Council Senior Fellow and Director for Middle East and Gulf Studies Rachel Bronson reveals why the U.S.-Saudi partnership became so intimate and how the countries' shared interests sowed the seeds of today's most pressing problem -- Islamic radicalism.
Rachel Bronson, CFR’s top Middle East expert and author of a new book on Saudi-American relations, Thicker Than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership With Saudi Arabia, says that she does not expect Saudi-American relations to approach the closeness of the Cold War years, when the two countries were allied against the spread of Communism. “We should expect it to be a rockier road, although I do expect the relationship to muddle through,” says Bronson, a senior fellow and director of Middle East and Gulf Studies at CFR.
Joseph McMillan argues in this USIP report that in the near future, U.S. and Saudi perspectives on Iraq will be quite similar with both countries tightly focused on restoring peace and order and preventing the propagation of terrorism. However, there is also ample room for divergence. Saudi Arabia values its ties to Washington, but its ability to cooperate with U.S. policy will be limited by regional and domestic pressures. Ensuring that Saudi Arabia is a force for stability in the Gulf rather than a source of disruption is a continuing challenge for U.S. diplomacy.
Authors: Alfred B. Prados and Christopher M. Blanchard
This report reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for religious charities and schools (madrasas) abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism.
Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis, but its elite is bitterly divided on how to escape it. Crown Prince Abdullah leads a camp of liberal reformers seeking rapprochement with the West, while Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with an anti-American Wahhabi religious establishment that has much in common with al Qaeda. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad -- but at home Nayef casts a longer and darker shadow.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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