On learning that the Saudi Arabian defence Minister, Saud al-Faisal, claimed in declarations to CNN that Saudi Arabia would not allow the USA to use its bases in the country to launch an attack on Iraq, Mary Matalin, the advisor of US Vice-President Richard (Dick) Cheney, declared that the USA “has other friends it can count on” in the region.
Such blatant arrogance has unfortunately become the hallmark of an administration which has managed spectacularly to deprive Washington of any sympathy it gained as the victim of the September 11th terrorist attack. In refusing to observe the signs and to keep an ear to the ground, feeling how public opinion is acting and reacting to this, Washington prefers to go it alone, like a displaced, dislocated, out-of-touch Lone Ranger who has inexplicably found himself wandering in time two centuries ahead of his own. Washington’s diplomacy has become cowboy diplomacy, the law of the gun counting more than the rules of diplomacy while the US administration acts like the sheriff who enters the saloon of the world stage and declares ominously “This place is too small for both of us”. Gunfire follows.
The Saudi Foreign Minister declared that “we will cooperate with the Security Council, but do not think that we shall enter the conflict or that we will allow them to use our bases”. He added that “if the UNO takes a decision on Chapter 7 (on the use of force), all signee states of the UN Charter must cooperate, but this does not oblige us to go on a military adventure or allow them to use our military installations”.
Recently, Washington has spent 1.4 billion USD on improving the facilities at the Al Udeid base in Qatar.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru