Hold The Carrots
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
War On Terror: Washington is brokering an arms deal for Saudi Arabia while shipping prized F-16s to Pakistan. Are we getting anything from these “allies” other than empty promises â€” and possibly betrayal?
First the Saudis. At the behest of King Abdullah, the administration is preparing to ask Congress to OK an arms sale package totaling some $20 billion over the next decade. Yet it was Abdullah who just four months ago criticized the U.S. military presence in Iraq as “illegitimate,” shocking officials who assumed he was cooperating in our efforts there.
The Baker report on Iraq found that “funding for the Sunni insurgency comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia.” And 61% of the suicide bombers in Iraq reportedly are Saudi nationals.
Despite mounting evidence Saudi Arabia is funding and manning the insurgency in Iraq, the administration reportedly has not tied the new arms deal to measurable support of the U.S. effort there.
On another front, it was also Abdullah who appointed the head of the terror-tied Muslim World League as education minister. This explains why violent references to Jews and Christians were never removed from Saudi schoolbooks as promised.
Yet Abdullah demanded entry in the WTO and got it. He demanded 20,000 new visas for young Saudi men to infiltrate U.S college campuses, and got that, too. The king even convinced the White House to return detained Saudi terrorists.
So far the Gitmo catch-and-release program has resulted in the release of 77 Saudis, many of whom Abdullah has put back on the streets. A handful have rejoined the jihad against the U.S., and more surely will follow. There are 53 hard-core Saudi terrorists remaining at Gitmo. Abdullah wants them all freed.
Now turn to Pakistan. The administration is pouring $750 million worth of reconstruction aid into Pakistan’s hostile tribal areas â€” the same areas that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf recently abandoned to the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida is using the area as staging grounds to launch new attacks on the U.S. We need to be dropping bombs there, not dollars. But the State Department thinks building new schools and roads will win “hearts and minds” of local Muslim fanatics. Some of the schools have already been turned into madrassas.
The money we’re wasting there comes on top of the $10 billion in aid the administration has already pumped into Islamabad since 9/11 for allegedly cooperating in the war it helped start.
The Pentagon just delivered the first of several of the fighter jets. Musharraf will use them not to help us vaporize al-Qaida, but to help Pakistan project power against enemy India. Now it has delivery systems for its nukes.
It’s plain that sloshing around money has not bought the cooperation against terrorist elements we’d hoped for. It’s time to hold these half-hearted allies accountable. Last month Congress passed a bill to block aid to Saudi Arabia unless it shows better anti-terror results. It’s crafting a similar one designed to box in Pakistan.
It’s a good start. But the final bills should be drafted in a way that closes a legislative loophole that in the past allowed the president to waive these bans by invoking requirements of its war on terror.
Unless Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can prove they’re cooperating fully against terrorism, they should not be rewarded. In fact, they should be treated as terror-sponsoring states.