Why We Should Not Arm Saudi Arabia
When one reviews the history of Saudi-American relations, one sees a relationship based not on friendship but on oil for protection and money.
In 1933 when lavish spending King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia signed a concessionary agreement with Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) allowing them to explore Saudi Arabia for oil, he was in dire financial straits and kept demanding more money. After oil was discovered and developed, the Saudis eventually took over the oil fields.
Their opposition to U.S. support of Israel during the 1973 Arab attempt to annihilate her led them, together with OPEC, to impose an oil embargo on the West. The reason the embargo was ended was not friendship to the West but loss of oil revenue.
Perhaps the illusion of a Saudi-American military alliance was created because King Fahd authorized the deployment of U.S. troops there before the Gulf war. This was a decision based on pragmatism, not friendship, because after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Iraqi combat forces moved toward the Saudi border.
Even though allowing U.S. troops into Saudi Arabia was necessary for the survival of the country, it created widespread hostility among the Saudi population to their government, because it meant contamination of the land of Mecca and Medina with infidels. This hostility is a result of extremist Wahhabi indoctrination, funded by the Saudi government that teaches that the infidel is impure.
The government of Saudi Arabia lives in constant fear of being overthrown by the radicals that its own money creates. King Abdullah expressed this concern in a letter to President in Bush in which he wrote:
“Those governments that don't feel the pulse of their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.”
The fear that this will happen is a fear our policy makers should share when thinking about arming Saudi Arabia.
“There’s hardly a living former assistant secretary of state for the Near East; CIA director; White House staffer; or member of Congress who hasn’t ended up on the Saudi payroll in one way or another.... With this kind of money waiting out there, of course Washington’s bureaucrats don’t have the backbone to take on Saudi Arabia.”
An illustration of the extent of influence the Saudis have was the reaction of both the U.S. government and the media to an analysis by Laurent Murawiec in which he said that the Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain and that if the Saudis did not cease to support terror the United States should seize the Saudi oil fields. Mr. Murawiec wrote:
“An experienced observer of the Washington scene confessed his surprise to me: ‘In my career of twenty-five years, I have never seen the propaganda machine get moving so quickly and with so much fury.’”
The response of Secretary of State Colin Powell is indicative of the Saudi influence over the U.S. government. Despite the extensive evidence supporting Mr. Murawiec's statements, Secretary of State Powell called Prince Saud al-Faisal, to tell him that Mr. Murawiec’s briefing did not represent the administration’s vewpoint.
Saudi influence leads to immoral and self destructive U.S. policy. In 1994, after a State Department official had the audacity to say at a press conference that the United States had "serious concerns about human rights" in Saudi Arabia, the Clinton Administration apologized to Riyadh. An investigation by journalist Joel Mobray revealed that several of the perpetrators of 9/11 would not have been able to enter the country without special U.S. immigration favors toward the Saudis.
Arms sales to the Saudis has not bought the loyalty of the Saudi people or for that matter of the Saudi government.
The main argument given by the Bush Administration for arming Saudi Arabia is that we need to strengthen Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis Iran because Iran is on the verge of mass producing nuclear weapons. What is ignored in this argument is that the Saudis pose a nuclear threat as well. Saudi money funded Pakistan's nuclear program. Pakistani nuclear technology helped make Iran the nuclear threat it has become, and Saudis, with Pakistani help, are developing their own nuclear weapons. One shudders to consider what would have happened if the 15 Saudis who struck on September 11th had access to nuclear weapons.
Arming the Saudis with smart bombs isn’t smart and although this policy may bring in more Saudi gifts and donations and the like, it is not in the best interest of the American people.