Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Saudis and Sunnis

The Moose ponders the question of Saudis and Sunnis.

The prime source of the Iraq insurrection is disaffection within the Sunni minority community. Of course, the reason for their alienation from the new Iraq is that they will not dominate as they did in the old Iraq. The days of subjugating the Shia and Kurds are over. But the Sunni opposition to the newly drafted charter threatens to derail the creation of a new government and deepen the insurrection.

This is where the Saudis should perhaps enter the picture. For years, the Saudis have been financing an extremist brand of theology that temporarily bought off extremists and kept the Royal family in business. That militant Wahabi movement, however, now threatens the very existence of the kingdom. And an unstable Iraq could not be in their interest either.

The Saudis owe the U.S. big time. We saved the Royals back in the first Gulf War. Now it is payback time. Surely, the Saudis can spread some of their big bucks among their brother Sunnis in Iraq to help undermine the resistance. One of the Sunni concerns is that they will end up on the short end of the stick concerning oil revenues. The Saudis can reassure the Sunnis by picking up the financial slack. Consider it part of the process of winning over the hearts, minds and wallets of the Sunni opposition.

A Saudi financed economic development project certainly could help win over at least 51% of the critical 20% of the Iraqi population. Financial reconstruction in the Sunni triangle might be a way to weaken the insurrection. And a wealthy Sunni state nearby ought to be part of the solution to this vexing dilemma. The Saudis have been part of the problem, now they need to pitch in to advance a solution in Iraq.

Could commerce trump nationalism? Maybe not, but it's worth a try. And while W. may not have any pull with the French, the Saudis owe the Bushies big.
-- Posted at 8:42 AM | Link to this post | Email this post