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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 10, 2003

The Scandal of U.S.-Saudi Relations

A petro dollar goes a long way

Daniel Pipes is right on the money.
Official Americans in Saudi Arabia bend to Saudi customs, and official Americans in the United States do so as well. And it's not just a matter of travel etiquette; one finds parallel American obsequiousness concerning such issues as energy, security, religion and personal status. The Saudis routinely set the terms of this bilateral relationship.

For decades, U.S. government agencies have engaged in a consistent pattern of deference to Saudi wishes, making so many unwonted and unnecessary concessions that one gets the impression that a switch has taken place, with both sides forgetting which of them is the great power and which the minor one. I shall first document this claim, then offer an explanation for it, and conclude with a policy recommendation.

After posing the question "What lies behind this pattern of obsequiousness?" Pipes goes to say that its not oil nor American tolerance but Saudi bribery that accounts for it.

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, helpfully hinted at an answer in a statement boasting of his success cultivating powerful Americans. "If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office", Bandar once observed, "you'd be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office."[35] This effective admission of bribery goes far to explain why the usual laws, regulations and rights do not apply when Saudi Arabia is involved.

This culture of corruption in the Executive Branch renders it quite incapable of dealing with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the farsighted and disinterested manner that U.S. foreign policy requires.

The massive pre-emptive bribing of American officials requires urgent attention. Steps need to be taken to ensure that the Saudi revolving-door syndrome documented here be made illegal. Read More
Thank God for Daniel Pipes. He has been banging this drum for quite some time. I hope the message is getting through to congress and they have the will to do something.

Ted Belman tedbel@rogers.com