King Abdullah, making the first visit to England in twenty years by a Saudi ruler, created a storm of controversy by claiming he sent information to Prime Minister Tony Blair before the tragic July 7, 2007 bombing in London. “We have sent information to Great Britain before the terrorist attacks in Britain, but unfortunately no action was taken. And it may have been able to maybe avert the tragedy.” His rather dramatic comment raises questions as to why two years after the event this information is finally seeing the light of day. Some critics believe it is a pre-emptive strike by the Saudi King in order to divert attention from his own failures in extending human rights within the kingdom. Vince Cable, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, said he would boycott anything to do with King Abdullah due to the human rights failures in Saudi Arabia.
We can expect in the coming years other claims that Blair or Bush ignored warnings about potential terrorist attacks. In some cases, the speaker will be expressing solid information, in others, it may simply be a way to gain attention or, in the case of King Abdullah, to focus attention on British failures rather than his own civil rights record.