[FOUNTAIN]Exploring Saudi ties to terror

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[FOUNTAIN]Exploring Saudi ties to terror

American filmmaker and author Michael Moore has some choice words for President George W. Bush in his new book, “Dude, Where’s my Country?”
Mr. Moore is especially pointed in his criticism when he focuses on the special treatment Saudi Arabia has received in the post-9/11 world, saying that if 15 of the 19 hijackers during the terror attacks had been North Koreans, American newspapers would be excoriating North Korea. Although 15 of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, no paper has blamed that country.
He tells President Bush that as a former National Guard fighter pilot, he should know that people don’t learn how to pilot an airliner flying 750 kilometers an hour to crash into a building from a computer simulation class at a private flying school. Instead, these pilots might have learned to fly from some air force, such as the Saudi Air Force, Mr. Moore says.
In his conspiracy theory, Mr. Moore assumes a cozy relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and he alleges ties between the Bush family and the bin Laden family. Mr. Moore says in his book that in its investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks, the government deliberately concealed the role that Saudi Arabia played.
When the first Persian Gulf War ended in 1990, U.S. forces stayed in Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden criticized the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, claiming that the corrupt monarchy was supported by the United States. Mr. Moore’s book expounds on a version of that sentiment in his criticism of the two countries’ “special relationship.”
Saudi Arabia considers itself the most sacred Islamic nation. Saudi royal family members are Muslim fundamentalists who want to restore to the Arabian Peninsula what they consider pure Islam. Saudi Arabia is the country of Mecca, and the Koran is the country’s constitution. But as the oil fields began to be developed in 1938 and the U.S. presence has increased since World War II, a fundamentalist social order has turned into a closed totalitarian system, which in turn has produced terrorism.
After a bombing killed at least 17 in the Saudi capital of Riyadh last weekend, the foreign press all predicted that the next al-Qaeda target would be the Saudi royal family. International observers predict that the attacks will only get worse. After a long detour, the world’s attention is back on Saudi Arabia.


by Oh Byung-sang

The writer is the London correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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