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Is Saudi money financing Iraqi insurgents?

From Zain Verjee
CNN

Graham
Sen. Bob Graham: "[Saudi Arabia] ... has continued to take steps that are adverse to our interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world."
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ATLANTA (CNN) -- According to a recent U.S. military intelligence report, insurgents depend on external donors to finance attacks in Iraq. Attacks the United States believes are being bankrolled with Saudi money.

U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, tried to turn it into a campaign issue on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

"I believe a real test of leadership for President Bush would be to let the American people know what the Saudis are doing and what he intends to do about it if he continues as president," Graham said.

The Pentagon believes wealthy Saudi individuals and charities, sympathetic to Iraqi rebels, are providing the cash. U.S. officials say that money is being funneled through Syria, a charge the Saudi government rejects.

Nonetheless, the report has raised questions about Saudi Arabia's commitment to the U.S.-led war on terror.

"That is a country which was a disingenuous ally during September 11, has continued to take steps that are adverse to our interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world," Graham said.

A senior Saudi official says this view is "distorted" and motivated merely by "election year politics." The kingdom adds it has taken substantive steps to combat terrorism.

Congressional Republicans support that view.

"We've continued to try to put pressure and worked with the Saudi government to try to get the insurgents within Saudi Arabia to... bring them to justice," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania.

Saudi Arabia says if the United States provides evidence against Saudi individuals funding Iraqi insurgents it will crack down.


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