Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war.

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki.

The American officials in Iraq also say that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia and that about 40 percent of all foreign fighters are Saudi.

The Bush administration’s frustration with the Saudi government has increased in recent months because it appears that Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to undermine the Maliki government and to pursue a different course in Iraq from what the administration has charted. Saudi Arabia has also stymied a number of other American foreign policy initiatives, including a hoped-for Saudi embrace of Israel.

Of course, the Saudi government has hardly masked its intention to prop up Sunni groups in Iraq and has for the past two years explicitly told senior Bush administration officials of the need to counterbalance the influence Iran has there.

Last fall, King Abdullah warned Vice President Dick Cheney that Saudi Arabia might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulled its troops out of Iraq, American and Arab diplomats said.

we are soooo out of league on this one. George Bush thinks this is a checker’s game while everyone else is playing chess.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States are close partners in many important endeavors. We welcome the renewed determination of Saudi Arabia to pursue economic reform and its quest to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). We will work together as partners to complete our negotiations and with other WTO members in Geneva with the aim of welcoming Saudi Arabia into the WTO before the end of 2005.

– George W. Bush April 2005

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