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Saudi Arabia and the war on terrorism.

IN 1945 THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN a U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and a Saudi king, Abdel Aziz al-Saud, the founder of modern day Saudi Arabia, was held aboard an American warship in the Suez Canal. The two leaders laid down the foundations for a solid alliance between their two nations. The United States is the world's largest oil consumer and importer, while Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil producer and exporter. Meanwhile, given its vast hydrocarbon resources, large size and small population, the kingdom has been threatened by more populous and powerful neighbors (e.g., Egypt, Iran and Iraq). As a superpower, the United States has the political will and the means to protect Saudi Arabia and its oil fields. In short, since the mid-1940s the unofficial alliance between Washington and Riyadh has been based on oil for security. For more than half a century the two sides were satisfied with their partnership. Saudi Arabia has, for the most part, played a leading role as a moderate power to calm the oil markets, producing more when prices are too high and less when there is a glut. In return, the United States has demonstrated its determination to defend the kingdom from real or potential threats by regional rivals. Furthermore, Washington has shown very little, if any, interest in pressuring the Saudi rulers to reform their economic and political systems.

Based on this understanding the United States has emerged as Saudi Arabia's biggest trading partner and the Saudis have been among the biggest buyers of U.S.-made weaponry. The Saudis have also been major U.S. creditors, buying billions in Treasury bonds and enthusiastic investors in U.S. industry.

This solid five-decade partnership was severely challenged by the 11 September terrorist attacks, in which approximately three thousands people were killed. Osama bin Laden, the main figure behind these attacks was born in Saudi Arabia and fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi citizens. In addition, Saudi private money was used to finance the 11 September terrorist attacks as Gawdat Bahgat is Director, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Political Science, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania. well as other attacks against U.S. citizens and interests. Accordingly, since 11 September 2001 the U.S.-Saudi partnership has come under intense scrutiny and the relations between Washington and Riyadh have reached the lowest point ever.

This study seeks to examine Riyadh's stand on the war on terrorism, particularly with regard to channeling Saudi private money to terrorist organizations. The wave of American criticism to the Saudi domestic and foreign policies will be discussed. Finally an assessment of the current U.S. Saudi relations and policy options in the foreseeable future will be provided.


The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formally proclaimed in 1932 by Abdel Aziz al-Saud. The al-Saud family forged an alliance with the religious movement, Wahhabism in the mid eighteenth century. The followers of this reformist movement are called Muwahhidum, better known in the West as Wahhabis. The doctrine of this movement emphasizes the necessity of behaving in conformity with the laws of the Qur'an and the practices of the Prophet, as interpreted by the early scholars of Islam. The ultimate goal of the Muslim community, according to Wahhabism, is to become the living embodiment of God's laws on earth. Bid'ah (innovation) defined as any doctrine or action that does not confirm with the Qur'an or the Prophet's traditions, is an important concern for the Wahhabis. The movement strongly rejects any innovation. Finally, Wahhabism calls for obedience to a just Muslim ruler, because the community of believers can fulfill its goal only by submitting an oath of allegiance to a Muslim ruler, who, in consultation with Ulema (religious scholars) and those who hold political power is the hallmark of a true Islamic government. (1)

This alliance between the House of Saud and the theologians of the Wahhabi movement has endured for more than two and a half centuries. It provides the royal family with the necessary religious legitimacy to rule a conservative society. The kingdom is the cradle of Islam; its constitutional system is based on Shari'a (Islamic law) and its cultural and social mores are shaped by Islamic teachings, as interpreted by Wahhabism. These prevalent conservative values have complicated the kingdom's relations with its main foreign ally--the United States. The Saudi leaders have always preferred not to be seen as too close to the United States. Thus, the kingdom is the only Gulf monarchy with which the United States has no formal defense cooperation agreement. Indeed, it has been argued that a visible American troop presence weakens the royal family rather than strengthening it.

Meanwhile, domestically Islam has always been the language of dissent. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world. Accordingly, the Saudi population is very young. The Saudi economy, which is largely based on oil revenues, does not generate enough jobs to accommodate the growing number of job-seekers. These unemployed young Saudis have been increasingly exposed to regional and Western media through the internet and satellite dishes. With few channels for political expressions, they have found an appropriate vehicle to express their rage: political Islam.

In order to deal with rising popular demands and expectations the Saudi government has promoted a steady socio-economic and political change, albeit at a slow pace. (2) Indeed, it can be argued that a policy of gradualism has served the kingdom well. Thus, the Saudi regime has survived tremendous challenges including the Arab nationalism led by Egypt in the 1960s, Iranian Islamism in the 1980s and the aggressive Iraqi policy in the 1990s. The Saudis have managed to overcome these challenges by adopting a policy of accommodation rather than confrontation. Thus, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s thousands of young Saudis left their country to wage jihad (holy war). They were allowed, indeed encouraged, to spend their energy in far-away Afghanistan and not in the kingdom itself. (3) Their threat therefore was exported with the financial and political blessings of the Saudi government. An aggressive effort to stop the flow of these holy warriors or halt financial transfers to militant groups might have only inflamed the sentiment of extremists. Instead, the Saudi authorities opted to let these young Saudis join the jihad and took no action to stop the flow of private and public financial contributions to these extremist groups. It is worth mentioning that the United States supported these Saudi efforts to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Shortly after the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, Riyadh provided significant help to the Taliban. Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries to offer the Taliban diplomatic recognition in 1997. (4) Equally important, Saudi private and public money was crucial in enabling the Taliban to expand and solidify their rule in most of Afghanistan in the second half of the 1990s. At least three reasons can explain the Saudi backing of the Taliban. First, the Taliban showed promise to end the civil war in Afghanistan and restore a sense of stability in the country. Second, the movement's ideology seemed similar to the main tenant of Wahhabism. Third, Riyadh might have viewed a fundamentalist Sunni state in Afghanistan as a welcome annoyance to the neighboring Shi'i regime in Tehran. Again, the United States did not object to the Saudi backing of the Taliban in the mid-1990s. (5) The relations between Riyadh and Kabul started to deteriorate in 1998 when Muhammad Omar, the Talibani leader, refused to surrender Osama bin Laden to the Saudis. Bin Laden has made expelling the U.S. military from Saudi Arabia (home to Islam's holiest sites--Mecca and Medina) a major goal in his Jihad. Another chief goal is toppling the Saudi monarchy, which he regards as corrupt and un-Islamic because it is allied militarily with the United States. In other words, both the Saudi royal family and the United States are the main targets in bin Laden's holy war. Shortly after the 11 September attacks Saudi Arabia severed relations with the Taliban.


Following the 11 September tragedy several influential policy-makers and think-tanks in Washington strongly criticized what they described as a Saudi policy of promoting terrorism and funding hatred. Members in Congress charged that Saudi Arabia was not doing enough to crack down on terrorists. Some suggested that the United States should consider moving its military personnel from Saudi Arabia to somewhere "more hospitable." (6) Others stated that oil money is the main source of financing for terrorism and religious fanaticism throughout the Islamic world and that the United States and other Western countries should break their "addiction to oil." (7)

This is not the first time U.S. officials have expressed frustration at the lack of Saudi cooperation with regard to fighting terrorism. Americans who investigated the truck-bomb attack in 1996 on the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in which 19 American servicemen were killed, have complained about Saudi reluctance to share intelligence information. Furthermore, when a federal grand jury indicted 13 Saudi fugitives and a Lebanese man in June 2001 for the Khobar bombings Saudi officials claimed that such legal action was a matter for the kingdom alone and that the U.S. should hand over all evidence related to the case.

In addition to complaints from members in the Congress and intelligence agencies, Saudi Arabia has been subject to fiery criticism from several prominent think-tanks, most notably the Rand Corporation and the Council on Foreign Relations. In July 2002 a briefing prepared by a researcher at Rand Corporation and presented to the Defense Policy Board, a group of prominent intellectuals and former senior officials that advises the Pentagon on defense policy, stated "The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader." (8) The briefing described the kingdom as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. Three months later, the influential Council on Foreign Relations made similar charges. A task force that included top Clinton administration officials such as William Webster, former director of the FBI and the CIA, and Stuart Eizenstat, former deputy Treasury secretary issued a report that said, "It is worth stating clearly and unambiguously what official U.S. government spokespersons have not: For years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for Al-Qaeda; and for years, Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem."(9)

These charges of Saudi engagement in funding terrorism have prompted families of 600 people killed in the 11 September attacks to file suit against Saudi Arabian banks and charities and members of the royal family, accusing them of financially sponsoring the Al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden. The Saudis have been especially alarmed because the list of defendants includes two of the most prominent members of the Saudi royal family: Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz al-Saud, the defense minister, and Prince Turki bin Faisal, the former chief of the Saudi intelligence agency and currently the kingdom's ambassador to Great Britain. The list also includes several of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest citizens, as well as some of the kingdom's largest financial institutions. (10)

Besides the lawsuit the Saudis have been annoyed by new procedures imposed by the State and Justice departments to monitor visitors to the United States from several Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia. Starting in November 2001, visa applications from 26 nations (11) from any men 16 to 45 years old are checked against databases maintained by the FBI. The security procedure takes up to 20 days. The applicants are also required to complete a detailed questionnaire on their backgrounds, including questions about any military service or weapons training, previous travel, and whether they have ever lost a passport. Stung by domestic criticism of its visa policies, the State Department decided in July 2002 to abandon a system known as "Visa Express," under which travel agencies in Saudi Arabia collected and passed on visa applications to the U.S. embassy. The new system requires the embassy staff to interview every individual applicant. Finally in late 2002 the Justice Department directed the Immigration and Naturalization Service, INS, to register all men, ages 16 to 45, from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. Registration is required on arrival to, and departure from, the United States. The visitors also are interviewed at an INS office for stays of more than 30 days and notify the INS within 10 days of any change of residence, employment or academic institution.

Despite these procedures, the White House has continued to praise Saudi Arabia publicly for its efforts to fight terrorism. Spokespersons in the White House keep repeating that, "the president is very pleased with the kingdom's contribution to the war on terrorism." Nevertheless, it has been reported that strains between the two nations over financial matters have persisted.


Since the 11 September terrorist attacks many commentators in the American media and members in the U.S. Congress have charged that wealthy Saudis and some members in the royal family funnel money to terrorist organizations through Islamic charities. Furthermore, the Saudi government has been accused of not doing enough to crack down on this money laundering. This is a crucial issue in fighting terrorism and in accepting the kingdom as a partner in the war on terrorism since the Bush administration argues, correctly, that as long as Al-Qaeda retains access to viable financial network, it remains a lethal threat to the United States. In other words, money must be cut to prevent more terrorist attacks. Accordingly, shortly after 11 September attacks the Congress passed and the President signed wide-ranging laws to fight money laundering. The most prominent are the USA Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act. The purpose of these laws is to increase the strength of U.S. measures to prevent, detect, and prosecute international money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Saudi response to these accusations is three-fold. First, the Saudis point out that with approximately six million foreign laborers (12) in the kingdom sending billions of dollars abroad every year, and Saudis themselves holding extensive assets outside the country, ensuring that no money from the country finds its way to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations is an impossible task. Furthermore, the Saudis claim that if the money goes astray, it is only after it leaves the kingdom and passes through European and American banks.

Second, the Saudi leaders argue that there is no way to prevent their people from giving money to charities. Zakat (tithing) constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam. (13) The concept of Zakat defies simple definition. Although it has commonly been defined as a form of charity, almsgiving, donation, or contribution, it differs from these activities primarily in that they are arbitrary actions. Zakat, by contrast, is a formal duty not subject to choice. It compels believers to disburse a specific amount of their wealth (2.5 percent of net worth, deducted annually); and it conditions their identity as Muslims on their willingness to adhere to this fundamental precept of Islam. (14)

Third, the Saudis assert that they are not turning a blind eye to money laundering. Rather, they have taken many steps to consolidate their oversight over financial transactions. In order to demonstrate the kingdom's efforts in preventing money laundering the Saudi embassy in Washington has posted a list of the procedures the government has implemented since the 11 September attacks. These include:

* All charitable groups have been audited to assure that there are no links to suspected groups.

* New guidelines and regulations have been put in place to ensure that terrorist organizations cannot take advantage of these charitable groups in the future.

* Saudi Arabia has worked with the United States and other nations to block more than $70 million in suspected terrorist assets located in accounts throughout the world.

* More than 150 bank accounts, suspected of being linked to terrorists, have been frozen.

* Saudi Arabia helped identify a network of more than 50 shell companies that Osama bin Laden used to move money around the world. That network is virtually shut down. (15)

In addition, in early 2002 Saudi officials invited representatives of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) into the kingdom and instructed the appropriate authorities to assist in the preparation of regulations to curtail financial crimes. (16) The FATF is a Paris-based inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering and terrorist finance schemes. (17)

Two conclusions can be drawn from this on-going debate on the Saudi cooperation in the war on terrorism and combating money laundering. First, asking the Saudis to adopt a strong stand on donation to Islamic charities and auditing their accounts would carry enormous political costs for the Saudi government. Crown Prince Abdullah, the de-facto ruler of the country, would have directly to challenge the religious establishment, several wealthy Saudis and key members of his own family. Second, despite acknowledgement of some Saudi cooperation, the consensus in Washington is that the Saudis can, and should, do more. At the end, the Saudi leaders will have to find the right balance between not antagonizing their constituency at home on one side, and meeting the demands put on them by the United States--their major foreign ally on the other side.


For more than five decades the United States and Saudi Arabia have managed to establish and maintain a close alliance despite fundamental differences between the two partners. The United States is an open society with a democratic political system based on a separation between state and church, among other principles. On the other side, Saudi Arabia has an undemocratic government based on an alliance between the royal family and the Wahhabi movement. This strange partnership was rightly described as more of an "arranged marriage than a romantic union." (18) Two characteristics of this "arranged marriage" can be identified. First, the close alliance between Washington and Riyadh has been forged and pursued between the elites on both sides, with little support from the broad public in the two countries. The recent wave of Saudi-bashing in American media and by members in the Congress shows how few friends Riyadh has among the American public. (19) Second, the relationship between the elites on both sides is based exclusively on shared-interests, not shared-values. There is very little similarity between the American values and those of Saudi Arabia, but the two nations need each other. Washington needs Saudi oil and Riyadh relies on U.S. protection.

The 11 September terrorist attacks have introduced new dynamics that challenge the basic tenets of the partnership between the two governments. Many policy-makers in Washington have concluded that the political and economic environment inside Saudi Arabia is a fertile ground for terrorists, who pose direct threat to the United States national security. Consequently, the close unofficial alliance between the two countries has been under intense scrutiny in both capitals. It is clear that neither wants a divorce. Indeed, Saudi officials assert that Osama bin Laden had purposely chosen 15 Saudi citizens to carry out the 11 September attacks to "drive a wedge" between Washington and Riyadh. Rather, critical issues need to be addressed, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict and domestic reform in Saudi Arabia.


The current Palestinian Intifada started when Ariel Sharon, then the leader of the opposition party Likud, visited the Haram al-Sharif, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews in September 2000. Since then the almost daily violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, displayed nightly on television all over the Arab and Muslim worlds, has fueled anti-Israel and anti-America feeling. Considering these sentiments and the special place Saudi Arabia occupies in the Arab and Muslim worlds, the Saudi leaders called on Bush administration to take an active role in promoting peace. For almost a year after taking office the Bush administration tried to avoid getting involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, preferring instead to focus on Iraq. However, the escalating violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis has convinced the administration to "re-engage".

The Bush administration's initiatives to contain violence and pave the way for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis have not brought Washington and Riyadh any closer. The two sides take opposite stands on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Saudis claim that American policy is biased in favor of Israel and against the Palestinians and that Washington has given the Israeli government tacit support for its crackdown on Palestinian violence. The fact that President Bush has met with the Israeli Prime Minister Sharon in the White House more than he has met with any other foreign leader substantiates the Saudi claims. Meanwhile, the United States accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting Palestinian terrorism. Washington considers Hamas, Jihad, and Hizbollah (Party of God) as terrorist organizations and their operations against Israeli targets as terrorist acts, not different from those carried out by Al-Qaeda. American officials tell their Saudi counterparts that they have to be consistent in their stand on terrorism--you cannot be against Al-Qaeda and simultaneously support Hamas, Jihad and Hizbollah. The Saudis, on the other hand, consider these Palestinian and Lebanese organizations as fighting to liberate their land from Israeli occupation. In other words, from the Saudi perspective, these organizations constitute legitimate resistance movements that deserve political support. In line with this perception, a government-run telethon raised more than $100 million to help the Palestinians in April 2002, though the Saudis denied any of the money was going to suicide bombers. (20) The Saudis are not alone in condemning what they see as American bias in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Recently a prominent American commentator wrote, "America's failure to be even-handed, our failure to rein in Sharon, our failure to condemn Israel's excesses, and our moral complicity in Israel's looting of Palestinian lands and denial of their right to self-determination sustains the anti-Americanism in the Islamic world in which terrorists and terrorism breed." (21)

In early 2002 the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah presented some ideas for a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. He offered full Arab recognition of Israel and normal relations in return for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied land and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Despite initial enthusiasm, this Saudi peace initiative, like many other plans, has failed to bring the Israelis and Palestinians closer to peace. Violence and killing have persisted. Serious American efforts to revive the peace process and reduce tension between the Israelis and Palestinians would substantially improve U.S. image in the Arab world and address a major rift between Washington and Riyadh. Following the Israeli election and the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister the region seemed ready for an active American role, or as President Bush calls it a "road map" for peace, which has thus far not resulted in an end to the conflict.


The fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 11 September came from Saudi Arabia and the reasonable assumption that there are many other sympathizers and supporters of A1-Qaeda raise concerns regarding the socio-economic and political environment that produced them. Following the terrorist attacks many observers have suggested that the kingdom provides a fertile field for extremists and that there is an urgent need to reinforce serious reforms.

Despite attempts to diversify its economy, Saudi Arabia remains heavily dependent on oil revenues (for around 90% of total export earnings, about 70%-80% of state revenues, and 40% of gross domestic product). (22) This means that the country is highly vulnerable to the fluctuation in oil prices. In 1980 oil revenues were $223.2 billion, while in 2002 they reached only about $55 billion. (23) These shrinking oil revenues combined with very high population growth rate, economic mismanagement, and skyrocketing military expenditures have resulted in stagnant economic growth and high level of unemployment.

Over the last 20 years, economic growth has averaged less than 1 percent per year while the population growth has exceeded 3 percent. The inability of economic growth to keep pace with population growth has led to a major decline in per capita income. Also, limited economic growth has produced a decline in the government's ability to provide indigenous Saudis with both jobs and the full benefits of a contemporary welfare state. Overall, only one job is being created for every three Saudi males currently entering the labor market. (24) Ironically, despite this high rate of indigenous unemployment there are approximately six million foreign laborers in the kingdom. For many years the Saudi government has tried, unsuccessfully, to replace these foreign laborers by Saudis--the so-called Saudization of the labor force.

One reason for the continuous failure of this Saudization policy is the mismatch or imbalance between the educational system and the labor market. In the past several decades, Saudi education has grown very rapidly. Today, Saudi Arabia is a literate society. The study of Islam takes up a large portion of the curriculum in all levels. There is nothing wrong with studying Islam or any other religion but the graduates of exclusively Islamist institutions can only secure jobs as clerics or in the religious police. They are, largely, unemployable in modern economic sectors. (25) Furthermore, Saudi schools and universities are graduating students far faster than the economy is creating jobs. Thus, the skills of graduates must be matched with the demands of the employment market, which involves a move from quantitative expansion to qualitative improvement of the educational system. (26)

These young people, with extensive religious studies and few opportunities for employment represent an army of potential dissenters. They resent the government (e.g., the royal family) that denies them the welfare benefits the previous generation enjoyed. Some of them adopt the position that the kingdom and its rulers are insufficiently Islamic. Calls for western-style reforms tend to be confined to the merchant classes and some members of the existing establishment.

These prevailing socio-economic and political conditions reinforce the need for reform. The current Saudi system while convenient for negotiating arms and oil deals is itself a major cause of Islamic extremism. Until the 11 September attacks, the United States had not seriously pressed the Saudi rulers to reform their system.


Since the 11 September attacks many analysts have raised the question whether Saudi Arabia is a friend or a foe of the United States. This study argues that both countries have benefited from their enduring partnership. Who benefited more is debatable, but the Saudis, as Wyche Fowler U.S. ambassador to the kingdom from 1996 to 2001 stated, "are not in the business of funding terrorists against their friend--the United States." (27) Certainly the Saudi leaders could have and should do more to combat terrorism. They are, however, restrained by their domestic constituency. Many Americans view the house of al-Saud as autocrats presiding over a repressive regime. The Saudi regime is better described as patriarchal rather than tyrannical since it pays considerable attention to securing consensus for its policy.

Given these restrains the question is how to proceed in this partnership? The United States can either choose a confrontation or press harder for economic and political reform within the current regime in Riyadh.

Confrontation with the House of Saud is not in the best interest of the United States for two reasons. First, Washington is heavily dependent on foreign oil due to insufficient resources domestically. For a number of years the U.S. has sought to develop production in West Africa, Latin America, the Caspian Sea and Russia. The goal is to reduce the U.S. dependence on and vulnerability to oil supplies from the Persian Gulf. The global nature of today's international oil market, however, suggests that the availability of supplies is more important than where they come from. With one-fourth of the world's proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia cannot be marginalized. As J. Robinson West, president of the Petroleum Finance Company stated, "The Saudis are the central bank of oil. They provide stability and liquidity to the market." (28) Second, although the Bush administration succeeded in its military confrontation with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction, the final outcome of this confrontation is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that it would be useful to build as much support in the neighborhood as possible. Saudi Arabia pledged to raise its oil production to cover shortfall in supplies resulting from a military conflict in Iraq. As one scholar put it, "It is mind-boggling that as America gears up for a serious military operation against Iraq, the Defense Policy Board is receiving briefings on invading Saudi Arabia."(29)

This means that pressing seriously for reform within the current regime in Saudi Arabia would serve the American interest the best. Washington should be realistic about what to expect and when it might happen. The Saudis have always adopted a slow and gradual approach for change. Washington and Riyadh have to agree on ways to speed up the reform process without risking domestic instability in the kingdom. At the end, the current regime is the friendliest partner that the U.S. can have in Riyadh. An alternative regime is likely to be more fundamentalist and less amenable to U.S. interests and values. As one analyst concluded, "We should recall that Rome was not built in a day, and note in the context of the Gulf monarchies that reform from above is still a far preferable route to change than revolution from below." (30)


(1.) John L. Esposito, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic Worm (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), Vol. 4, p. 307.

(2.) J.E. Peterson, "Saudi-American Relations After September 11," Asian Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 1, February 2002, pp. 102-114, p. 108.

(3.) For more details see Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

(4.) The other two countries were Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

(5.) For a detailed discussion see John Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (London: Pluto Press, 2000).

(6.) Sam Ghattas, "General: U.S. Stays in Persian Gulf," Associated Press, 22 January 2002, on line at

(7.) Anatole Kaletsky, "The West Must Break Its Addiction to Oil," Times, 18 October 2001, on line at

(8.) Thomas Ricks, "Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies," Washington Post, 6 August 2002, on line at

(9.) Maurice R. Greenberg, Terrorist Financing, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, October 2002, on line at

(10.) The lawsuit has provoked some Saudis to withdraw some of their U.S. investments.

(11.) These nations are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

(12.) Many of these foreign laborers come from Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is fairly assumed that some of them might sympathize with Osama bin Laden.

(13.) The other four pillars are: Shahadah (declaration of faith), prayer, tasting, and pilgrimage (hajj).

(14.) John L. Esposito, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), Vol. 4, p. 366.

(15.) Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Initiatives and Actions in the Fight Against Terrorism, Washington, D.C., August 2002, on line at

(16.) Jonathan M. Winer and Trifin J. Roule, "Fighting Terrorist Finance," Survival, Vol. 44, No. 3, Fall 2002, pp. 87-104.

(17.) For more information on the FATF see the organization's website at

(18.) Robert G. Kaiser and David B. Ottaway, "Oil for Security Fueled Close Ties," Washington Post, 11 February 2002, on line at:

(19.) Commenting on this strange alliance the Financial Times described the American-Saudi ties as a relationship between the White House and the House of Saud, suggesting that only few officials in the administration are enthusiastic about maintaining this alliance. See Roula Khalaf, "The Prince Whose Fairytale Went Sour," Financial Times, 29 November 2002, on line at

(20.) Donna Abu-Nasr, "Saudi: Suicide Bombings Not Terrorism," Associated Press, 16 April 2002, on line at

(21.) Patrick J. Buchanan, "Whose War'?" The American Conservative, 24 March 2003, on line at

(22.) Energy Information Administration, OPEC Revenues: Country Details', June 2002, on line at

(23.) Energy Information Administration, OPEC Revenues" Fact Sheet, June 2002, on line at

(24.) John Roberts, "Saudi Arabia: Bin Laden's Challenge," Energy Economist, No. 241, November 2001, pp. 1-12.

(25.) For a recent and thorough study of the Saudi educational system see William A. Rugh, "Education in Saudi Arabia: Choices and Constraints," Middle East Policy, Vol. 9, No. 2, June 2002, pp. 40-55.

(26.) Michaela Prokop, "Saudi Arabia: The Politics of Education," International Affairs, Vol. 79, No. 1, January 2003, pp. 77-89.

(27.) Philip Shenon, "U.S. May Ask Court to Dismiss a $1 Trillion Suit Linking Saudis to al-Qaeda and 9/11," New York Times, 25 October 2002, on line at

(28.) Dan Morgan and David B. Ottaway, "War-Wary Saudis Move to Increase Oil Market Clout," Washington Post, 30 November 2002, on line at

(29.) Rachel Bronson, "Don't Back Saudi Arabia into a Corner," International Herald Tribune, 16 August 2002, on line at

(30.) Anoushiravan Ehteshami, "Reform from Above: The Politics of Participation in the Oil Monarchies," International Affairs, Vol. 79, No. 1, January 2003, p.75.
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Author:Bahgat, Gawdat
Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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