A History Lesson for the Saudi Prince
Back in the 1980s, Reagan sent his envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, to meet with our then ally and friend, Saddam Hussein, as evidence shows in the following picture:
In less than 10 years, Saddam became "Enemy #1" during GHW Bush's presidency and again now under his son, George W. Bush. This should be a history lesson to the Saudi Prince to not get too chummy with ole Rummy, as seen in the following picture:
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (L) meets with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah (R) in Riyadh April 29, 2003. The United States is withdrawing its air force from Saudi Arabia by mutual agreement now that the threat from Iraq has gone, Rumsfeld said. Photo by Pool/Reuters
Here is the article linked to that picture:
U.S. Military Pulls Out of Saudi in Realignment
RIYADH (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it was ending military operations in Saudi Arabia and removing virtually all its forces from the kingdom following the Iraq war.
In a joint announcement, Saudi Arabia said it had agreed the move with Washington. It denied press reports it had asked the United States to withdraw.
The presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia generated Arab resentment because of their proximity to Islam's holiest sites. It was a major grievance exploited by Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network, blamed by Washington for the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.
U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia, which doubled to 10,000 during the Iraq war, had already started pulling out of a desert airbase used by U.S. planes since 1991 in their "Southern Watch" operation to police southern Iraq, U.S. officials said.
Operations were being moved from the Prince Sultan airbase, used to control U.S.-led air strikes in the Iraq war, to the neighboring Gulf state of Qatar, where the U.S. Central Command has set up another air operations center, they said.
The announcement, made during a tour of Gulf states by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld focused on reducing the U.S. military presence in the region, followed Riyadh's refusal to allow air strikes on Iraq by some 100 Saudi-based U.S. aircraft.
"After the end of Southern Watch ... there is no need for them to remain," Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz told a joint news conference with Rumsfeld. "This does not mean that we requested them to leave."
Rumsfeld told reporters after talks with the prince that the "liberation of Iraq" had changed the situation in the Gulf and allowed Washington to reduce its troops in the region. "The relationship between our two countries is multi-dimensional -- diplomatic, economic, as well as military-to-military," he told a news conference.
Political and defense analysts said the withdrawal from Saudi Arabia had huge political implications.
The move effectively ends a relationship dating back to 1991 when Washington used Saudi Arabia as a launch pad for the Gulf War to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait and then based warplanes at the desert airbase to police a "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq.
The presence of Western troops in the kingdom irked many Saudis already angry with the United States over its perceived bias toward Israel. Ousting U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia became a battle cry of bin Laden and his al Qaeda militants.
"There are political advantages for both. The U.S. will have greater freedom of action, the Saudis will feel more comfortable -- and neither of them will have to mention that it was a key demand of Osama bin Laden," Tim Garden, security analyst at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, told Reuters.
"It certainly means the United States is rid of a huge problem," Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies, told Reuters in London.
"There has been agitation for a very long time from inside Saudi Arabia. And it was one of al Qaeda's key demands as well for foreign forces to be removed from the holy ground of Saudi Arabia," Heyman said.
U.S. officials said a small number of U.S. personnel would remain in Saudi Arabia to train Saudi soldiers.
The defense secretary later met Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah before he flew on to Kuwait, the next leg of his week-long tour.
"They agreed to move on from here with continued cooperation in areas from training to regular military exercises," a senior Pentagon official told reporters after the meeting.
Rumsfeld has already held talks with leaders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. He also plans to visit Afghanistan. Defense officials, citing security considerations, declined to say if Rumsfeld would go to Iraq.
Saudi Arabia's ruling al Saud family faces U.S. and internal pressure to liberalize politically and modernize an Islamic education system which influential Americans say produced such militants as those belonging to al Qaeda.
"It is very significant. It reduces America's dependence on Saudi Arabia and it throws open the opportunity for Iraq to become America's favorite base in the region," defense analyst Paul Beaver told Reuters in London.
Paris-based defense analyst Francois Gere said Saudi Arabia was also entering a complex reorganization of its leadership.
"There is less need both for Saudi territory and Saudi oil, but one should not exaggerate. I think the second message is 'we Americans are going to withdraw a bit from Saudi Arabia and let these people sort out their domestic problems'," he said.
~Did You Miss These?~
Just a Reminder - Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003
Ravyne Is Moving - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
The Mission - Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003
Siege Heil - Thursday, Oct. 09, 2003
Litany Of Lies - Wednesday, Oct. 08, 2003
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