A one-sided dialogue

I sent an e-mail message to an American senator who is the head of an important Senate committee. I requested that he clarify his views on the recent Rand Corporation report which contained a clear threat to Saudi Arabia’s security. I wanted to know if the report was a test trial of some new US policy being considered or a way of intimidating the Kingdom into cooperating with US plans to invade Iraq. Or was it the unveiling of a secret agenda chalked out by an influential section within the US leadership?

He replied promptly that he would meet me and answer all my questions during his upcoming visit to the Kingdom. Shortly afterward we met in Jeddah. It was a half-hour meeting in which I listened to his views on the significance of Saudi-American relations. He defended the credibility and impartiality of the US media. He also downplayed the influence of the Zionist lobby on US policy-making circles while justifying the US media campaign against the Kingdom. Then I was finally allowed to put my questions to him.

I told him that most Muslims thought that the US had an overt – or secret – and direct – or indirect – role in all the wars of the last decade: in the Balkans, Sudan, southern Philippines, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Palestine, the Gulf, North Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. All these wars were fought against Muslim countries and most of the victims were Muslims. Muslims believe that the anti-Muslim stand by the US is part of a larger US scheme to enforce a new world order in which the West leads the world and East surrenders to West.

As the US failed to implement this design with the assistance of the World Trade Organization, the country found an excuse in the Sept. 11 attacks for implementing it by force. My precise question to him was how much of this charge against the US is true or false in his view. He began refuting my argument by citing how the US had intervened, though recently, in a positive manner in the Balkans. Before he could complete the discussion, one of his aides intervened to say that he was late for his next appointment.

He promised that he would complete his answers to me the next afternoon. The next day, however, I got a message from him that his meeting with a minister had taken longer than expected and that he would consequently be unable to meet me that day. Again the meeting was postponed and so it went until he finally apologized for not having time to meet me during his visit. My questions are still unanswered.