As I wrote five years ago in another place, beginning a new column is like the first date with a girl you’ve had your eye on for a long time but never had the courage to ask out.  One’s nervous.  But this is a new year, 2008, and let’s start it off right by telling it like it is—as in Saudi Arabia.  The only redeeming feature of the Saudi ruling family—all 30,000 of them—is the fact those other gangsters in Washington, D.C., the neocons, are against them.  Otherwise, to quote Jonathan Swift about some other swine, they are “the most pernicious race of little vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”

Yes, it’s strong stuff, but no one deserves it more than the ghastly Saudis.  Remember the picture of George W. Bush holding Abdullah’s hand at the former’s Texas ranch?  (As a European whose family is titled, I refuse to use the honorific because Ibn Saud, the founder of the clan, awarded it to himself.)  That was couple of years ago.  And a lot of good it did us.  Let me count the ways.  Oil is now at or just about $100 per barrel; 40 percent of the foreign fighters in Iraq killing and maiming Americans and Iraqis alike are Saudis; 700 Saudi fighters were brought into Iraq since August 2006.  Saudi Arabia continues to use her vast oil wealth to purvey on a global scale the austere Wahhabist strain of Islam on which the Saud dynasty’s legitimacy rests, but which poisons young minds the world over and fuels murderous anti-Western resentment.

As they say, with friends such as dem bums . . . Saudi money talks in both rich and poor countries, although I have never seen people more hated than the Saudis are in Arab lands.  (They treat fellow Arabs like dirt.)  Watching them throw money around on hookers, expensive booze, and the casino tables in Europe is an extremely ugly sight.  One towelhead has two enormous gin palaces anchored side by side right in front of St. Tropez harbor, ferrying hookers back and forth nonstop.  Saudi whoremongers have given the oldest profession in the world a bad name.  Some of the most gruesome sights take place in Blighty, where the English upper classes genuflect to any Saudi whim.

A few years ago, 15 girls died in a school fire in Mecca because religious police prevented them from leaving the blazing building as they were not wearing correct Islamic dress and there were no relatives outside to receive them.  Apparently, the police beat them as they tried to escape.  Yet only two months ago, Abdullah arrived in London for a state visit, was dined by the Queen and the British prime minister, and was told that “we have many values in common.”  No wonder politicians are held in such low esteem.  How can anyone in his right mind choose to ignore Saudi outrages and lies and speak of shared values?  Values such as stoning adulterers to death, chopping off thieves’ heads and arms, and torturing and executing dissenters every year?

The simple fact that one million Catholics, mostly Filipinos slaving away for Saudis under brutal conditions, are not allowed to worship their God should have been a casus belli for the West.  To the contrary: We bow and scrape and hope the camel drivers throw us a crumb.  Not a single church or synagogue is allowed anywhere in Saudi Arabia under the penalty of a very painful death.  On the other hand, European mosques distribute extremist literature calling for the execution of gays and the oppression of women in our very own backyard, all of it totally financed by the Saudi government.  That smiling cobra, Bandar, who was ambassador to Washington for close to 30 years and was known to have bribed all and sundry, was recently revealed to have taken a couple of billion dollars in kickbacks from British arms manufacturers.  All it took for it to be hushed up was a simple denial from the billionaire snake.

Very serious inroads have been made by Wahhabists through the thousands of madrassas they have established in Pakistan and Indonesia, the two most populous Muslim states.  Yet the first thing the Bush administration did after September 11 was to ensure safe passage for close to 1,000 extremely rich Saudis living in the United States.  So, what is our role in all this?  Although Europe is the main center of jihadist activity, not only are European leaders weak and cowardly, they genuflect in front of Saudi moolah.  This is a unique occurrence in history.  When the treacherous Venetians helped Mehmet against the Serbs in the 14th century, they at least had the excuse of Muslim superiority.  But the perverse relationship between the Saudi monarchy and the West has no precedent.  The strong bowing to the weak.  No other tyranny has been granted such exemptions from modern canons of human rights.  As they used to say in Brooklyn, throw dem bums out.