Last February Thomas Friedman revealed in a column that Crown Prince Abdullah had a peace plan for the Middle East. Full Israeli withdrawal for full Arab recognition of Israel. That was it in a nutshell. I thought, at the time, that it was simply Saudi propaganda. Recently searching for the article, I found it on the web at a site called the Saudi Arabian Information Resource.
I guess that confirms my suspicion.
All along I assumed that the reason Saudi Arabia put forward this bogus peace proposal was to deflect American attention from Iraq. After all a successful effort to topple Saddam and introduce democracy into the Gulf region might give some Saudi subjects ideas. Lately though I've wondered maybe there was a deeper concern that Abdullah had in mind. As Friedman noted, the Saudis wished to "explain themselves better to the world in light of the fact that 15 Saudis were involved in the September 11 attacks." Well wouldn't revelations that a Saudi princess assisted
the September 11 hijackers - even unintentionally - undermine such explanations? Maybe by paying lip service to "peace" Abdullah hoped to focus attention away from such inconvenient fact.
By acting as Abdullah's unquestioning mouthpiece Friedman forfeited any credibility he had in commenting on the Middle East.