From a recent article in the Washington Post:
What Faisal refers to as "a misunderstanding" and as "image problems" goes much deeper than such innocuous words. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to be investigating Saudi's support of inciteful material distributed at mosques in the United States. Yet our State Department seems to be avoiding those committee hearings, and at the same time, Saudi appears to be lobbying to have the hearing scrapped.
U.S.-Saudi Plan Aims To Expand Relations:
'Strategic Dialogue' To Include Energy, Counterterrorism
"JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 13 -- With skepticism still deep on both sides four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States and Saudi Arabia on Sunday inaugurated a new 'strategic dialogue' to expand cooperation on six key issues, including terrorism and energy.
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Saudi Arabia to play a stronger role in confronting terrorist groups and their financiers. 'I'm certain the Saudi government can do better,' Rice said at a news conference with Prince Saud Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister. 'All of us can do better. But there is, I think, no lack of political will.'
"The Bush administration has been under pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to win greater cooperation from Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 men who carried out the 2001 attacks were Saudi citizens, and the oil-rich kingdom is the birthplace of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden....
"Congressional criticism of Saudi Arabia has been particularly harsh. 'We can't continue this sort of cat-and-mouse game that has characterized the relationship,' Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said at a Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday. At the same session, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Washington was 'far too cozy' with a country whose citizens were responsible for the deadliest attack ever on U.S. soil.
"After Rice's talks here, the Saudi foreign minister said the kingdom was 'fighting as hard as we can. I would dare anyone to say there is another country that is fighting terror as hard as we are.' Faisal, the U.S.-educated son of the late King Faisal, noted that Saudi Arabia has outlawed incitement and cracked down on Saudi financing destined for militant groups inside and outside the country.
"'There is what I would call a misunderstanding about Saudi Arabia among the U.S. public, as there is a misunderstanding about the United States among the Saudi public. That is why we are trying to influence this,' Faisal said, adding that the news media were partially responsible for image problems...."
Returning now to the above-cited article from the Washington Post:
"[N]oticeably missing from the dialogue are the issues of political reform and democracy, which are at the top of Washington's foreign policy agenda but are the most politically sensitive issues in the Persian Gulf nation. Six new U.S.-Saudi groups will instead focus on counterterrorism, military affairs, energy, business, education and human development, and consular affairs."Is it reasonable to expect much cooperation from Saudi, the home of Wahhabism? On page 156 in his bestselling book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Robert Spencer gives, in the insert "A Book You're Not Supposed To Read," a capsular review of Dore Gold's 2003 book Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism:
"Gold's history demonstrates the foolhardiness of entering into lasting accords with Islamic states that regard bonds with any non-Muslim state not as genuine alliances between equals, but as temporary arrangements that are useful only as long as they strengthen the Muslims, and not a minute longer."
[More on Dore Gold's book here, from Liberty and Culture. More on whether Saudi is our friend or foe here, from Gates of Vienna]
The United States, indeed all Western nations, should be wary of "strategic dialogue" which doesn't further the spread of Islam! After all, strategy may have a definition which differs from that which our State Department means.