz’s behalf. Since revelations about the Princess Haifa’s possible connection to Osama bin Laden’s terror network, the news media has been abuzz with one question, often phrased with a strange American ingenuousness: ”Are the Saudis really our friends?”
Schwartz’s answer is an emphatic ”No.” His book traces the founding of the Saudi state to a toxic alliance between the Sa’ud clan of desert bandits and a hate-mongering, literalist Muslim scholar by the name of Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, whose family married into the Sa’ud family in 1744. Although the resulting Wahhabi-Saudi alliance espoused a vehemently insular theology – they denounced as infidels those fellow Muslims who did not adhere to their sect – they also courted the favor of the great Christian powers in their contest with the Ottoman Turks. With the support first of Britain and later the United States, the Wahhabi Saudis eventually captured the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina and came to dominate the oil-rich Arabian peninsula.
Flush with US petro-dollars and US patronage, writes Schwartz, Saudi Arabia has channeled untold funds into anti-American and anti-Israeli terror groups and indoctrination efforts via its vast network of madrassas, mosques, newspapers, and publishing houses. Wahhabi Saudis view any celebration of the prophet Muhammad’s birthday as a form of idolatry; they destroy decorated mosques and graves; they abhor music of all kinds; they reject modernity; and they proclaim the world to be divided into a sphere of their own believers and a sphere of war. Wahhabi incitements to violence against ”infidels” stand in sharp contrast to the Saudi state’s pro-Western policies. A deep crisis has resulted in Saudi society – one that came to a head on Sept. 11, 2001.
Of course, none of this is news to bloggers, who have been screaming out against Saudi perfidy since at least 9/11, most particularly Charles Johnson and James Taranto. By the way, another freaky angle to this story is that Schwartz is a Sufi – put that in your dervish and whirl it.