Saudi Minister Warns U.S. Iraq May Face Disintegration
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 - Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war.
"There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters at the Saudi Embassy here. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart."
Prince Saud's statements, some of the most pessimistic public comments on Iraq by a Middle Eastern leader in recent months, were in stark contrast to the generally upbeat assessments that the White House and the Pentagon have been offering.
Prince Saud, who is in Washington for meetings with administration officials, blamed several American decisions for the slide toward disintegration, though he did not refer to the Bush administration directly.
Primary among them was designating "every Sunni as a Baathist criminal," he said.
Prince Saud said he met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week and added that American officials generally responded to his warnings by telling him that the United States successfully carried off the Iraqi elections and "they say the same things about the constitution" and the broader situation in Iraq now. On Thursday, in fact, the senior administration official said, "The forward movement of the political process is the best answer."
Prince Saud argued: "But what I am trying do is say that unless something is done to bring Iraqis together, elections alone won't do it. A constitution alone won't do it."