The Saudis are planning to build a high tech 12 Billion dollar, 900KM-long fence along their border with Iraq. This high tech fence includes “concertina wire obstacles, ultraviolet sensors and night vision cameras with facial recognition technologies, and buried motion detectors. Command posts, helipads and observation towers are to be spaced along the frontier, all linked with access roads.”
Different media sources cite different reasons for the fence. Some say it is to avoid the Iraq civil war from spreading to the Kingdom; others say it is to prevent Saudi militants from entering Iraq to fight against the US. It’s also the Saudi’s intention to keep Iraq refugees out of Saudi Arabia as well.
One not so well known fact amongst Americans is the number of extremist militants and terrorists that come out of Saudi Arabia. Because the Saudi government cooperates so closely with the United States, you wouldn’t even know that most Saudi’s are against a US Middle East presence.
Many democratically elected governments have been toppled by the United States simply because they were against US global interests. The Saudi cooperation ensures its very existence and also results in substantial economic assistance from the United States.
After September 11th, the United States didn’t go to Saudi Arabia searching for would-be terrorists; they went to Afghanistan while preparing for their ultimate goal of toppling the Iraq regime, which had nothing to do with September 11th. Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon. I’m not suggesting here that the United States should have gone to Saudi Arabia; obviously these men had long left Saudi Arabia to train for the hijackings. But attacking and occupying Saudi Arabia would have been more justifiable than the occupation of Iraq.
Iraq has now turned into a mess, and the Bush Administration has finally admitted some of its failures. Bush still talks about victory in Iraq, but it isn’t a conventional war where they’re fighting a conventional enemy. The soviets learned their lesson in Afghanistan, and America should have learned its lesson in Vietnam. Victory can be achieved when you are attacking a static army, but the militants fighting the US occupation are very dynamic and they come from many different countries. They will continue to recruit and fight until the US has left Iraq.
The bigger problem though is the sectarian violence. After years of persecution from the Saddam regime, the Shia majority finally have power in the government. This may be a concern for the US in a few years because Iran and Iraq may form an alliance with their Shia majority. The minority Sunnis have lost much of their power as a result and the civil war will continue well after the United States leaves Iraq. Foreign militants have been recruited into Iraq to fight and will probably continue to fight until the religious leaders in Iraq can urge an end to the violence.