Saudi mouthpiece: If U.S. pulls out, we're moving in

He calls himself an “adviser to the Saudi government,” but take a gander at this piece he somehow got published in NRO nine months after 9/11. May I quote?

The Saudi government does not fund terrorism. Why? Because it would be the first target of such terrorism. It would be like the NAACP giving money to the Ku Klux Klan.

Yeah, that’s exactly what it would be like.

So he’s a Saudi mouthpiece. And here’s what the Saudi mouthpiece has to say:

Just a few months ago it was unthinkable that President Bush would prematurely withdraw a significant number of American troops from Iraq. But it seems possible today, and therefore the Saudi leadership is preparing to substantially revise its Iraq policy. Options now include providing Sunni military leaders (primarily ex-Baathist members of the former Iraqi officer corps, who make up the backbone of the insurgency) with the same types of assistance — funding, arms and logistical support — that Iran has been giving to Shiite armed groups for years.

Another possibility includes the establishment of new Sunni brigades to combat the Iranian-backed militias. Finally, Abdullah may decide to strangle Iranian funding of the militias through oil policy. If Saudi Arabia boosted production and cut the price of oil in half, the kingdom could still finance its current spending. But it would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties even with today’s high prices.

He’s talking proxy war, in other words, possibly involving an as-yet-uncreated Sunni version of Hezbollah. And while the prospect of Wahhabists and radical Shiites slamming away at each other is simply delightful, the prospect of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis being caught in the middle is not.

I like the predatory pricing idea, though.

So what happens to the Saudis if the U.S. doesn’t pull out? They’re moving in anyway, albeit in a less bellicose form:

The memo also lists steps the United States can take to strengthen Mr. Maliki’s position. They include efforts to persuade Saudi Arabia to use its influence with the Sunnis in Iraq and encourage them to turn away from the insurgency and to seek a political accommodation.

Addressing Mr. Bush, the memo said one option was for the president to “direct your cabinet to begin an intensive press on Saudi Arabia to play a leadership role on Iraq, connecting this role with other areas in which Saudi Arabia wants to see U.S. action.”

That’s from the Times’s story on the memo written by Stephen Hadley complaining about Maliki’s failure to go after the militias, incidentally. The memo was circulated among Bush’s inner circle and the upper crust of the National Security Council and was given to the Times by “an administration official,” which makes it likely almost to the point of certainty that it was leaked with Bush’s knowledge. It’s his way of turning up public pressure on Maliki to do something about al-Sadr. Which will the prime topic of discussion at tomorrow’s meeting, especially now that the fat man has (temporarily) severed his ties with the government.

Finally, to follow up on yesterday’s post, Peter Pace was asked about the possible pullout from Anbar at his presser today. His response was plain and pointed.