Saudi Arabia has long been one of America’s closest allies and trading partners in the Middle-East region. Saudi Arabia owns the most amount of ammunition from US in that region, and exports more than 1 million barrels of crude oil per day to the US, the second most besides Canada. However, there are many interesting things happening underneath this seemingly, mutually beneficial relation. Most recently, a decision made by US congress has enraged Saudi Arabian government and US-Saudi relation is now on the edge of breaking apart.
Last week, the US government was set to release part of the 9/11 report. These documents include classified intelligence about how the terrorist attack was planned and executed. But most importantly, the documents contain information of “specific sources of foreign support for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers while they were in the United States”.
Among the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attack, 15 of them held Saudi Arabian citizenship, and Saudi has long been blamed for supporting terrorism even though it was America’s key ally in Middle East. Al Qaeda, for instance, was founded in Saudi Arabia and its former leader Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian citizen. Investigations on Saudi Arabian involvement of the attack had taken place, and although no evidence suggest that Saudi Arabia provided direct help to the terrorist organizations, skepticisms about Saudi’s link to terrorism never ceased to exist.
Saudi Arabian government immediately responded to US government’s move. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, has stated that the country would sell short its $750 billion assets in America once the permission of disclosure is passed in US Congress. Saudi Arabia would take this measure nominally because its government would retrieve its assets before possible economic sanctions. However, economists predicted that selling off these properties at once would cause yet another stock market crisis in America. Hence, the response of Saudi Arabia was considered a threat message to US government.
Adel Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabia foreign minister.
Now here is the dilemma that President Obama is facing. The government needs to console the society from the traumas of 9/11, by giving off all information it obtains, without breaking its long-existing bond with Saudi Arabia. The President’s visit to Saudi Arabia last week apparently did not ease the tension between two countries. Some perfunctory dialogues with Saudi leaders were made but no real progress was made. The President is set to make a decision before the end of his term, and its impact will be profound no matter which side he chooses to sacrifice.
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