The Obama administration's desperate struggle to evolve a coherent reaction to the Arab Revolt that shores up the crumbling pillars of US policy in the Middle East is getting very messy, as Robert Fisk reports below.*
Note that Fisk does not even mention oil, but Libya has oil, and just about everything US does with Saudi Arabia does involves oil (and recycling petrodollars to buy US weapons).
* Inside inside the Hall of Mirrors that is Versailles on the Potomac, the sinister-sounding buzzword du jour for evolving policies to cope with the Arab Revolt is regime alteration.
America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels
Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi
By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent
The Independent, Monday, 7 March 2011
Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a "day of rage" from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington's highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.
Washington's request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America's chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.
The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi's armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.
Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi's strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato – not least from Republican members of Congress – to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced. ... continued