Let’s get this blog rolling again…
Hello everyone. Sorry for the lull. I hope to get back in form over the next few days, so bear with me.
Meanwhile, check out my last column on Mubarak.
Oh, and BTW, Saudi tax payers should be outraged: The Saudi Secretary General of the National Security Council Prince Bandar Bin Sultan has been roaming about Washington DC for the past several days while delivering some very sensitive messages to the Bush administration. He is allegedly talking about Iran and the delicate matter of the Saudis bankrolling the Hamas government. It is further alleged that he is also empowered to talk about oil and what to do about rising prices. It all adds up to: “We Saudis have decided to go our separate way on Iran and Hamas, and we’ll earn back our good favor by bringing crude prices down.”
It is interesting that the current Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki Bin Faisal, has decided to vacate the city and has gone on an overseas trip. He was not the one tasked by Riyadh with delivering these sensitive messages. Weird, ain't it?
But what really shows that something is up is that Prince Bandar decided to stay at a suite in the Four Seasons Hotel rather than bunk-up in the ambassador’s massive mansion overlooking the Potomac River near the Chain Bridge. Prince Bandar used to live there, in fact he did so for over a decade, and the current occupant is his own brother-in-law (Bandar is married to Turki’s full sister). So what is the deal? They couldn’t find a pull-out futon for the guy? Or is Bandar overstepping on Turki’s toes and trying to grab back the Washington portfolio?
For now, Bandar sips cognac at the Four Seasons, which is an unnecessary expense. The Saudi Public Accounting office should get on this right away, oh wait—I forgot what Bandar had said in this Frontline interview some years back:
But the way I answer the corruption charges is this. In the last 30 years, we have implemented a development program that was approximately ... close to $400 billion worth, OK? Now, look at the whole country, where it was, where it is now. And I am confident after you look at it, you could not have done all of that for less than, let's say, $350 billion.
If you tell me that building this whole country, and spending $350 billion out of $400 billion, that we misused or got corrupted with $50 billion, I'll tell you, "Yes." But I'll take that any time. There are so many countries in the Third World that have oil that are still 30 years behind. But, more important, more important -- who are you to tell me this? ... What I'm trying to tell you is, so what? We did not invent corruption, nor did those dissidents, who are so genius, discover it. This happened since Adam and Eve. ... I mean, this is human nature. But we are not as bad as you think. ...