Saudis threaten to back Sunnis if US leaves Iraq

Saudi Arabia has warned it could decide to provide financial support to Iraqi Sunnis if the US pulls its troops out of Iraq, where sectarian violence between the minority Sunnis and majority Iraqi Shiites has threatened to tear apart the country, The New York Times reported. Saudi Arabia is a majority Sunni country and up to now has promised US officials that it would not intervene to assist Iraq's Sunni insurgency, according to the report, appearing in Wednesday's edition of The Times and citing anonymous American and Arab diplomatic sources. But that promise might not hold if US troops leave Iraq, the newspaper said. The Bush administration has repeatedly said there are no plans for the immediate pullout of US troops. The Times reported that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sent the warning to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during the vice president's visit to Riyadh. The message also emphasized the kingdom's displeasure with proposed talks between the US government and Iran.