In short, while al-Qaeda had drawn funding from both Saudi and Iranian sources, in present circumstances its activity tended to serve Iranian rather than Saudi interests. Support for terrorism, moreover, is a two-way street: precisely because Saudi Arabia was "a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda", Saudi intelligence knows something about the recipients of their money.Read the whole thing.
The Saudis, moreover, have an interest in cleaning up the terrorist associations of the Pakistani military. As the Saudi cold war with Iran grows increasingly hot, Riyadh may look towards Islamabad for military support. Asia Times Online has reported that the Bahrain National Guard already is recruiting Pakistani mercenaries. (See Pakistan ready for Middle East role, April 2.)
And there is speculation that Saudi Arabia in a pinch might ask for Pakistani troops, and also that Riyadh might source nuclear weapons technology from Pakistan to counter Iran's nuclear program. Where else might the Saudis go for support in a war with Iran? The Saudis cannot trust the United States. King Abdullah reportedly was enraged that Obama pulled the rug out from under Mubarak, a longstanding American ally. And they cannot trust the Turks, who have become the region's spoiler.
Pakistan's military capacity and urgent need for money make it the Sunni power most amenable to Saudi interests. That is one more reason to clear the deck of unreliable elements like Bin Laden.
Ironically, Bin Laden appears to be a casualty in the great Arab breakdown of 2011. We can only guess as to the details of his demise, and may never know the entire truth. But it is a fair conclusion that he was crushed between the tectonic plates now shifting in the Muslim world.
posted by Carl in Jerusalem