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With these sort of friends....

Reflect on the fact that the Americans see the Saudis as "friendly" and as allies. So, the US was more than stung and startled to read this as reported by Associated Press:

"Speaking to a summit meeting of Arab leaders in Riyadh last week, Saudi King Abdullah referred to the US presence in Iraq as an “illegitimate foreign occupation”.

Associated Press continues with it's reportage as follows:

"US officials were dumbfounded by the portrayal of the costly US military operation that President Bush defends as a mission conducted at the request of the Iraq government to help stabilise the country.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rang the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, for an explanation of the king’s remarks.

But Dr Rice did not take the matter up directly with her Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, in an apparent bid to avoid aggravating the rift.

Analysts saw Abdullah’s tough public stance as part of a move by the Saudi monarch to take the lead of a new pan-Arab movement to counter the rising influence of Shiite Iran."

Meanwhile, AP in the same piece also reports Kissinger, whose track record is such that he fears visiting some countries lest he be arrested as a war criminal, and advisor to George Bush, as saying:

"Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped engineer the US withdrawal from Vietnam, said Sunday the problems in Iraq are more complex than in the Vietnam War, and military victory was no longer possible.He also said he sympathised with the troubles facing US President George W. Bush.

“A military victory in the sense of total control over the whole territory, imposed on the entire population, is not possible,” Dr Kissinger said in Tokyo, where he received an honorary degree from Waseda University."

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