Getting It Right in The Middle East

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, October 14, that has been edited for clarity.

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BRIT HUME, HOST: The alleged attackers are being killed or captured by the dozens. But the suicide attacks continue. Iraq may be making steady progress toward a free and new society, but that…but the enemies of that are making a lot of the news. So who are they, and where are they, and whatever support…and what support they have, where is it coming from?

For answers we turn to Mansoor Ijaz, an international businessman by trade who sources in the Muslim world have made him a highly valued Fox News contributor.

Mansoor, thanks for joining us.

MANSOOR IJAZ, FOX NEWS FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: Good to be with you, Brit. I promise I only have one microphone on.

HUME: Well, you may have a second one that you don't know about because they're connected. There are two, you know? We have to have a backup. We don't want to lose you.

Anyway, tell me a bit here about what we can say about where these attacks are coming from. The military always says, well, it's a combination of bitter end, Saddam supporters, outside terrorists coming in, and who all else? What do you know about it?

IJAZ: Well, the structural influence, Brit, is fairly straightforward. About two and a half, three months ago a senior Saudi official admitted that as many as 3,000 men in their country had gone unaccounted for.

These were from a combined reporting of police reports as well as families saying that they didn't know where certain young men were and their families. It's a pretty good bet that most of those men are of the Al Qaeda (search) philosophy at least, if not directly related to the organization. Most of them have probably now infiltrated into Iraq through Syria, Jordan, maybe even directly from Saudi Arabia.

And what is most disturbing about what is going on now is that you are seeing this confluence for the first time, where our allies are showing benign neglect. That is, you know, a police state, like Saudi Arabia ought to know where its people are and ought to be able to control better its borders.

And the malicious intent on the other side of our enemies, like Syria (search) and Iran (search), to insure that A, they get safe passage into Iraq. And B, that they get the necessary tools and instruments of terrorism to blow up buses or cars or whatever else it might be.

HUME: Well, let me ask you about this Saudi Arabia. The administration officials here in Washington say, boy, ever since Saudi got…ever since Riyadh got hit with that bombing, the Saudis have been a new government to deal with.

Now of course, that was relatively recently, and that their whole attitude has changed. Evidently though, you detect here that there have been some neglect on this issue for a reason. What reason?

IJAZ: Yes. I think the most important reason…there are many. But I think the most important one is that the Saudis smell that we're going to be around there for a very long time. And if that's the case, it is inevitable that we will probably go after the theocracy in Iran.

And by the way, it doesn't have to be a military intervention. It could also be that Democracy takes real root in Iraq and gives enormous support to the…what I would call the student movement in Iran. That is, everybody below the theocracy and that you have a change of regime there.

And if there was a change of regime in Iran, that changes the balance of power in the Middle East in a significant way because the Saudis are on the ropes all the way around. And I think the Saudi royal family is starting to wonder if America, being in that part of the world for a long period of time to come, is such a good thing for the Saudi royal family. I think they're very, very concerned about it.

HUME: So, your view is that it's possible, and indeed likely, that the Saudi royal family is less afraid of the terrorism that it recently has had on it's…within its own borders than it is of democracy taking root in Iraq.

And possibly spreading to other places and making that regime seem even more medieval that it may already seem?

IJAZ: The example that we can give is very straightforward. Look at what China has done with North Korea as far as the rest of the world is concerned. They have used North Korea essentially as an irritant, if I may put it that way.

They could have solved this problem in North Korea a long time ago, every. But they didn't because they knew it was an irritant to us and it helped keep us out of Taiwan or Hong Kong or wherever else they didn't want us to be around.

Well, the Saudis have essentially exactly the same strategy and philosophy. That if there is an irritant in southern Iraq, in western Iraq, or Baghdad, wherever they may be able to create it, in the form of these periodic bombings, if the American people come to the conclusion that they've seen enough on television and that only the bad news is getting covered.

Then I think you can say that, at least their structural thinking is that, we, the American people, don't have the guts, the stamina, the courage to stick this thing out the right way.

And that is precisely why it is at this moment that the American people need to get behind the president regardless of what your political views are. This is about getting it right in the Middle East for the long- term. If we leave that place now, be rest assured that nothing but the whole place is going to blow up.

HUME: Now, what about the Saudis government's interest in this? I mean there must be people in that enormous royal family there, who believe that an unstable and terrorist-ridden Iraq is a nightmare for them, at least as serious as Saddam was. Aren't there?

IJAZ: Well, that makes the assumption that it's not the Wahabist who are, in fact, in control of those who have infiltrated in. My judgment would be...

HUME: The Wahabis being, of course, the believers in a particularly extreme version of Islam, correct?

IJAZ: That's correct. And it would be my judgment that the Wahabist are just dead set on insuring that they create as much trouble for us as they possibly can.

We know they have a devil's pact with the top layer of the royal family. We know that they're interested in trying to destabilize that part of the world as far as Shiia Islam is concerned.

We know that they have no problem with Iran and Saudi Arabia's Sunni-Shiia wars, you know, the two branches…main branches of Islam, playing themselves out on Iraqi soil.

HUME: So it's always with the Saudis, it's always a double game, isn't there?

IJAZ: It's just unbelievable, Brit. And I can tell you one thing that pretty soon it's going to burn them and it's going to burn them good. And we just have to stick it out because we're doing the right thing. We have got to have the moral fiber and the courage this time to stick this thing through.

HUME: Last quick question. Your belief then, is that there is real progress apart from the violence?

IJAZ: You bet. No and, if's, or but's about it. And I wish that we could see more of it on television, but there's no chance that we can say that there isn't any progress. There is progress, and we have to go with it.

HUME: All right. Mansoor Ijaz, always good to have you. Thank you, sir.

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