Saudi Arabia ‘real reason for war’


Dr George Friedman, chairman of the United States private sector intelligence company Stratfor, said the US had settled on WMD as a simple justification for the war and one which it expected the public would readily accept.

Dr Friedman said the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US prompted the strategy to hunt down al-Qaeda wherever it was to be found. But that proved exceedingly difficult.

“The US was desperate. There were no good policy choices. Then the US turned to the question – we can’t find al-Qaeda so how can we stop the enablers of al-Qaeda.”, he said.

He said those enablers, the financiers and recruiters, existed in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

He said Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda shared a number of beliefs including that the US could not fight and win a war in the region and was casualty averse. There was a need to change that perception.

But close by was Iraq, the most strategically located nation in the Middle East, bordering Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey and Iran.

Dr Friedman said US President George W Bush faced the difficulty of explaining this policy, particularly to the Saudis. Moves to link Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda failed completely.

“They then fell on WMD for two reasons,” he said.

“Nobody could object to WMD and it was the one thing that every intelligence agency knew was true. We knew we were going to find them. And we would never have to reveal the real reasons.”