"Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" means a lot of things to a lot of people. Literally it means that the Al-Saud family owns the country and its residents are their vassals. The Royal Saud family rules "Saudi Arabia" mostly by force.
Nevertheless its ministry of communications attempts to present the kingdom as a country of peace and harmony. If this were true, how could 15 of the 19 terrorists of the 9/11 attack come from the kingdom?
After World War I, at the Cairo Conference of 1921, the British rewarded Sherif Hussein, naming one of his sons, Faisal, king of Iraq, and another, Abdullah, ruler of modern-day Jordan-both countries, like most in the Middle East, were imperial inventions whose borders were sketched in the sand. The winners of WWI carved up the Ottoman Empire into the modern Middle Eastern countries we know today and they assigned rulers who seemed cooperative.
In 1945, US President Franklin Roosevelt met with Ibn Saud to negotiate an important oil deal in which the US would back the Saud dynasty by providing military support in exchange for a reliable supply of crude. It seemed like a good deal at the time.
To this day, the US continues a similar policy in the Middle East: support a ruler in order to maintain a dependable trading partner, regardless of how that leader rules his country-monarch, tyrant, dictator, or popular nice guy. Few, if any, beloved leaders have yet to arise in the oil rich land of the Levant. Thrust into Iraqi power mainly by the US in the early 1970's, Saddam Hussein eventually turned his back on his Yankee supporters and nationalized the Western-owned Iraqi Petroleum Company. Well, you know what happened to him-the good'ol boy gone maverick finished at the end of a rope.
Only in the post-9/11 period do we begin to question this sordid history of propping up compliant governments to satisfy our needs for petroleum and its profits. Eventually we, Western oil consumers, will have to admit at least partial blame for the terrorism that now plagues us.
The imperial support we provide to dictators, tyrants, and kings contradicts our own ideals of free trade democracy. Now, as we miserably attempt to reclaim control of Iraq, we find that our own freewheeling democracy comes under question, what with our undeniable oil interests in the country we invaded for all the most ridiculous reasons.
As far as our oil supplying countries go, we only play lip service to democracy as a marketing ploy to justify our on-going neo-colonial holds on reliable oil traders. This has been our implicit policy since 1945.
When Roosevelt met with Ibn Saud, this "scratch my back I'll scratch yours" policy made sense. Back then, the Levant was a tribal frontier and the United States a new born industrial powerhouse. Things changed in the half century since then.
The United States grew into a global empire. Its strongest power brokers became the international petroleum oligarchs we know today; these few companies enjoy the highest levels of profits in all of human history and are fully entrenched in the status quo of oil as our source of energy, albeit an obsolete technology considering Global Warming and the current Petroleum conflicts.
Thus the West became blindly addicted to fossil fuels and never bothered to develop alternative fuels over the decades. This poses a huge pressure on the oil suppliers of the Levant.
In many ways similar to Iran and Iraq, in Saudi Arabia, the Saud Royal family garnered enormous wealth over the decades while all but ignoring the development of the people in their tribal frontiers. This imbalance intensified resentment between the Royalty and the various tribes, the vassals of the kingdom.
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