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To thank all of you for coming to hear this discussion early on a Monday morning a few weeks ago on October eleventh the US defense secretary mark T. asper announced a new deployment of US military forces to Saudi Arabia and at the time of that appointment he said Saudi Arabia is a long standing security partner in the Middle East and has asked for additional support to supplement their own differences and defend the international rules based order this statement and the deployment itself gives us kind of entry point in our discussion this morning for talking about the history of the US Saudi relationship and American foreign policy in Arabia and the Gulf more generally those phrases phrases like security partnership or maybe you've heard the phrase of bargain of security for oil are frequently used to describe the U. S. Saudi relationship in these descriptions serve to portray that relationship as natural as inevitable and ultimately as a political historical research by me and by many other people in the field however some great work being done right now shows that there was nothing inevitable about the U. S. Saudi relationship which developed over time in the contingent manner on the basis of conflict as well as cooperation and in a way that generated significant political controversy in both countries so I'm gonna do in my remarks give you sort of a sense of the scholarly literature by talking about three major themes or sets of topics in talking about the the US Saudi relationship and the first has to do with what historians call the post war petroleum order and the basic idea here is that the US Saudi relationship emerged not simply on a bilateral basis it is part of the system that developed middle eastern oil for fueling as you heard from doctor to pry any for fueling western Europe and Japan after World War two so when we talk about US Saudi relations we're not just talking about a bilateral relationship we're talking about the place of that relationship in that larger system the system that included major oil companies as well as states that included oil transit states that is those countries whose territory was crossed by it will on its way to market as well as oil producing states and leading included governments in the region as well as great powers like the United States and like Great Britain so major US corporations formed the Arabian American oil company or Aramco to develop Saudi oil and built the trans Arabian pipeline or tap line across four different countries to transport oil from the Gulf to the Mediterranean Aramco Saudi relations were based on a deal struck in nineteen fifty four of fifty fifty a profit sharing arrangement but those relations were also based on conflict and characterized by conflicts over payments in ownership of the company over the housing promotion in treatment of Saudi workers and over around because overall commitment to economic development in the kingdom US recognition of and support for Israel also complicated this relationship and isolated Saudi Arabia within the Arab world so a second set of topics or or themes has to do with the politics of reform domestic politics within the Saudi kingdom within Saudi Arabia and the basic sort of read a recognition or or basic argument that historians make is that from the beginning of this relationship in the nineteen thirties nineteen forties the US government and American oil companies were involved in domestic Saudi politics strikes among Aramco workers in nineteen forty five in nineteen fifty three and in nineteen fifty six led to demands for reform and the nationalization of Aramco by the Saudi government the government suppress the strikes in arrested or exiled leaders groups such as the national reform front later call the national liberation front formed out of these uprisings labor leaders in other dissidents regarded the US air base at doc brown and Aramco itself as constituting a colonial presence in Saudi Arabia this was the era of anti colonial nationalism of decolonization in the Arab world of the authority influence and popularity of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser a movement for a constitutional monarchy supported by workers by some government employees and technocrats and even some members of the ruling family was defeated in the early nineteen sixties the US government closed ranks behind King Faisal who had opposed the constitution and who in nineteen sixty four deposed his brother his half brother king size history professor make this is Tina helping to provide a briefing for congressional staffers on the importance of Middle East oil to American foreign policy so a third and sort of most this is sort of the most recent round of or or body of scholarship on the U. S. Saudi relationship has to do with the nineteen seventies and the period subsequent to the nineteen seventies so the scholarship that examines the nineteen seventy three seventy four oil embargo its consequences and then the way that the the relationship was sort of reconstituted following that embargo so prior to nine eleven the most serious crisis in the relationship came when Saudi Arabia joined other Arab oil producers in an oil embargo against the United States imposed for American support of Israel in the October nineteen seventy three Arab Israeli war the Arab oil embargo came at a time when tight global oil supplies gave producing governments leverage over major companies the result was a major shift in what historians have called in what I described a moment ago as the post war petroleum border producing states pursued what is sometimes called resource nationalism in the forms of higher prices demanding a greater share of the wealth produced by the production of oil and also corporate nationalization in other words demanding ownership rights within the companies that were producing oil within their within their territories as a consequence then Saudi Arabian nationalized Aramco in a planned takeover that culminated in the nineteen eighties with the creation of the state oil company Saudi Aramco which has a rather large presence in Houston where I now live that phrase that I mentioned earlier in in my remarks security for oil a kind of bargain between the United States where the U. S. offer security in exchange for secure access to Saudi well that security for oil bargain Keynes most to the post embargo era so the period after the nineteen seventy three seventy four oil embargo the US Saudi relationship was re established on the basis of recycling Petro dollars especially through weapons sales the sales of weapons produced by US companies to Saudi Arabia and also Saudi Arabia's purchase of treasury bonds so helping to fund the debt of the United States as well as Saudi support for anti communist causes in the Cold War especially the support for the Islamist insurgency against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan after nineteen seventy nine also in nineteen seventy nine as you heard the U. S. lost its principal ally in the Gulf the Shah of Iran to a revolution the Iranian revolution placed added emphasis on Saudi Arabia as a regional US ally but proposals arm the Saudis also elicited strong opposition from pro Israel groups and politicians here in the United States following the announcement of the Carter doctrine which you also heard about from doctor to pry money in nineteen eighty the US dramatically increased its military presence in the Gulf this encompasses the creation of the rapid deployment joy Joint Task Force and later CENTCOM the US Central Command as well as the basing of US forces in Saudi Arabia during the long Iran Iraq war during the nineteen eighties hundreds of thousands of US troops were then deployed to the region including Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War of nineteen ninety nineteen ninety one as you might expect from when I was talking about earlier the U. S. to troop presence provoked opposition and resistance and open a new chapter in the Saudi opposition against the ruling family and close US Saudi relations al Qaeda which carried out the nine eleven attacks included Saudi dissidents such as some of bin laden and veterans of the anti Soviet campaign in Afghanistan most recently Saudi leaders have seen the US as a principal ally against Iran and its regional proxies Saudi running rivalry has entered a violent face as these two regional powers contend for dominance in civil conflicts across the Middle East region of a region destabilized by the to stop two thousand three US invasion of Iraq and its cascading effects in Yemen Iraq Syria Lebanon the Saudi Iranian rivalry has escalated ands intensified violence in conflicts that are often framed in sectarian religious terms but are really about regional power latency Tino Rice University prioritize the conflict with Iran has led to Saudi Arabia to mute its criticism of US policies toward the Israeli Palestinian conflict even as the current US administration has adopted Israel's position on key issues such as the status of Jerusalem it is also split the Gulf cooperation council the alliance of Arab Gulf states with Saudi Arabia and other states seeking to isolate Qatar by threatening the stability of the Gulf the recent attacks on oil tankers and Saudi oil installations raise questions about whether the Saudi and running governments will seek to de escalate their rivalry and the implications of this development for the U. S. campaign of maximum pressure on the Iranian economy through sanctions so as in the past and if we're we're using the past as a as a guide rather than an apolitical security partnership conflicts over regional power use of oil in the global economy and domestic politics in both countries will shape or determine the contours of the US Saudi relationship and US policy in Arabian the golf going for so I'll conclude my remarks there and look forward to your questions thanks very much this event is a briefing for congressional staffers on the impact of Middle East oil on US foreign policy comments by at nine Trapani US Naval War College may consider Tino Rice University and moderator David painter Georgetown University you have your cards start you.

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