let's leave Saudi Arabia [ was: [irtheory] Housekeeping, Post-Saddam ]

Joseph S Barrera III joe at barrera.org
Mon Apr 14 14:08:43 PDT 2003

Yes! Yes! I don't know why there isn't more discussion
about this. It is in fact one of the stronger reasons
for the war in Iraq that I never hear Bush's team
argue for -- if we can maintain bases in largey secular
Iraq, then we can leave the Saudis the fuck alone, just
like they want.

- Joe

R. A. Hettinga wrote:
> <http://online.wsj.com/article_print/0,,SB105028822698046000,00.html>
> The Wall Street Journal
> April 14, 2003
> Housekeeping, Post-Saddam
 > [...]
> We should use our victory in Iraq as the occasion to withdraw all
> of our military forces from Saudi Arabia. Prior to the current
> conflict, the U.S. maintained about 4,000 people in the kingdom,
> mostly Air Force personnel connected with the 363rd Air
> Expeditionary Wing who are mostly at the Prince Sultan Air Base
> near al-Kharj, south of Riyadh. Withdrawing would mean closing down
> the Combined Aerospace Operations Center (CAOC) there, a
> state-of-the-art command-and-control facility that was opened in
> 2001.
> The U.S. began basing forces in Saudi Arabia during its buildup to
> the 1991 Gulf War. At the time, then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney
> was reported to have promised King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah
> that U.S. forces would be withdrawn after the war. But the
> continuing threat from Saddam Hussein and the need to maintain a
> no-fly zone over southern Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch
> induced the U.S. to reverse course and ask for permanent basing.
> These bases were always a source of instability. One of Osama bin
> Laden's early terrorist moves was the bombing of the Khobar Towers
> barracks in Dhahran in 1996, which killed 19 U.S. airmen. That plus
> another bombing in Riyadh induced the U.S. to move its forces from
> Dhahran to the more secluded Prince Sultan facility.
> There are many good reasons to announce an intention to withdraw as
> soon as possible. The Saudi bases were useless to us during
> Operation Iraqi Freedom since the Saudis did not permit us to
> operate out of them. They have now become redundant with the
> collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime and the end of the no-fly zone
> requirement.
> But the most powerful reasons are political. U.S. forces are today
> welcomed in Baghdad as liberators. But there is great suspicion
> throughout the Arab world -- unfounded -- that we secretly plan to
> occupy the country. Announcing a withdrawal from Saudi Arabia will
> underline the point that our military deployments in the Gulf are
> not ends in themselves, but serve specific and limited political
> objectives.
> Beyond that, our relationship with Saudi Arabia has become highly
> problematic since the Sept. 11 attacks, which were perpetrated by a
> group dominated by Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia has not become an
> "enemy," as some would have it, but it is clear that many people in
> the kingdom are not our friends. This is a country that has seen
> per capita income fall by two-thirds in recent years as a result of
> mismanagement and corruption, one that is home to a virulent
> anti-Western ideology. We are blamed for the hypocrisy and
> opportunism of our close relationship with this dictatorship even
> as we justified our invasion of Iraq as a fight for Arab freedom.
> So it would be entirely appropriate, as part of a broader shift in
> U.S. foreign policy in support of Middle Eastern democracy, to put
> some distance between us and the Saudis.
> Indeed, the Saudi government itself would welcome this distance.
> When told by Mr. Cheney back in 1990 that U.S. forces would leave
> after the war, Crown Prince Abdullah was reported to have muttered
> in Arabic under his breath, "I would hope so." In the buildup to
> the current war, the Saudis hinted that once it was over, they
> themselves would demand a U.S. withdrawal, and begin democratic
> reforms in their own country.
> We need to beat them to the punch. One of Osama bin Laden's demands
> was that the U.S. leave the "holy soil" of Arabia, and a withdrawal
> in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 would have been perceived as
> capitulation. But today we are viewed throughout the region as
> 800-pound gorillas, and a withdrawal will be perceived not as
> weakness but as an act of magnanimity and common sense. We need to
> do this now, from a position of strength, rather than waiting some
> months when our presence in Iraq may seem less commanding. The U.S.
> has no business stationing its forces permanently in a country that
> will not let our women soldiers walk the streets freely.
> Mr. Fukuyama is the Bernard Schwartz Professor of International
> Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced
> International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the
> author, most recently, of "Our Posthuman Future" (Farrar Straus &
> Giroux, 2002).

With unforeseeing eyes into the smoke, the lungs of war
And all the endless formulations of unusable beginnings that
Have grown from hungry rivers into trees
Nobody sees

All them hungry people
They don't look so good
But I don't let it bother you
I don't see why it should

More information about the FoRK mailing list