WASHINGTON – In a rare admission, Adel al-Jubeir, the smug, bug-eyed flack for the Saudi royal government, conceded that the kingdom ignored repeated requests by an American diplomat to beef up security at the Riyadh compounds where several Americans last week were slaughtered in another massive al-Qaida attack.

But he actually had the gall to defend his government’s inaction in part by saying that, in hindsight, the increased security requested would not have stopped the multiple bombings.

Anyway, there was nothing sinister about the oversight; it was just a bureaucratic snafu, he claimed, noting that many Saudis who worked at the compounds also were killed. Al-Qaida is “coming after us,” too, an almost teary-eyed al-Jubeir said, so we are all in this together.

Yeah, we’ll believe that the day Osama bin Laden sends a jumbo jet crashing into the crown prince’s palace. You can bet Prince Abdullah wouldn’t need but one warning from American intelligence to beef up security at his own house if it were an al-Qaida target, which it isn’t – not now, not ever.

The Saudis know full well that Americans, and American installations, are bin Laden’s real target in Saudi. Just like they were in 1995 when he ordered at least four Saudis – all conveniently beheaded by the royal government before the FBI could get a chance to interrogate them – to blow up a U.S.-run military training facility in Riyadh, killing 5 Americans. And just like in 1996 when he ordered more Saudis to blast the Khobar Towers apartment compound in Dhahran, where hundreds of U.S. Air Force personnel were stationed.

The Saudi government still suggests the barracks attack, which killed 19 American airmen, was the work of Iran. And our government has gone along with the spin – even though a secret CIA document uncovered by Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz implicates bin Laden.

If bin Laden attacked the House of Saud, he’d be destroying the source of much of the funding for his terrorist network. Prince Sultan, the long-time Saudi defense minister, for one, has donated millions of dollars to bin Laden’s favorite charity, the International Islamic Relief Organization, or IIRO. He is the same royal family member who blamed the “Zionist” lobby for the 9-11 attacks.

Another royal pain, Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., joined the ever-unctuous al-Jubeir on U.S. airwaves last week to help control the damage to U.S. relations (read: business contracts) from the latest Saudi affront.

Brandishing his trademark smirk, Bandar tried to claim that the reason three-fourths of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi is because bin Laden purposely stacked the mission with Saudis to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Saudi. Never mind that most of the al-Qaida prisoners captured in Afghanistan also are Saudi.

Bandar, who lives here, would also have us believe that his wife, Princess Haifa, didn’t mean for her own
charitable checks of some $3,500 a month to wind up in the hands of two of the 9-11 hijackers. Or that he
wasn’t trying to protect bin Laden’s relatives from FBI questioning when he helped spirit them out of the country right after the attacks on New York and

By any objective measure, Saudi Arabia falls under the Bush Doctrine of a country that harbors, supports and finances terrorism.

Yet President Bush and members of his Cabinet, along with his ever-trusting father, continue to give the Saudi royal family the benefit of the doubt, insisting it is still America’s “friend,” even after it refused to help protect Americans living under its care in the face of credible and specific terrorist threats, essentially leaving bin Laden a key under the mat at those fire-bombed American apartments.

Our friend? No, it’s your friend, Mr. President.

The Bushes are on a first-name basis with the Saudi elite. They’ve done business together, they’ve dined together, they’ve even vacationed together in places like Spain. Prince Bandar, for instance, is so close to the family, he’s nicknamed “Bandar Bush.” His wife, the hijackers’ silent sugarmama, attended Barbara Bush’s 75th birthday bash in Kennebunkport a few years back. Bandar and ailing Saudi King Fahd have given more than $1 million in cash and gold to former President Bush’s library at Texas A&M University.

As principals at the Carlyle Group, a powerful investment firm here, both the former president and long-time family crony James Baker III have made business pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia in recent years to visit members of the royal family – and also members of the wealthy bin Laden family. Baker has even flown on Saudi Binladen Group jets.

Baker’s Houston-based law firm is now representing Prince Sultan, the big IIRO donor, who is being sued by 9-11 families.

Moreover, George W. Bush’s former business partner,
James Bath, was in bed with the billionaire bin
Mahfouz family of Saudi Arabia, which helped create
bin Laden’s favorite charity. Dubya, a one-time
director of a Carlyle subsidiary, made a killing in
Harken Energy stock after a Saudi investor took a big
stake in the company and threw a lucrative Middle East
oil contract its way. That same investor is a business
partner of ex-Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz, a
principal donor to the Muwafaq (Blessed Relief)
Foundation, a Saudi charity the U.S. Treasury
Department labeled an “al-Qaida front” in October

These are just some of the personal ties that bind the current administration to this phony “ally” in the war on terrorism.

When it comes to fighting al-Qaida, the Saudi royal family is playing a double game with America, but our own royal family is playing along.

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