U.S. Foreign Policy in the Gulf After 9/11: The Effect on US-GCC Relations (Saudi Arabia in the Focus)
A Book of Middle East Studies, Middle East Studies Online Journal, Forthcoming
Posted: 15 Jul 2010 Last revised: 4 Sep 2012
Date Written: July 14, 2010
“The effect of great and sudden wealth on the tiny desert states of the (…) Gulf has been remarkable", says P. Mansfield. In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia it has produced one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the twentieth century. It is not only that a state which was one of poorest on the globe when it was created half a century ago is well on its way to becoming one of the richest by any standards, with control over a major part of the world‘s financial reserves, but that it should have happened to a Bedouin tribal monarchy ruled on the most fundamentalist and puritanical principles of Islam. The inescapable problem of how to serve both Allah and Mammon has yet to be resolved." Maybe never as since 9/11 this problem has been raised in more an urgency, both to Americans and Saudis, because – particularly, of all the connections between funds and fundamentalist terror, of all the ambiguities and misunderstandings, of the stereotypes, the pre-conceptions, and the false dialogue, the hypocrisy internationally established.
The fact that the attitudes are neither only political, nor economical, nor strategic, but also cultural; that religion, traditions, and political and economical interests mix up in an explosive assortment; that some pending questions from outside the region (like the Palestinian Israeli conflict, the relations with Iran, the situation in Iraq, etc) further complicate the picture … All those little details have , at one time or another, something to do with the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, the USA, or all of them.
The main question is: what is the real change introduced by September 11 on both American thinking and projects and the attitudes and responses of the elite and the ordinary people in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia?
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