US-Saudi ties (2)
In the last episode, we studied the establishment of relations between the Saudi regime and the US, noting that in return for free and cheap transference of oil; the US committed itself to guarantee the security of the Saudi regime.
The US-Saudi mutual ties were reinforced after the victory of Iran's Islamic Revolution in the year 1979. However, the emergence of Takfiri and terrorist currents in the region, which were financed by the Saudi officials and supported by Wahhabis, impacted US-Saudi relations. Today, we want to find out how a strategic relationship has been feasible between the US, which claims to lead the free world in the campaign against terrorism, and the Saudi regime, which backs terrorist outfits such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh? Answering this question will enable us to fully grasp the oil-for-security relationship between the US and Saudi regime. To this end, we should go back in time and focus on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that morning, four passenger planes were hijacked by nineteen individuals; fifteen of which were Saudi nationals, registering the largest terrorist operation in the history of the US. Upon the collapse of World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York, and spread of fire in Pentagon's base in Washington, the US administration waged war against what it referred to as global terrorism.
The then US President, George W. Bush, in his remarks in the aftermath of this terrorist incident, announced that in the war against global terrorism, those who are not with the US, are against it. In other words, the criterion for amity and enmity with Washington was set as the level of cooperation of other countries in the US war against Al-Qaeda. Nonetheless, the US officials refused to counter the Saudi regime as the epicenter of terrorism operations. Even, the Bush administration, despite the protest of public opinion, classified 40 pages of the report released by the US Congress Bipartisan Committee on the root causes of 9/11, thereby revealing the concealed ties of the Saudi administration, or Saudi princes with the perpetrators of this incident. A while later, it was disclosed that some of the corresponding hijackers were financially and politically supported by the Saudi Embassy in Washington. In the meantime, the US, instead of focusing on the role of Saudi ringleaders in the establishment and development of Al-Qaeda terrorist outfit, waged a war against Taliban in Afghanistan to achieve a swift and solid victory. Meanwhile, the Saudi regime continued to provide cheap energy for the West, led by the US, while the US insisted on its duty to safeguard the Saudi regime. In the meantime, US officials came to realize that a destructive Takfiri-terrorist current was emerging from the Saudi political and cultural system. This Takfiri-terrorist current which seemed to be in its infancy, gradually grew bigger and bigger, giving birth to Daesh terrorist group in the wake of political developments in Iraq.
According to Western security organizations, Daesh terrorist outfit would have not emerged in the absence of the ideological support of Saudi Wahhabis, and the financial assistance of Saudi princes, and so-called Saudi charities. In the very beginning, this Takfiri current intended to counter what hardliner Western media referred to as the "threat posed by the growing influence of Iran and Shias". Thus, Takfiri current diverted the anti-American sentiments of a few Sunni militant currents toward opposition against Iran and Shias, in a bid to cement the infiltration of US in the region in the post-Saddam era in Iraq. In the meantime, history repeated itself. The same mistake that occurred in Afghanistan twenty years ago, in the midst of which the groups established by the West to confront the former Soviet Union, went out of control, creating the Al-Qaeda nightmare; took place in recent history, shaping Daesh terrorist outfit, that backfired on its creators and supporters, registering horrific and reprehensible crimes against humanity. The only difference was that in the aftermath of formation of al-Qaeda, the Saudi political and cultural system ostensibly and swiftly distanced itself from this terrorist group and stood up against this terrorist current. However, powerful currents in Saudi Arabia continued to support Daesh terrorist outfit for a long while.
This trend frightened the US officials, prompting them to delve into the ideological and national backgrounds of Daesh among the Saudis. In the meantime, the Saudi officials did not sit idle; while fanning the flames of war in Syria and pledging the collapse of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad; derailing the attention of the US officials from Takfiri currents toward a confrontation with the Syrian political system. Meanwhile, the Saudi lobbies in Washington stepped up their activities, funneling hundreds of millions of petrodollars to American policymakers in order to prevent souring relations between the two regimes in the aftermath of decapitation of Americans in Syria by Daesh operatives. These efforts were effective for a while, with the Americans refraining from admitting that the Saudi Wahhabis supported Daesh terrorist group. Meanwhile, Washington-Riyadh disputes over oil prices throughout the years 2014 and 2015 set the stage for criticism of the role played by Saudi officials in supporting terrorist outfits. Throughout those years, the US and Saudi regime, in an effort to press Iran, adopted the strategy of lowering global oil prices in a bid to force Iran to reach an agreement over Iran's peaceful nuclear activities case.
The Americans were intent on changing from an oil importer to an oil exporter, while the Saudi regime was also worried about losing its share in the energy market.
During the recent years, the Saudi regime has been criticized by a growing number of US elites and media. They have warned that the political culture governing Saudi Arabia is in contrast with the Western culture, and Saudi Arabia will ultimately endanger US interests. They have also warned against the adventurism of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman. These US elites and media believe that the Saudi domination over Bahrain, Saudi military attacks on Yemen, imposition of embargoes against Qatar by the Saudi regime, and dismissal of the Lebanese premier by the Saudis are the signs of irresponsible unilateralism of the new rulers of Saudi Arabia, which will ultimately pose a threat against Washington's policies if it is not contained. In the meantime, upon the instatement of Donald Trump as the US president, Washington-Riyadh ties have once again revolved round oil-for-security equation. The incumbent US president, in his first official foreign visit, traveled to Riyadh, concluding a number of military and non-military deals with the Saudi officials, worth more than $450 billion. Nonetheless, a growing number of US political elites are discontent over the adventurism of the young Saudi crown prince and the continued support of the Saudi regime for Takfiri groups, which can disrupt Washington-Riyadh oil-for-security relations in the future.