Saudi Arabia–United States relations
Saudi Arabia–United States relations are bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The United States and Saudi Arabia have had full diplomatic relations since 1933 and since then have been close allies, partners as well as friends. 
The two nations have encountered obstacles in the path of a successful relationship since it first began. Eventually, the relationship reconstructed itself after each conflict and became stronger in some cases. To sum up, throughout the successful time line of the relationship, temporary obstacles had been impeded within the Arab-Israeli conflict, World War II, the Cold War, anti-communism strategy, Gulf War I and II, and the War on Terror.
In a BBC World Service Poll conducted between October 2005 and January 2006, Saudi Arabian public opinion is sharply divided on the United States, with 38% viewing U.S. influence positively and 38% viewing U.S. influence negatively. As of 2012, Saudi Arabian students form the 4th largest group of international students studying in the United States, representing 3.5% of all foreigners pursuing higher education in America.
- 1 Country comparison
- 2 History
- 2.1 Early history (recognition)
- 2.2 Foundation of ARAMCO
- 2.3 First conflict
- 2.4 World War II
- 2.5 After World War II
- 2.6 King Saud comes to power (1953)
- 2.7 Cold War and Soviet containment
- 2.8 Oil embargo and the energy crises
- 2.9 Government Purchases
- 2.10 The Gulf War
- 2.11 Child abduction
- 2.12 Operation Southern Watch
- 2.13 2010 U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia
- 2.14 Rift
- 3 9/11
- 4 Pre-9/11 relationship with the United States
- 5 Post-9/11 relationship with the United States
- 6 Diplomatic visits
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|Saudi Arabia||United States|
|Area||2,250,000 km2 (870,000 sq mi)||9,826,630 km2 (3,794,066 sq mi)|
|Population Density||12.3/km2 (31/sq mi)||31/km2 (80/sq mi)|
|Largest City||Riyadh – 5,254,560 (6,800,000 Metro)||New York City – 8,336,697 (19,831,858 Metro)|
|Government||Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy||Federal presidential constitutional republic|
|First Leader||Ibn Saud||George Washington|
|Current Leader||Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz||Barack Obama|
|Main religions||97% Islam (mostly Sunnis), 3% other||75% Christianity, 20% non-Religious, 2% Judaism, 1% Islam, 1% Buddhism|
|Ethnic groups||90% Arab and Bedouin Arab, 10% Afro Asian and Afro-Arab||74% White American, 14.8% Hispanic and Latino Americans (of any race),
13.4% Black American, 6.5% Some other race, 4.4% Asian American,
2.0% Two or more races, 0.68% American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.14% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
|GDP (nominal)||US$906.806 billion ($31,275 per capita)||US$14.441 trillion ($47,440 per capita)|
|Military expenditures||$56.7 billion||$663.7 billion (FY 2010) |
|Currency||Saudi Riyal(SR)(SAR)||United States Dollar ($) (USD)|
The first U.S. citizens to travel to Saudi Arabia were Christian missionary doctors. Though they failed to win any converts to Christianity among the Bedouins, they did win the good will of Ibn Saud, saving his life from a mysterious illness which greatly swelled his right eye and face. Following that life saving treatment, the House of Saud gave preference to American delegations over others. Another early American in Saudi Arabi was Charles Richard Crane, heir to a large Chicago plumbing fortune. Mr. Crane expended a large portion of his estate building waterworks in the Arabian desert, which activity first alerted Westerners, and the Bedouins, to the possibility of large oil reserves being present in the region, which was confirmed by early oil exploration projects financed in part by Mr. Crane. Before the discovery of oil, the official American policy toward Saudi Arabia was handled by few U.S. individuals due to the Saudis' small interest toward the U.S. (Grayson, 1982). During the discovery of large capacities of oil in Saudi Arabia, America's foreign interest was simultaneously drifting toward Saudi Arabia. America's continuous demand on oil and the Saudis need of a balanced economy had greatly resulted in a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, which could be the strongest they both encountered (Wafa, 2005). A major obstacle between the two ties was World War II with the US's large involvement in the war, which resulted in great negative impact toward the establishment of a strong complete relationship with Saudi Arabia. Also, the US support to the establishment of an Israeli state in the Middle East resulted in an arguing conflict between the ties and it was the relations first conflict but it was later resolved.
Early history (recognition)
Although King Abdulaziz Al Saud, Bin Saud as an appellation, the founder of Saudi Arabia in 1901, had an excellent relationship with the British who defended Saudi Arabia from the Turks, he eventually developed even closer ties with the U.S. After unifying his country, on September 28, 1928, Bin Saud set about gaining international recognition for Saudi Arabia. Britain was the first country to recognize Saudi Arabia as independent state, as the British had provided protection of Saudi territories from the Turks for many years (Wafa, 2005). Saud also hoped to be recognized by the US, which at that time had no interest in Saudi Arabia. Initially, his efforts were rebuffed, but Washington eventually came around, promoted by the fact that Al Saud had obtained recognition from many nations. In May 1931 the U.S. officially recognized Saudi Arabia by extending full diplomatic recognition (Grayson, 1982). In November 1931, a treaty was signed by both nations which included favored nation status. The relationship was still weak, however, as America did not have an interest in establishing missions in Saudi Arabia: at the time, Saudi affairs were handled by the U.S. delegation in Egypt, Cairo (Grayson, 1982).
Foundation of ARAMCO
After the promises that had been made by American oil explorers that Saudi Arabia could have a very good chance of finding oil, Al Saud accepted the American offer of exploration, because he was hoping that his land could have valuable materials that would support the country's economy. In May 1933 the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, later called the Arab American Company (ARAMCO), had started the exploration in the country with large area to explore (Alnabrab, 2008). Although the imported oil was not very important for the U.S. at the time, Washington seemed hungry for the Saudi oil since their confidence in finding oil in Saudi Arabia had greatly grown, which resulted in stronger relations with Saudi Arabia. (Irvine, 1981)
While the U.S.–Saudi relationship was growing, their first conflict began when the disorder broke between the Jews and Arabs in April 1936 in the British-administrated Palestine mandate. The U.S. favored the establishment of an independent Israeli state, but Saudi Arabia on the other hand, the leading nation in the Islamic and Arab world were supporting the Arab position which sparked up their first conflict. In other words the U.S. oil interest in Saudi Arabia could be held hostage depending on the circumstances of the conflict (Grayson, 1982). U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the king a letter indicating that it is true that the U.S. supports the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, but it is not in any way responsible for the establishment (Alnabrab, 2008). Bin Saud was convinced by the message that the U.S.–Saudi relations had begun to run smooth again. Moreover, in March 1938, CASCO made a big oil discovery in Saudi Arabia booming the oil industry in the country and coincidentally the U.S. became more interested in Saudi oil. As a result, on February 4, 1940, as the World War II was approaching, the U.S. had established a diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia to have closer relations with the Saudis and to protect it from enemy hand; Bert Fish, former ambassador in Egypt was elected as the U.S. ambassador in Jeddah. (Metz 1993)
World War II
As the U.S.–Saudi relationship was growing slowly, World War II was beginning its first phase. The U.S. was deeply involved in World War II, and as a result US-Saudi relations were put on the 'back burner'. This negligence left Saudi Arabia vulnerable to attack. Italy, an Axis power, bombed a CASCO oil installation in Dhahran crippling Saudi Arabia's oil production (Grayson, 1982). This attack left Bin Saud scrambling for to find an external power that would protect the country, fearing further attacks that would most likely cease the country's oil production and the flow of pilgrims coming into Mecca to perform Hajj, the base of the Saudi power and economy at that time (Wafa, 2005).
Bin Saud therefore approved the US's request to allow the U.S. air force to fly over and construct airfields in Saudi Arabia. The oil installations were rebuilt and protected by the U.S. (Grayson, 1982), the pilgrims' routes were protected (Wafa, 2005), and the U.S. gained a much needed direct route for military aircraft heading to Iran and the Soviet Union (Grayson, 1982). The first American consulate was opened in Dhahran in 1944.
After World War II
In 1945, after World War II, Saudi citizens began to feel uncomfortable with U.S. forces still operating in Dhahran. In contrast, Saudi government and officials saw the U.S. forces as a major component of the Saudi military defense strategy (Pollack, 2002). As a result Bin Saud balanced the two conflicts by increasing the demands on U.S. forces in Dhahran when the region was highly threatened and lowering it when the danger declined (Alnabrab, 1994). At this time, due to the start of the Cold War, the U.S. was greatly concerned about Soviet communism and devised a strategy of 'containing' the spread of communism within Arabian Peninsula, putting Saudi security at the top of Washington's list of priorities. (Metz, 1992) Harry S. Truman's administration also promised Bin Saud that he would protect Saudi Arabia from Soviet influence. Therefore, the U.S. increased its presence in the region to protect its interest and its allies (Pollack, 2002). The security relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. was therefore greatly strengthened at the start of the 'cold war' (Metz, 1993).
King Saud comes to power (1953)
In the late 1950s, King Saud, the eldest son of King Abdulaziz, came to power after his father's death. During Saud's time the U.S.–Saudi relations had faced many obstacles concerning the anti-communism strategy. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's new anti-Soviet alliance combined most of "the kingdom's regional rivals and foes", which rose the Saudi suspicions. (Grayson, 1982). For this reason, in October 1955, Saud had joined the pro-Soviet strategy with Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (Pollack, 2002). Furthermore, Saud dismissed the U.S. forces and replaced them by Egyptian forces. Thus, this act had sparked and innovated a new and a large conflict in the relationship. But in 1956, during the Suez crisis, Saud began to cooperate with the U.S. again after Eisenhower's opposition of the Israeli, British, and French plan to seize the canal. Eisenhower opposed the plan because of anti-Soviet purposes, but King Saud had admired the act and decided to start cooperating with the U.S. (Pollack, 2002). As a result Egyptian power greatly declined while US-Saudi relations were simultaneously improving.
Cold War and Soviet containment
In 1957, Saud decided to renew the U.S. base in Dhahran. In less than a year, after the Egyptian–Syrian unification in 1958, Egypt's pro-Soviet strategy had returned to power. Saud had once again joined their alliance, which declined the US-Saudi relationship to a fairly low point especially after he announced in 1961 that he changed his mind on renewing the U.S. base (Hart 1998). In 1962, however, Egypt attacked Saudi Arabia from bases in Yemen during the 1962 Yemeni revolution because of Saudi Arabia's Anti-revolution propaganda, which made Saud seek the U.S. support. President John F. Kennedy immediately responded to Saud's request by sending U.S. war planes in July 1963 to the war zone to stop the attack which was putting U.S. interests in risk. (Pollack, 2002). At the end of the war, shortly before Prince Faisal became king, the relationship rebuilt itself to become healthy again. (Hart 1998)
As the United Kingdom withdrew from the Gulf region in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the U.S. was reluctant to take on new security commitments. Instead, the Nixon administration sought to rely on local allies to "police" American interests (see Nixon Doctrine). In the Gulf region, this meant relying on Saudi Arabia and Iran as "twin pillars" of regional security. Whereas in 1970 the U.S. provided less than $16 million to Saudi Arabia in military aid, that number increased to $312 million by 1972. As part of the "twin pillars" strategy, the U.S. also attempted to improve relations between the Saudis and the Iranians, such as by persuading Iran to remove its territorial claim to Bahrain.
Oil embargo and the energy crises
In November 1964, Faisal became the new king after the conflicts he had with his brother Saud, the erstwhile king. The U.S, on the other hand was not sure about the outcome of such unplanned change in the Saudi monarchy. King Faisal was cooperating neatly with the U.S. until October 20, 1973; it was the relationship's largest obstacle before 9/11. King Faisal had decided to contribute in an oil embargo against the United States and Europe in favor of the Arab position in the Yom Kippur War causing an energy crisis in the U.S. "America's complete Israel support against the Arabs makes it extremely difficult for us to continue to supply the United States with oil, or even remain friends with the United States" King Faisal in an interview with international media.
Despite the tensions caused by the oil embargo, the U.S. wished to resume relations with the Saudis. Indeed, the great oil wealth accumulated as a result of price increases allowed the Saudis to purchase large sums of American military technology. The embargo was lifted in March 1974 after the U.S. pressured Israel into negotiating with Syria over the Golan Heights. Three months later, "Washington and Riyadh signed a wide-ranging agreement on expanded economic and military cooperation." In the 1975 fiscal year, the two countries signed $2 billion worth of military contracts, including an agreement to send Saudi Arabia 60 fighter jets. The Saudis also argued (partially on behalf of American desires) to keep OPEC price increases in the mid-1970s lower than Iraq and Iran initially wanted.
The Saudis' increase of oil production to stabilize the oil price and the support of anti-communism have all contributed to closer relations with the U.S. (Hart, 1998). In January 1979, the U.S. sent F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia for further protection from communism (Hart, 1998). Furthermore, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were both supporting anti-communist groups in Afghanistan and struggling countries, the groups later became known as Al-Qaida terrorist organization (Steven Coll, 2004).
After the Cold War the U.S.–Saudi relations were improving. The U.S. and U.S. companies were actively engaged and paid handsomely for preparing and administrating the rebuilding of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia transferred $100 billion to the United States for administration, construction, weapons, and in the 1970s and 1980s higher education scholarships to the U.S. (Kaiser & Ottaway 2002). During that era the U.S. built and administrated numerous military academies, navy ports, and Air Force airfields. Many of these military facilities were influenced by the U.S., with the needs of cold war aircraft and deployment strategies in mind. Also the Saudis purchased a great deal of weapons that varied from F-16 war planes to main battle tanks that later proved useful during the Gulf War (Kaiser & Ottaway 2002). The U.S. pursued a policy of building up and training the Saudi military as a counterweight to Shiite extremism and revolution following the revolution in Iran. The U.S. provided top of the line equipment and training, and consulted the Saudi government frequently, acknowledging them as the most important Islamic leader in that part of the world, and key player in the U.S. security strategy.
The Gulf War
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 had sparked the beginning of another bloody war, the Gulf War. During the Gulf War, the security relationship had greatly increased and strengthened. After the invasion, Fahad, the king of Saudi Arabia at that time, had officially declared war against Iraq. Also, President George H. W. Bush had declared war against Saddam Hussein who invaded an ally nation and risked the oil interests in the nation. Also the U.S. was concerned about the safety of Saudi Arabia against Saddam's intention to invade and control the oil reserves in the region. As a result, President Bush sent a great number of troops to protect Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion after Fahad's approval; this operation was called Desert Shield. Furthermore, the U.S. had sent additional troops in operation Desert Storm with nearly 100,000 Saudi troops sent by Fahad to form a US-Saudi army alliance and including other troops from allies' countries to attack Iraqi troops in Kuwait to stop further invasion (Rashid, 1992). During the Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi troops were defeated easily within four days of the operation causing the Iraqis to flee back to Iraq.
The international abduction of American children to Saudi Arabia provoked sustained criticism and resulted in a Congressional hearing in 2002 where parents of children held in Saudi Arabia gave impassioned testimony related to the abduction of their children. Washington-based Insight ran a series of articles on international abduction during the same period highlighting Saudi Arabia a number of times.
Operation Southern Watch
Since the Gulf war, the U.S. had a continued presence of 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia – a figure that rose to 10,000 during the 2003 conflict in Iraq. Operation Southern Watch enforced the no-fly zones over southern Iraq set up after 1991, and the country's oil exports through the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf are protected by the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.
The continued presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia was one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th terrorist attacks, as well as the Khobar Towers bombing. In 2003, the U.S. withdrew most of its troops from Saudi Arabia, though one unit still remains.
2010 U.S. Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia
On October 20, 2010, U.S. State Department notified Congress of its intention to make the biggest arms sale in American history - an estimated $60.5 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The package represents a considerable improvement in the offensive capability of the Saudi armed forces.
The U.S. was keen to point out that the arms transfer would increase "interoperability" with U.S. forces. In the 1990–1991 Gulf War, having U.S.-trained Saudi forces, along with military installations built to U.S. specifications, allowed the American armed forces to deploy in a comfortable and familiar battle environment. This new deal would increase these capabilities, as an advanced American military infrastructure is about to be built.
In October 2013, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan suggested a distancing of Saudi Arabia–United States relations as a result of differences between the two countries over the Syrian civil war and diplomatic overtures between Iran and the Obama administration. The Saudis rejected a rotating seat on the UN Security Council that month (despite previously campaigning for such a seat), in protest of American policy over those issues.
Saudi Arabia was cautiously supportive of a Western-negotiated interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. President Obama called King Abdullah to brief him about the agreement, and the White House said the leaders agreed to "consult regularly" about the U.S.'s negotiations with Iran.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2013)|
September 11, 2001, was the worst day the relationship had ever faced. The U.S., governmentally and publicly, had accused Saudi Arabia of complicity in the attacks since more than a dozen of the hijackers were of Saudi nationality. However, the Saudi contribution in the War on Terror and the new anti-Al-Qaeda policies have strongly rebuilt ties with the U.S. Also, Saudi Arabia has attempted to demonstrate a serious contribution in preventing terrorism and extremism domestically and internationally through new domestic anti-terrorism policies.
Although some analyses have said that Osama Bin Laden, who in 1994 had his Saudi nationality revoked and expelled from Saudi Arabia, had chosen 15 Saudi hijackers on purpose to break up the U.S.–Saudi relations, the U.S. was still suspicious of Saudi Arabia (PBS Frontline, 2005). Moreover, Saudi Arabia has denied the fact that it was involved in any way in such an attack that would harm the healthy beneficial relationship. Saudis were willing to do anything to prove its innocence and to bring back the relationship (McMillan, 2001). As a result, the Saudi's decided to cooperate with the U.S. on the war on terror in order to vindicate its willingness to help the U.S. in the war on terrorism. "Terrorism does not belong to any culture, or religion, or political system", said King Abdullah as the opening address of the Counter-terrorism International Conference (CTIC) held in Riyadh in 2005. The cooperation grew broader covering financial, educational, technological aspects both in Saudi Arabia and Muslim-like countries to prevent pro-Al-Qaeda terrorists' activities and ideologies. "It is a high time for the Ulma (Muslim Scholars), and all thinkers, intellectuals and academics, to shoulder their responsibilities towards the enlightenment of the people, especially the young people, and protect them from deviant ideas" said Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz Alsheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs, in the CTIC.
Almost all members of the CTIC agreed that Al-Qaeda target less educated Muslims by convincing them that they are warriors of God, but they really convince them to only accomplish their political goals. Three years after the Saudi Serious and active role on anti-terrorist, Al-Qaeda began launching multiple attacks targeting Saudi government buildings and U.S. compounds in Saudi grounds (Alshihry, 2003). Their attacks exhibits their revenge against Saudi Arabia's cooperation with the U.S. trying to stop further US–Saudi anti-terrorist movements and trying to corrode the US-Saudi relationship and to annihilate it.
In 2003, several attacks occurred inside Saudi Arabia. The attacks targeted U.S. compounds, the Saudi ministry of interior, and many other places. Many people were killed in these attacks, primarily Saudis and Americans. As a result of these attacks, the U.S. decided to redevelop Saudi law enforcement agencies by providing them with anti-terrorism education, the latest technologies, and by giving them a chance to interact with U.S. law enforcement agencies to gain efficient knowledge and power needed to handle terrorist cases and to enforce anti-terrorist laws (Pollack 2002).
After these changes, the Saudi government was more equipped in preventing terrorist activities. They caught a large number of Saudi terrorists and terrorists from other countries (some of them American) that had connections with al-Qaeda in one way or another (U.S. Department of State 2007). Some of these criminals held high rank in terrorist society, which helped diffuse many terrorist cells (Alahmary, 2004). In matter of months, Saudi law enforcement officials were successfully able to stop and prevent terrorist activities. Also they were successful of finding the source of terrorist financing.
Pre-9/11 relationship with the United States
The United States recognized the government of King Ibn Saud in 1933, and diplomatic relations between two countries were established. At the same time Ibn Saud granted a concession to the U.S. company, Standard Oil of California, allowing them to explore for oil in the country's Eastern Province, al-Hasa. The company gave the Saudi government £35,000 and also paid assorted rental fees and royalty payments.
CASOC Struck oil near Dhahran, but production over the next several years remained low—only about 42.5 million barrels between 1941 and 1945; less than 1% of the output in the United States over the same time period.
U.S. officials initially paid little attention, not sending a resident ambassador to the country until 1943. However, as World War II progressed, the United States began to believe that Saudi oil was of strategic importance. As a result, in the interest of national security, the U.S. began to push for greater control over the CASOC concession. On 16 February 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that "the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States", thereby making possible the extension of the Lend-Lease program to the kingdom. Later that year, the president approved the creation of the state-owned Petroleum Reserves Corporation, with the intent that it purchase all the stock of CASOC and thus gain control of Saudi oil reserves in the region. However, the plan was met by opposition, and ultimately failed. Roosevelt continued to court the government, however—on 14 February 1945, he met with King Ibn Saud aboard the USS Quincy, discussing topics such as the countries' security relationship and the creation of a Jewish country in the Mandate of Palestine.
CASOC was later renamed the Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco). The agreement between the company and the Saudi kingdom was modified several times over the years. In 1950, Saudi Arabia and Aramco agreed to a 50–50 profit-sharing arrangement, and a series of agreements between 1973 and 1980 resulted in the Saudis' regaining full control of the company. In 1988, Fahd of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree establishing the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, known as Saudi Aramco, to replace Aramco.
In 1951, under a mutual defense agreement, the U.S. established a permanent U.S. Military Training Mission in the kingdom and agreed to provide training support in the use of weapons and other security-related services to the Saudi armed forces. The US Army Corps of Engineers assisted in the construction of military installations in the kingdom. This agreement formed the basis of what grew into a longstanding security relationship. Two years later, King Abdulaziz died and was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Saud, who was known for his reputation as a spendthrift. Under King Saud, the kingdom's treasury diminished rapidly and he was forced to turn over direct control of government affairs to his half-brother Faisal from 1958 to 1961. In 1964, the royal family and religious leadership forced Saud to abdicate in favor of Faisal.
In October 2001, The Wall Street Journal reported that Crown Prince Abdullah sent a critical letter to U.S. President George W. Bush on August 29. He warned that Saudi Arabia was being put in an untenable position and reportedly wrote: "A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don't feel the pulse of their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran."
Post-9/11 relationship with the United States
Saudi Arabia issued a statement on the day of the terrorist attacks on America's World Trade Center and Pentagon, calling them "regrettable and inhuman." Saudi recognition to the Taliban stopped and as of November 2001, the Bush administration continued to publicly praise Saudi support for the war on terrorism. However, published media reports have indicated U.S. frustration with Saudi inaction. Although 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, publicly the Saudis were not cooperating with Americans wanting to look at background files of the hijackers or interview the hijackers' families.
Saudi Arabia engaged the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm of Patton Boggs as registered foreign agents in the wake of the public relations disaster when knowledge of the identities of suspected hijackers became known. They also hired the PR and lobbying firm Qorvis for $14 million a year. Qorvis engaged in a PR frenzy that publicized the "9/11 Commission finding that there was 'no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [Al Qaeda]'—while omitting the report's conclusion that 'Saudi Arabia has been a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism.'"
Allegations of funding terrorism
The two nations still cooperate and share information about the latest al-Qaeda movements to ensure that al-Qaeda's propaganda does not spread and contaminate people and to prevent new terrorist movements and attacks. The US–Saudi anti-terrorist cooperation has enhanced the relationship beyond oil, rendering Saudi Arabia a valuable American security asset in the Middle East (Alsheikh 2006). Furthermore, leaders from both countries have met on many occasions to discuss their mutual interests and to further strengthen diplomatic relations.
After President George W. Bush's two visits to Saudi Arabia in 2008—which was the first time a U.S. president visited a foreign country twice in less than four months—and King Abdullah's three visits to the US—2002, 2005 and 2008—the relations have surely reached their peak. The two nations have expanded their relationship beyond oil and terrorism. For example, King Abdullah has allocated funds for young Saudis to study in the United States.
One of the most important reasons that King Abdullah has given full scholarships to young Saudis is to give them western perspective and to impart a positive impression of Saudi Arabia on the American people (Alslemy, 2008). On the other hand, President Bush discussed the world economic crisis and what the U.S.–Saudi relationship can do about it (Tabassum, 2008). During meetings with the Saudis, the Bush Administration took the Saudi policies very seriously because of their prevalent economic and defensive presence in the region and its great media influence on the Islamic world (Al Obaid 2007). By and large, the two leaders have made many decisions that deal with security, economics, and business aspects of the relationship, making it in the top of its fame. (Gearan, 2008)
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- Embassy of Saudi Arabia- Washington, DC
- Embassy of U.S.A. - Riyadh
- Consulate General of U.S.A. - Dhahran
- Consulate General of U.S.A. - Jeddah