U.S. Ally Blamed For Iraq Suicide Attacks

In Iraq today, a series of devastating attacks hit the northern city of Kirkuk. A suicide truck bombing and two other car bombs killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 180 others. The carnage from the worst of the bombs was horrendous, even by Iraqi standards. Passengers trapped inside a bus burned to death.

More than 4,000 Iraqi civilians have died in suicide attacks in the past six months, and Saudi Arabia bears much of the blame, according to Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

"We believe most of the foreign terrorists who are blowing themselves up in this country, killing Iraqi citizens, are coming from Saudi Arabia," al-Rubaie said.

The Iraqis and the U.S. military here claim 60 to 80 terrorist recruits a month enter Iraq, half of them from Saudi Arabia. They travel to the Syrian capital of Damascus, then cross the long and porous border into Iraq.

Al-Rubaie said he asked the Saudi government to crack down harder on would-be jihadists and to restrict movement of funds to Sunni extremist factions — especially those linked with al Qaeda.

"We would love our American allies to put more pressure, and more convincing on the Saudi government," al-Rubaie said.

One of Iraq's most hard-line Sunni leaders, Hareth al-Dhary, visited the kingdom last month. Al-Rubaie claimed he was publicly praised by King Abdullah as a mujahadeen, or holy warrior.

The Saudi connection puts Washington in an awkward spot because the kingdom is a favored ally in the region.

Washington has known about the problem for years, a regional analyst said. That there has been no action is an indication of the limited influence the United States has over the Saudis.

The fact that both Iraqi and U.S. military officials are now pointing fingers may be a sign that carnage has overcome diplomatic niceties.

  • Christine Lagorio

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