With Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2001
Saudis Consider Booting U.S.
Word is spreading around the Mideast and through diplomatic channels that the Saudi regime is embroiled in heated debate about whether to end the U.S. military presence in the kingdom.
The royal family, United Press International reported today, "is united only in the growing sense of panic that Osama bin Laden has provoked an internal political crisis that threatens to topple the regime."
"Crown Prince Abdullah, far more sympathetic to the fundamentalists, is said to want the 13,000 American troops and airmen to leave. Defense Minister Prince Sultan, far more pro-Western, wants them to stay - but even he opposes the use of Saudi bases for U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban.
"Bin Laden's contemptuous attacks on the Saudi monarchy as 'hypocrite Muslims' and American puppets have struck a popular chord. Demonstrations in support of bin Laden have been called for Thursday night across the Saudi kingdom through Internet sites and mobile phone text messaging. Riyadh, Qaseem, Jeddah, Mecca and Khobar are all targeted for demonstrations.
"The Saudis have given Washington no overt warning, but Pentagon officials have quietly been looking at alternative bases in the Gulf region. Fear of the impact on the shaky Saudi monarchy is one big reason why Pentagon deputy secretary Paul Wolfowitz has been told to silence his earlier calls to complete the unfinished business with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq."