Prince Bandar and President George W. Bush

What is the role of Saudi Arabia in this proposal for a US military strike on Syria? It is not a question you will see asked much in the American media, but you should. Internationally there has been some coverage of the Saudi role, particularly the oceans of cash they’ve been lavishing on jihadist rebels for over a year. Rich Saudis like (now deceased) Osama Bin Laden and Saudi Intel Chief Prince Bandar are traditionally the biggest backers of radical Islamist groups in the world. President Assad continually noted in his interview with Charlie Rose that the Saudis were pouring their petro-dollars into Wahhabist Al-Qaeda linked rebels in Syria. 

And now it is reported that the Saudi Arabian government is granting amnesty to death row inmates in exchange for them going to Syria to wage jihad.

Well, it seems some Saudi bureaucrats looked at the stalemate in Syria and came up with a way to think outside the box—and by “box” I mean “death row cell.” According to a story filed by A.I.N.A., an Iraqi Assyrian PR agency, the Saudi Ministry of Interior came up with a brand-new plague to inflict on Syria in 2012: “Let’s fly a bunch of death-row inmates over there and give them automatic weapons!” Seriously. Here’s the memo:

…we are in dialogue with the accused criminals who have been convicted with smuggling drugs, murder, rape, from the following nationalities: 110 Yemenis, 21 Palestinians, 212 Saudis, 96 Sudanese, 254 Syrians, 82 Jordanians, 68 Somalis, 32 Afghanis, 94 Egyptians, 203 Pakistanis, 23 Iraqis, and 44 Kuwaitis.

We have reached an agreement with them that they will be exempted from the death sentence and given a monthly salary to their families and loved ones, who will be prevented from traveling outside Saudi Arabia in return for rehabilitation of the accused and their training in order to send them to Jihad in Syria.

Please accept my greetings.

[Signed]

Director of follow up in Ministry of Interior

Abdullah bin Ali al-Rmezan

Not only are the Saudis dumping cash into the conflict that goes to Al Qaeda-linked terrorists and lobbying America to strike against our own interests, they are freeing rapists and killers to go wild in the countryside. One can only imagine the kind of humanity these convicted fighters will show once they arrive on the battlefield. Then again could the opposition in Syria get anymore brutal?

It seems well past time for the American press to start covering Saudi Arabia’s role in the drive to war – their interests and motivations.

White House Photo by Eric Draper