From The Gathering Storm Blog

Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
After the ride
She was inside,
And the smile was on the face of the tiger.

In an interview posted at, Wall Street Journal reporter Yaroslav Trofimov spoke of his new book, The Siege of Mecca. In it, he reveals how the Saudi Monarchy was forced into bed with the Wahabbists in order to preserve their rule.

According to Trofimov, the defining moment was the Mecca uprising of 1979. This uprising included on organization of radicals from all over the world – Saudis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, even American converts to Islam and this organization served as a model to Al Qaeda in the future.

As history shows, the Saudi government had to re-claim the Sacred Mosque from the radicals. But in order to storm the mosque they needed to have a fatwa declared so they could ‘legally’ do it. This was the tipping point for Saudi Arabia. To get the needed fatwa from the leading Islamic clerics, the Wahhabi ulema, they had to sell their Muslim souls to the Wahabbi devil.

The clerics obliged — on the condition that the kingdom become much more rigid in enforcing the Wahhabi brand of Islam. As part of this grand bargain, millions of dollars in Saudi petrodollars started to flow all over the world to fund the clerics’ effort to spread Wahhabi Islam — creating the Islamic madrassas, charities and welfare groups that would breed the new generation of Al Qaeda recruits.

The main lesson the Saudi royal family drew from this crisis was that it had to appease the radical Islamist clergy. It seemed like a wise policy for years — except that it ended up boomeranging with the September 11 attacks and the subsequent rise of Islamist terrorism within the kingdom.

So who’s smiling now? Not the Saudis, not the US, not the free world. When is our dependence on mid-east oil going to be seen as not just a economic challenge but a national security threat and action taken to fight it? When?

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