Huma Abedin and the Saudi Lobby
I don`t have any inside information on Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton`s close personal advisor, so let me speculate irresponsibly.
Abedin is a rich South Asian-ancestry but Saudi-raised woman who is also (amusingly enough) the wife of disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Michelle Bachmann got herself in all sorts of trouble with Respectable Washington by pointing out that Abedin`s family has had lots of ties over the decades to the now-ascendant Muslim Brotherhood, such as her father founding the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a Saudi outreach program. (Her Pakistani mother is a professor in Saudi Arabia.)
John McCain, for example, was apoplectic at Bachmann`s effrontery.
Washington insider Ed Rollins, Bachmann`s own former campaign manager, went berserk on Fox News:
Shame on you, Michele! You should stand on the floor of the House and apologize to Huma Abedin and to Secretary Clinton and to the millions of hard working,loyal, Muslim Americans for your wild and unsubstantiated charges. As a devoted Christian, you need to ask forgiveness for this grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior.
Wow, sounds like Bachmann struck a nerve …
My guess would be that Ms. Abedin is not some sort of radical Islamist Manchurian Candidate who has had a baby with her Jewish politician husband just to cover her Islamist tracks.
But, I suspect that Bachmann struck a nerve with the Bipartisan Establishment because Abedin has so many Saudi ties. The Fourth Rail of Washington imperial politics is the Saudi Lobby (the Third Rail is the Israeli Lobby).
The Saudis have more money than God, but, like the Kuwaitis in 1990, they are too lazy and cowardly too defend their unearned oil wealth. But, unlike the Kuwaitis, who were too arrogant to even pretend to like America before Saddam`s invasion, the Saudis have long been using their oil money prudently to buy themselves friends in Washington.
One way they do it is by doing actual favors for the United States of America. Most notably, at the Reagan Administration`s request, the Saudis pumped so much oil in 1986 that it drove oil prices low enough to pound the last nail in the Soviet Union`s economic coffin. That was a big one, and I am grateful.
Currently, the Saudis appear to be funding the Sunni uprising in Syria. Is that at the request of the Obama Administration? (I haven`t been following the news out of Syria.) Obviously, this is wildly hypocritical after the Saudis sent tanks in to Bahrain to crush democracy protests there last year, but such is the way of the world.
Unfortunately, the Saudi rulers aso have interests not at all aligned with America`s. Most notably, the Royal Family buys off local hotheads by subsidizing them to stir up Muslim hotheads abroad.
On the other hand, while occasionally the Saudis will do a genuine expensive favor for the U.S. like cutting the price of oil to hurt a mutual foe, most of the time they find it more cost effective just to do favors for members of the American ruling class.
Consider the amazing career of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to America from 1983-2005. The illegitimate son of a royal prince and a part black slave girl, Bandar never had a hope of rising to the throne himself, but he made himself the most valuable servant of Saudi state by insinuating himself into almost every crack in Washington with his charm and money. For example, when George W. Bush told his dad that he really ought to finally learn something about American foreign policy if he were going to run for President, George H.W. Bush sent him to Bandar for tutoring.
Personally, I`ve always admired Bandar as a patriot who did much for his country. But, I would have kicked him out of the U.S. for being too good at his job. (His mental health finally broke under the stress and he went home in 2005.)
What does all this say about Huma Abedin`s rise to power within the American government? I`m not sure. It may just be personal. But, the principle matters to the Important People in Washington, and the principle is that the public isn`t supposed to think about how chummy they are with the Saudis. So, no thinking about Huma!