Sunday, March 2, 2008

House of Saud

Saudi Arabia—one of the United States' most important allies for more than sixty years—is home to vast oil fields and a wealthy, often extravagant, monarchy. It is also home to fifteen of the nineteen terrorists responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Until 9/11, most Americans paid little attention to how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was run. But in the aftermath of the attacks, America awoke to some difficult truths about its longtime ally: for decades, Saudi wealth and charities supported individuals and organizations dedicated to doing America harm, and its universities and religious schools—known as madrassas—prepared countless young men for jihad against the West.

Today, Saudi television broadcasts programs where children read poems against Jews and in praise of Islamic martyrs. Recently twenty-six Saudi clerics, among them, Sheikh Nasser al-Omar, issued a fatwa, or edict, encouraging Muslims to fight the Americans in Iraq. And in December 2004, gunmen attacked the American consulate in Jeddah
. More from Frontline's Introduction to the film.

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