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America's friend?

The Americans have always courted the Saudis......for, seemingly, no other reason that the country has vast reserves of oil. And then there is the background to the attacks on and invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan because of, amongst other things, the alleged support of at least Iraq, of Al Qaeda - the instigators of 9/11.

However, it's the Saudis who are actually the worst offenders for supporting terrorists, as the LA Times reports:

"Saudi Arabia remains the world's leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks and has failed to take key steps requested by U.S. officials to stem the flow, the Bush administration's top financial counter-terrorism official said Tuesday.

Stuart A. Levey, a Treasury undersecretary, told a Senate committee that the Saudi government had not taken important steps to go after those who finance terrorist organizations or to prevent wealthy donors from bankrolling extremism through charitable contributions, sometimes unwittingly.

"Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism, to Sunni terror groups and to the Taliban than any other place in the world," Levey said under questioning.

U.S. officials have previously identified Saudi Arabia as a major source of funding for extremism. But Levey's comments were notable because, although reluctant to directly criticize a close U.S. ally, he acknowledged frustration with administration efforts to persuade the Saudis and others to act."

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