----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Doug Pensinger" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Killer Bs Discussion" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 11:25 PM
Subject: Re: Br!n: On the Saudis

> Dan wrote:
> > The world is full of possibilities Doug, but this is a long shot.
> > Political pressure comes from leverage.  Who would we get involved in a
> > coalition to push on Saudi, and what would be the leverage.
> A trillion dollars worth of investments in the U.S. alone, maybe?

According to:


On the other hand, Saudi Arabia does have extensive -- around $100
billion -- foreign assets, which provide a substantial fiscal "cushion."

<end quote>

That makes sense to me, given the low production and low price of oil in
the mid-80s and in the late '90s...actually it hasn't been at all high
until just recently.I'd guess that private investment also exists; but not
$900 billion worth.
So, freezing their assets would have noticeable negative consequences for
them, but it would also have repercussions for the US.  I would guess that
OPEC would have a fairly significant response.  Since oil is fungible; it
would take a world boycott to affect the US, but I would think that there
would be a strong negative reaction....even if we had fairly convincing
proof.  We could count on France, I think, to lead the reaction.

So, I think it would hurt them more than us in the short term, but I think
the results would be a bit uncertain overall.  Nonetheless, you did put
forth a real type of pressure that could be applied.

> So are you telling me that no matter what Saudi Arabia does, they can get
> away with it?

No.  I'm telling you, with regard to political pressure, there is minimal
that can be done.  You suggest freezing Saudi assets in the US, and that's
possible, but I'm not sure how much the net leverage is.  The next step I
can think of is war.

>Is there a threshold that will provoke either political or
> military action?  To me, the 9/11 attacks are a pretty high threshold -
>to high to ignore _any_ of the participants.

If the Saudi government actually ordered it; then we might have to pay a
high price to set an example.  But, we were willing to let the Taliban
slide if they would stop protecting AQ.  We let Pakistan slide with a great
deal when they offered to cooperate.  It appears to me that the Saudi
government has decided that paying protection money is not a good way to
keep AQ at bay and is now fighting them.

And if we did; we would have much of the world unified against us...because
we would be acting against their economic best interests.

> If Saudis in the U.S. had been detained and interrogated, if Saudis had
> been pinpointed as the perpetrators of the attacks, then, with the world
> behind us in the months after 9/11 then they could have been dealt with
>by the world as long as it wasn't seen by the rest of the world as a grab
>for Saudi oil by the U.S. (the way the Iraqi invasion is seen).

That's an excuse for people to oppose us....we are losing money hand over
fist in Iraq.  Of course people would scream.  European opinion would be
strongly against us...we would risk their prosperity.

> I don't see any country's role as so special that they can get away with
> an atrocity and I bet you don't either.

Why the Saudi government would work with hand in glove with a group
dedicated to overthrow them in order to attack the country most responsible
for their defense is beyond me.  But, if you would argue that the Saudi
government looked the other way while protection money was being paid,
that's believable. I have no doubt that the fact that the Saudi government
was cowardly in the face of AQ will be very embarrassing to them.  But, I
don't think that this should be a grounds for going to war.  It would be
worth threatening the government over, if the kept on paying the bribe
money.  But, indications are that they have now decided they need to fight
AQ; which is what we wanted from them.

Dan M.


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