NOTE: I should probably stress something that occasional or first time readers might miss. Despite my regular differences with Biblical literalists of the Christian variety, I should make it clear that Koranic literalists are far worse — and far more dangerous.
With the exception of an occasional murder of an abortion doctor (and an occasional crazy antigay attack) modern fundamentalist Christians in the United States do not kill people for the crime of disagreeing with them. Maybe some of them would if they had unlimited power, but they are nowhere near getting such power, and only a paranoid nut would maintain that they are.
So, my various disagreements with fundamentalist Christian (as well as my discussions of problems I see rooted in the early history of the Christian church), while a primary focus of this blog, should never be seen as minimizing in any way the far more major threat from fundamentalist Islam.
And, amazingly, the worst of the players are still seen as our allies!
Members of the wildly dysfunctional Saudi royal family are principal bankrollers of al Qaida, and live in a state of in serious denial:

The Saudi royal family’s once limitless capacity for self-delusion is now running on empty. The most abrupt wake-up call came in recent weeks with the discovery of al Qaeda training camps in the desert near several major Saudi cities. Camouflaged as seminaries, the pseudo-clerics doubled in brass as instructors for training in both weapons and insurgency attacks.
….
Well concealed from prying Western eyes, the ruling family is in the throes of its worst crisis in its 71 years.
The founder of the dynasty, Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, married 235 women and kept 660 concubines. Their pictures and particulars were enclosed in a huge gold embossed album for occasional perusal during daylong Cabinet meetings that the king had a habit of interrupting. This reporter met with the founder in 1952(he died in 53) and courtiers were proud to brag about the monarch’s gargantuan sexual appetites, proof of great strength. The family is 24,000-strong today (including girls and wives).
Crown Prince Abdullah, pending the passing of King Fahd, disabled by a stroke in 1995, is acting boss. A reformist by instinct of survival, Abdullah is still limited in his ability to bring about fundamental change. He has to contend with a number of royal factions, each with its own agenda that is not necessarily reformist.
Abdullah is first deputy prime minister and commander of the National Guard, which is both Praetorian Guard and internal security force. Prince Sultan, the defense minister, and second in line for the throne, is second deputy prime minister and inspector general. He controls the armed forces and is also Minister of Aviation and chairman of Saudia, the national airline. There are a number of other powerful constituencies, such as Prince Nayef, the interior minister, who cannot be pushed around by Abdullah. Nayef, who said last year Israel’s Mossad engineered the September 11 attacks on America, is the closest to the Wahhabi clergy, oversees the religious police and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

On top of that, from BLOG IRAN I received this report, adding yet more evidence that al Qaida is a joint Saudi-Iranian venture (denied by those who know, of course….):

WASHINGTON – (KRT) – On what had been the eve of his widely expected acquittal, the trial of the second person charged by German authorities as an accomplice of the Sept. 11 hijackers was thrown into turmoil Wednesday after prosecutors disclosed the existence of a surprise witness purporting to link Iran to the hijackings.
The mysterious witness, who goes by the name Hamid Reza Zakeri and claims to have been a longtime member of the Iranian intelligence service, is said to have told German investigators that the Sept. 11 plot represented what one termed a “joint venture” between the terrorist group al-Qaida and the Iranian government.

Nothing new. In 1999, Yossef Bodansky documented “the new era of cooperation” between Tehran (via HizbAllah) and the “Sunni terrorist elite” — and disclosed the workings of the Committee of Three.
For years I have been reading about the links between al Qaida and Hezbollah (which equals Saudi-Iranian). (I read Bodansky’s Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America in 1999.)
But why does all of this remain largely a mystery to the American public?
I mean, I can see that the Saudis are a huge dysfunctional family.
But do we have to be a part of it?
We certainly seem to be enablers at this point, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask why it is that powerful special interests in the United States are allowed to continue to live in denial.
Might embarrassment have something to do with it?

If the Iranians indeed trained Al Qaeda, this would certainly explain why Al Qaeda seems to have such a keen understanding of the U.S. intelligence system. When the Iranians took over our Embassy in Teheran, in November 1979, they seized several rooms of top secret CIA documents. This seems to have been the only occasion in history when a CIA station lost its entire stock of inteligence to the enemy; and the insight these documents provided on U.S. sources and methods has given the Iranians a distinct operational advantage against us. Among other things, as press acounts have disclosed, the Iranians were able to detect many (perhaps even all) CIA agents in Iran between 1987 and 1992, and to turn these agents into disinformants. (These double agents steered our policy toward Iran, by continually alleging that the regime was on the verge of “moderation,” and needed only our foreign trade, to strengthen the hands of the “moderates.”)

The connection between Hezbollah (HizbAllah) and al Qaida is overwhelming. This report by Louis Freeh is as good a starting point as any:

Working in close cooperation with the White House, State Department, CIA and Department of Defense, I made a series of trips to Saudi Arabia beginning in 1996. FBI agents opened an office in Riyadh and aligned themselves closely with the Mabaheth, the kingdom’s antiterrorist police. Over the course of our investigation the evidence became clear that while the attack was staged by Saudi Hezbollah members, the entire operation was planned, funded and coordinated by Iran’s security services, the IRGC and MOIS, acting on orders from the highest levels of the regime in Tehran.
….
I quickly dispatched the FBI case agents back to Saudi Arabia, where they interviewed, one-on-one, six of the Hezbollah members who actually carried out the attack. All of them directly implicated the IRGC, MOIS and senior Iranian government officials in the planning and execution of this attack. Armed with this evidence, the FBI recommended a criminal indictment that would identify Iran as the sponsor of the Khobar bombing. Finding a problem for every solution, the Clinton administration refused to support a prosecution.
The prosecution and criminal indictment for these murders had to wait for a new administration. In February 2001, working with exactly the same evidence but with a talented new prosecutor, James B. Comey Jr. (now U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York), Attorney General John Ashcroft’s personal intervention, and White House support, the case was presented to a grand jury. On June 21, 2001, only four days before some of the terrorist charges would have become barred by the five-year statute of limitations, the grand jury indicted 13 Hezbollah terrorists for the Khobar attack and identified Iran as the sponsor.
Yesterday [May 19] the White House reiterated Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s recent statement that al Qaeda leaders are now conducting their operations from Iran. The time to bring that pressure to bear is right now, with Ambassador Bremer and our armed forces bringing democracy and justice to the Iraqi people next door. This time the United States should not just send Tehran a letter. American justice for our 19 Khobar heroes is long overdue.

Here’s more in the National Review:

Five years after the Khobar Towers killings, 13 Saudis and a Lebanese were indicted by a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for the murders. The Saudis were members of the so-called “Saudi Hezbollah” terrorist group ? supported by Iran and operated by Imad Mugniyah, one of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists. The indictments prompted Prince Sultan, Saudi deputy prime minister, to say that, “?the Americans have no right to take any (legal) steps that come under Saudi jurisdiction,” and that “The (U.S.) indictments should be passed to the kingdom for further investigation.” Now, seven years later, we have another bombing in Saudi Arabia. Again, FBI agents are on the way to investigate, and again they will meet the same Saudi stonewall.

Trying to follow up these stories and coming up dry is enough to make me wonder if someone is managing to censor the damned Internet!
According to Avi Davis, the United States has a history of appeasing Hezbollah:

October 23, 1983 stands as America’s first post-World War Two day of infamy. That was the morning Hezbollah guerillas ended the lives of 241 Marines and over 70 French soldiers at the Beirut barracks of the multi-national peace-keeping forces in Beirut. The event claims its mark on history on two counts. It was the first time a Muslim extremist group had caused mass casualties against a U. S. target. It was also the first time since the Second World War that a U.S. military force had failed to seek retribution for a mass attack against American servicemen. Acting under a cautious warning from Caspar Weinberg, Ronald Reagans’ Secretary of Defense, the Administration rejected retaliation against Hezbollah so as not to threaten a shaky relationship with Saudi Arabia. Instead, American forces were quickly recalled from Lebanon.

Finally, here’s a web site run by Ryan Mauro which (while I can’t vouch for it) appears to have done a pretty good job of documenting the Iranian connection to al Qaida.
My only, very tired, very lame question is: Why?
I know that’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll spell the answer anyway, because the US government apparently can’t:
S-A-U-D-I
What is it going to take to make our own government face the simple reality that enabling dysfunctional, terror-supporting states does not work?
UPDATE: Noting our strange “alliance”, Michael Demmons has more on the Saudis, and concludes wryly,

I thought America and the Jews were the root of every evil and catastrophe – but what do I know?

UPDATE: David Bernstein shares a sensitive and thoughtful email pointing out the staunch support for Israel from the religious right. The email is largely correct, of course, and this highlights another HUGE distinction between fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Islam.
Unfortunately, such staunch support for Israel is not shared by all of those who are considered to be on the religious right — assuming, of course, that this guy is to be considered on the “religious right.”
As Bernstein concludes, “the South has caught up with the rest of the country.”
(But then, Pat Buchanan is not from the South.)
UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, I found this story, which supplies more evidence of Saudi perfidy in allowing jihadist infiltration into Iraq:

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Saudis have since sneaked across the border into Iraq to join the jihad against US-led occupation forces.
A number have been arrested by the Iraqi police, who describe them as ‘Arab Wahhabis’, in a pejorative reference to Saudi Arabia’s austere, jihad-oriented brand of Islam.
Other Saudis have been implicated in suicide attacks in Iraq, including one that targeted the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
Only four people have so far been caught before they managed to get into Iraq, according to official Saudi government statements, leading many to wonder whether the border guards in al-Jouf are turning a blind eye.

I am sure they’re delighted to let them go. It’s a win-win for the royal family, because Saudis angry enough to cross the border to kill Americans are just the type who’d cause trouble at home.
Nonetheless, Saudi Prince Nayef (he’s the guy who claimed “the Jews” were behind 9-11), denied that this is happening:

“These allegations are absolutely baseless and we have no information about any Saudi crossing from our borders into Iraq,” Prince Nayef said in an interview published on Saturday.
“We will never allow this to happen and would not be lax with any Saudi who tries to interfere in Iraq’s affairs.”

(The “border” between Iraq and Saudi Arabia is 475 miles long — visible mainly as a line on maps.)
What is Washington’s response to all this? According to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, absolutely none:

Despite evidence that some of the most dangerous and suicidal Arab terrorists come in from Saudi Arabia, Washington still refuses to publicly discuss the role of Saudis in the Iraqi insurgency or refer to Saudi Arabia in the same tone and wording used in the case of Iran and Syria. There has been no demand from the Saudis to beef up their military presence along the Iraqi border. Nor there has been any special effort by the Saudi government, which claims to be a close ally to the U.S, to block the surge of jihadists to Iraq. Instead, the Saudis, through their spokesman in Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir, were quick to pass the blame to the U.S., announcing that if extremists are getting across the border, it is the responsibility of U.S. forces to stop them.

Is patrolling the Saudi border now our responsibility? (I thought we had our hands full with Mexico!)