I don’t often agree with Alison Broinowski, and indeed much of her article in today’s Australian is just her standard kneejerk anti-western cringe that we sensitive New Age Right Wing Death Beasts have come to know and detest. (Update – I couldn’t be bothered dealing with most of Broinowski’s poisonous piffle, but fortunately Steve Edwards has despatched her arguments with the extreme prejudice they deserve). However, this passage is one whose sentiments I largely endorse:
… If Iraq was the wrong enemy, who is the right one?
The Bush administration keeps insisting the Muslims are not the enemy and that Islam is a religion of peace, and Howard echoes this view. No Iraqis attacked the US in 2001 but 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. It is predominantly Saudi money that has for long funded Islamist groups in several countries, including al-Qa’ida and Jemaah Islamiah. But until recently, because the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia has been quarantined from scrutiny and criticism, few will admit that Riyadh, not Baghdad, is the source of enmity and activism.
Popular Saudi preachers and their supporters in Pakistan call openly for a jihad against the West. Many Saudis, defending their faith, assert that violence is a righteous reaction to a catalogue of perceived injustices to Muslims in the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Iraq. But the US continues to treat Saudi Arabians as friends.
Yet the sheep stranded at sea were refused by Saudi Arabia not because they were diseased but in retaliation for Australia’s role in Iraq. The Government has not admitted it, but a former ambassador to Riyadh does. …
Does this mean we should nuke the Saudis? Probably not. However, one of the major reasons I supported the US/UK/Australian military action in Iraq was precisely because it held out the promise of the West reducing its dependence on Saudi Arabian oil, and hence being in a position to take a more robust, aggressive stance against Saudi support of terrorism. In that sense, I agree with the standard left dogma that the Iraq conflict was “about oil” (but not “all about oil”).
There are signs of such a toughened stance by the Americans, and also some signs that the Saudi regime is responding constructively to the increased pressure, but it isn’t yet clear whether we’re seeing a decisive shift. Of course, not even the faintest suggestion that US policy might contain a marginally positive, strategically intelligent aspect can be allowed any place in Broinowski’s world (or that of Phillip Adams etc).