Understanding America’s Relationship with Saudi Arabia

by William Skink

How did America become entangled with one of the worst state-sponsors of terrorism, Saudi Arabia, a nation that just carried out its 100th beheading? According to the report last Monday, one of the dangerous criminals who met this gruesome fate was a foreign national arrested for a non-violent drug crime:

Saudi Arabia has reportedly taken its number of executions for the year to 100, far exceeding last year’s tally and putting it on course for a new record.

According to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency, two more convicted criminals were killed by the government on Monday – including a foreign national guilty only of a non-violent drug smuggling offence.

While all that beheading is taking place half a world away, in the states–specifically, Montana–Saudi nationals have fled to the relative safety of their homeland after allegedly sexually assaulting female students and, just reported today, after being caught cheating. From the link:

CAIRO – A group of Saudi students caught in a cheating scandal at a Montana college were offered flights home by their kingdom’s diplomats to avoid the possibility of deportation or arrest, according to a cache of Saudi Embassy memos recently published by WikiLeaks and a senior official at the school involved.

The students were in a ring of roughly 30 alleged cheaters at Montana Tech accused of having systematically forged grades by giving presents to a college employee.

The cheating was discovered – and the staffer was fired – following an investigation made public in early 2012, but the memos reveal for the first time that the students were almost all Saudis and that their government booked them flights home following a meeting between college administrators and Saudi diplomats in Washington just before the scandal broke.

This story comes courtesy of the cache of memos recently released by Wikileaks, and it will certainly generate lots of interest for those interested in America’s perverse relationship with this barbaric nation.

There is a lot to learn from this release, especially when it comes to media manipulation. Binoy Kampmark at Counterpunch takes a look at that angle, as does Moon of Alabama. Remember that ridiculous plot featuring a used car salesman who was trying to pay assassins to kill a Saudi diplomat in DC? It was supposedly a scheme cooked up by those wily Iranians. Here is the wikipedia entry about the plot.

At the time, b, the German blogger at Moon of Alabama, called the plot nonsense. He was right and the New York Times was more than wrong–it was suckered into promoting a false propaganda narrative that benefited both the Saudi regime and the Obama regime.

To really understand this relationship America has with Saudi Arabia, one must go back to the year 1945. Luckily we have some help from documentary film maker, Adam Curtis. His relatively new film, Bitter Lake, examines the madness that has flowed from the meeting between President Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz:

In 1945 President Roosevelt met King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia (whose son Abdullah died last week, to be replaced by yet another son, Salman) on board a warship on the Great Bitter Lake. It was a meeting that would have extraordinary, far-reaching and unintended consequences, for the west, for the world.

Curtis’s story unfurls from there, taking in America, Saudi Arabia, Britain, the Soviet Union. And Afghanistan, which found itself not just at the centre of the world, but the centre of a snowballing – and ongoing – international scandal. It’s a story that includes the spread of Wahhabism (no wasabi jokes, thank you); the oversimplification of the world, by Reagan and Bush (Sr) and Bush (Jr) and Blair, into a kind of fairytale of good v evil; the banks, inevitably; Bin Laden and 9/11 too, also inevitably; and now Islamic State, who want pretty much exactly what the Wahhabists wanted over half a century ago.

It’s a story full of violence, bloodshed, and bitter ironies, mainly about how the west, through misunderstanding and oversimplification, repeatedly achieved pretty much the opposite of what it was trying to achieve. America protected Wahhabism through its thirst for Saudi oil, and in doing so helped sow the seeds of radical Islam today. In Afghanistan they built dams to irrigate the Helmand valley, making it perfect to sow actual seeds, opium poppy seeds. The past is strewn with patterns, and warnings, if only anyone had bothered looking and tried to understand. But history is a bit too complicated for today’s politicians.

If we don’t try to understand what this fateful partnership with Saudi Arabia has wrought, then we will continue to operate under the fevered delusions fueling our post-9/11 insanity in the Middle East.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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7 Responses to Understanding America’s Relationship with Saudi Arabia

  1. Big Swede says:

    One mistake out of 100 still isn’t a bad record.

    Maybe if the condemned memorized the Koran they’d get a lighter sentence.


  2. Wahhabism is no more corrupt or dangerous than Zionism, and as repugnant. But the idea that religion drives politics, rather than politics using human weakness (exhibited as religious faith), is far from the truth in my view. Leadership merely looks to link religion to its own insanity, as in tying Muslims to 9/11 as a means of facilitating its murderous attack on that part of the world.

    Set religion aside it still happens, with some other cover story.

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