These three words sum up a strategy for deciphering the movement of terrorist activities aimed at Middle East oil production.
This is what I got from reading (or listening to) Robert Baer’s Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude.
The head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki il bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, son of King Fahd, resigned a few days before 9/11/2001. Anyone who thinks this is coincidence needs to re-evaluate their definition of ‘coincidence’ as well as his understanding of Saudi internal politics. The Saudi intelligence structure, indeed, its business structure is intimately tied to radical Islam. Notions of of democratic reform, or corralling fundamentalist fury or cooperating with external investigations are just that: notions.
Nothing whatever has come from the Khobar investigation, and nothing will. US intelligence personnel are institutionally prohibited from turning their probative lenses upon or into the Royal Kingdom. Louis Freeh, former head of the FBI, along with his entourage, was given the diplomatic run-around by Saudi representatives before heading back to the US empty-handed.
Like death and taxes, two things that can be counted on in the current Saudi government are corruption and greed. No money will be left on the table. No opportunity to plunder, plot and steal will be left unmolested. Clocks can be set by this ramped state of grift.
The fact that the Saudi Royals are by far the largest financial supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood is, again, not a secret. Nor is it news that 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9.11 were Saudi. Or, that the foundation of anti-western hatred can be traced directly to the most radical sect of Islam: the Wahabbis.
The reasons for this mutually conflicting set of behaviors by the Saudi Royals are various, but ultimately comes down to a simple strategy of paying for protection. Saudi petrodollars flow back into the US in the form of defense contracts, a percentage of which gets spent on the world’s most advanced defense equipment, while simultaneously, the Royals pay hundreds of millions of those dollars into religious organizations with the intention of stifling a revolution. A small, predatory group holds the threat of murder and the enticement of cash flow out to the same group of people. The angry, unemployed men of Saudi Arabia need little coercion to become radical and see the Royal family as just as worthy of death as the Western infidel.
Over the course of our decades-long relation with Ryad, Washington think tanks have designed thoughtful worst-case scenarios for disrupting the pathways of Saudi oil. The bottom line of many of them is that it would take very little in terms of money or organization to reduce Saudi supply to about 50% of its current output. A handful of motivated, intelligent individuals willing to strike chaos into the world could do so on less than $100K and a desire to die a horrible death for the cause. Neither money nor angry young men are in short supply in the Royal Kingdom.
What can be said with a high degree of probability is that a handful of the Saudi intelligence service is privy to the movements of these individuals. No strangers to the scarcity market, the select few knowledge holders will make large, unusual money moves in the days or hours before likely attacks–should they allow them to bear their fruit. These strange options purchases, or whatever form they may take, are the canaries in the coal mine of attacks to the vulnerable oil infrastructure of the Saudi Kingdom. If I had the power, I would most certainly be watching the money of this small group. I can only hope, but if they’re not, they are walking us all into a blind alley.