It seems that the Saudi Arabians are continuing their dangerous game by supporting and radicalising Sunni Muslims in Iraq. I noted the danger of their game–advancing their Wahhabi/Salafi style of Islam while trying to contain the blowback of those like Osama bin Laden who don’t think the Kingdom is Islamic enough–earlier, and in the context of U.S. officials expressing their concern about the Saudis in Iraq.
The Saudis are serious about containing Iranian/Shi’ite expansion, Iran for political reasons and Shi’a Islam for religious ones. As a Salafi friend told me flat out, Salafis consider Shi’a Islam to be outside of Islam altogether. I documented a similar sentiment earlier.
What this means is that, in one sense, the U.S. is caught in the middle in Iraq between the Sunni Saudis and the Shi’ite Iranians. The U.S.’s failure to come up with an effective policy regarding the Saudis–even to the point of playing them off effectively against the Iranians–is right up there with the whole "democracy in the Middle East" illusion. And it’s doubtful that regime change here will improve our policy either–just one set of pseudosophisticates for another.