It’s their religious duty.

Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in
Iraq and much of the money is used to buy weapons, including shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, according to key Iraqi officials and others familiar with the flow of cash…

Two high-ranking Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, told the AP most of the Saudi money comes from private donations, called zaqat, collected for Islamic causes and charities.

Some Saudis appear to know the money is headed to Iraq’s insurgents, but others merely give it to clerics who channel it to anti-coalition forces, the officials said.

In one recent case, an Iraqi official said $25 million in Saudi money went to a top Iraqi Sunni cleric and was used to buy weapons, including Strela, a Russian shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile.

The Saudi government denies it. We need to be careful with the sources here, and not just because it’s the AP. Odds are the Iraqi officials are Shiites, which gives them a motive to want to point the finger at Iran’s enemy. The detail about anti-aircraft missiles is noteworthy too coming a week after an Air Force jet crashed near Baghdad. If you wanted to stir up anti-Saudi sentiment among Americans, putting the receipt for the missiles that took that plane down (if it was missiles that took it down) in their hands would do the trick.

Any corroborating evidence? Yup — although it’s of the Jamilgate variety:

Several drivers interviewed by the AP in Middle East capitals said Saudis have been using religious events, like the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and a smaller pilgrimage, as cover for illicit money transfers. Some money, they said, is carried into Iraq on buses with returning pilgrims.

“They sent boxes full of dollars and asked me to deliver them to certain addresses in Iraq,” said one driver, who gave his name only as Hussein, out of fear of reprisal. “I know it is being sent to the resistance, and if I don’t take it with me, they will kill me.”

The Baker report claims money’s coming in from the Kingdom, too. They fund nearly every other Islamic terrorist outfit in the world; they’re not going to miss a fight as big as Iraq.

And once we pull out, they’re coming in — a fact which Baker and company surely realize. And yet they still recommend substantial withdrawal.

The Saudis fired the guy who spilled the beans about that last week, by the way. I guess they wanted it to be a surprise.

Tags: Middle East