Global Politics

U.S. - Saudi Relations

The US-Saudi relationship has been described as one of America's most enduring and complex. The agreement goes like this: the US needs Saudi Arabia's oil and Saudi Arabia needs the US's protection in an unstable part of the world. The First Gulf War was probably the highest point in that relationship, says this former ambassador. But after 9/11, a lot changed, as America found that a lot of Islamic fanaticism had links in one way or another to Saudi Arabia. It's not clear if anyone would listen if America were to reach out again to Saudi Arabia. Conservative commentators have always viewed Saudi Arabia more as a competitor than a friend. In other words, the Saudi Royal Family has no reason to listen to the Bush administration's concerns. For his part, Bush acknowledged that energy prices were high and he reiterated his position that the US should increase domestic oil production.

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