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Saudi Royals Attempt to Mollify Extremists

November 28, 2002

Re "Saudi Funds Raise New Fears on Hill," Nov. 25: With regard to the possibility that Saudi Arabia may have provided financial aid to terrorists inside the U.S., you only have to go back to about a month after Sept. 11, 2001, to see a foreshadowing of this current controversy.

During a visit to New York, a Saudi prince made a comment suggesting there was a moral equivalence between what the terrorists had done and the plight of the Palestinians. Then he took out his checkbook and tried to buy Rudy Giuliani for $10 million. To his credit, the mayor refused the buyoff.

The members of the Saudi Arabian royal family have been trying to have it both ways. They want a relationship with the West, but they also have a domestic need to mollify the Islamic extremists who have been incubating in their mosques and schools for the last 20 years. Fence-straddling, of course, only delays the inevitable. One way or the other, the Saudis will have to make a choice. Do they want to return to the Dark Ages or join the rest of the modern world?

John Johnson

Encino

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