The legacy of American interventionism in Saudi Arabia, from 1919 – to the present

The United States have intervened in Saudi Arabian socio-economic and political matters since 1920s. The signing of Red line agreement between the US and British enabled the former to establish its dominance in the Middle East. The 1944 partitioning of Middle East that paced Saudi Arabia under US marked the beginning of US interest in Saudi Arabia. In the middle of World War II, Italy and Allied forces began to bomb Dhahran oil installation and King Bin Saud sought the military intervention of the US. In 1943, President Roosevelt deployed military forces to fly over Dhahran oil installations and protect the pilgrims’ route to Makka resulting to the stronger CASOC oil company (Mangold 67). During the cold war, the US sent troops and installed military technology in Saudi Arabia to protect it from Communist aggression in the Arabian Peninsula and that created peace in the kingdom. In 1956 Suez crisis, the US came to the rescue of King Saud as President Eisenhower opposed the Israeli, France, and Egypt plan to seize the canal. The US intervened to help Saudi Arabia from the Egypt attack in Yemeni bases in 1962 also boosted their diplomatic co-operation. In 1979, the US intervened with F-15 fighter jets to protect Saudi Arabia from communist invasion. In post Iranian revolution, there were threats of Shiite extremists that compelled US to train Saudi military to standby in case of any rebellion (Hart 34). During the President Bush regime, the US provided military support to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War to prevent Iraqi invasion for control of Oil. The ongoing Syria war and conflicts in Yemen have seen the US allied to Saudi Arabia, reflecting positive diplomatic relationships.

The US involvement in Saudi Arabia has brewed suspicion among Arab states and is blamed on the terrorist attack of the twin towers in September 2001. The US military interventions in Saudi Arabia has been interpreted by Middle East neighbors like Iran, Iraq, Syria and other Arab nations as a ploy to institute its power and continued exploitation of Oil in the region(Hart 43). Besides, political stability of Saudi Arabia in the region is attributed to the US constant consultation and co-operation. Although Saudi Arabia is a monarch, it has experienced significant economic boom due to streamlined oil business courtesy of the US support to its corporate network (Mangold 83). Despite the long standing rift on the Saudi involvement and alleged funding of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the US has resumed its trust with Saudi and co-operate to restore peace in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Despite occasional fallout on different political issues that include US position on Jewish state, the US interventionism at critical moments and subsequent boost on Saudi Arabia as the regional lead peace-broker has been recognized globally. Saudi Arabia is in constant strained relationship with Iran due its pro-US support for a ban in nuclear development.

Considering the overwhelming consequences of the US intervention in Saudi Arabia, there is need to pursue a new path. The US need to withdraw its troops as a sign of a diplomatic approach in brokering peace in the Middle East. Besides, the US need offer much military training and intelligence advisory that would help Saudi Arabia as a neutral nation campaign for politically motivated conflicts in the Gulf region. The US should negotiate for partial privatization of oil industry improve efficiency and portray Saudi Arabia as an Icon of economic progress, democracy and social justice in its distribution of resources’ combined redesign of US foreign policy in the middle East, with limited military intervention will yield better results.


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