Thicker Than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia

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Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 2008 - History - 384 pages
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For fifty-five years, the United States and Saudi Arabia were solid partners. Then came the 9/11 attacks, which sorely tested that relationship. In Thicker than Oil, Rachel Bronson reveals why the partnership became so intimate and how the countries' shared interests sowed the seeds of today's most pressing problem--Islamic radicalism. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, declassified documents, and interviews with leading Saudi and American officials, and including many colorful stories of diplomatic adventures and misadventures, Bronson chronicles a history of close, and always controversial, contacts. She argues that contrary to popular belief the relationship was never simply about "oil for security." Saudi Arabia's geographic location and religiously motivated foreign policy figured prominently in American efforts to defeat "godless communism." From Africa to Afghanistan, Egypt to Nicaragua, the two worked to beat back Soviet expansion. But decisions made for hardheaded Cold War purposes left behind a legacy that today enflames the Middle East. Looking forward, Bronson outlines the challenges confronting the relationship. The Saudi government faces a zealous internal opposition bent on America's and Saudi Arabia's destruction. Yet from the perspective of both countries, the status quo is clearly unsustainable.
 

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Thicker than oil: America's uneasy partnership with Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia is a major factor in developments in the Middle East and in the War on Terror. These books provide a thorough analysis of the country and of America's relationship with it.In the Balance ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1 Oil God and Real Estate
14
2 Dropping Anchors in the Middle East
36
3 An Islamic Pope
61
4 Shifting Sands
78
5 Double Double Oil and Trouble
106
6 A New and Glorious Chapter
124
7 Mobilizing Religion
140
9 We Support Some They Support Some
168
10 The Cold War Ends with a Bang
191
11 Parting Ways
204
12 September 11 and Beyond
232
13 Reconfiguring the USSaudi Strategic Partnership
248
Notes
263
Selected Bibliography
311
Index
333

8 Begin or Reagan
152

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About the author (2008)

Rachel Bronson is Vice President of Programs and Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Her writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. She has commented widely on foreign affairs in outlets such as NPR, CNN, The Lehrer News Hour, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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