US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is making a tour of the middle east in what BBC Correspondent Tom Carver is saying is a process of “laying out the case for military action.”

The trip was arranged within the past two days at the request of President Bush. Rumsfeld will stop in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and Uzbekistan. He will return to Washington this weekend.

Saudi Arabia has presented the United States with a serious obstacle by refusing to allow US bases in that country to be used directly in the military effort. This has created a significant obstacle, especially in terms of delivering and supply any large ground force. The carrier Kitty Hawk has been moved into the Persian Gulf to partially offset the loss of the bases.

To read the BBC story, click here.

Insight: Many of the hijackers were Saudis. All of the hijackers were members of the extremist Wahhib sect of Islam. This sect is the official religion of the Gulf States, and the Saudi Royal Family ignores it at their peril. Presently, Saudi Arabia is ruled by a regent, Crown Prince Abdullah. Abdullah has been extremely blunt in his criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If the US expects Saudi co-operation, it must return to the policy of the previous Bush administration regarding Israel, which recognized the needs of the Palestinians. The last Bush administration’s plans to broker peace in the region were interrupted when George Sr. lost the election. This George Bush must now make good on the promises George Sr. made to the Saudi king, to recognize the Palestinian authority as having equal weight in negotiations as Israel.

To learn more about Crown Prince Abdullah, click here.

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