BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
107th Congress, 2nd Session Washington, D.C
June 12, 2002
Ending the Weaknesses of U. S. Policy toward Saudi Arabia
Hearing on “Should the United States Do More to Help U.S. Citizens Held against Their Will in Saudi Arabia?”
The title of today’s hearing – “Should the United States Do More to Help U.S. Citizens Held against Their Will in Saudi Arabia?” – is simple to answer: Yes, the U.S. government should do more. More complex and even mysterious is to explain why through many administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, the State Department and other agencies have done so little to support the rights of U.S. nationals abducted to Saudi Arabia.
I shall try to account for this hesitance by noting that it fits into a much larger pattern of caution and even obsequiousness that has for decades characterized Washington’s relations with Riyadh. Over and over again, the U.S. government has made unwonted and unnecessary concessions to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). I shall document this claim and then conclude with an explanation of it and a policy recommendation.
Small Scale Obsequiousness
U.S. government acceptance of Saudi norms is particularly worrisome as concerns the treatment of women, practicing Christians, and Jews; I shall also touch on some other issues. Women: The U.S. government has a pattern of accepting an unequal treatment of women in connection with Saudi Arabia that it would otherwise never countenance. Here are two current examples:
Starting in 1991, the U.S. military required its female personnel based in Saudi Arabia to wear black, head-to-foot abayas. (It bears noting that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where U.S. military personnel are expected to wear a religiously-mandated garment.) Further, the women had to ride in the back seat of vehicles and be accompanied by a man when off base..
In 1995, Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the highest-ranking female fighter pilot in the Air Force, initiated an effort within the system to end this discriminatory treatment. As she put it, “I’m able to be in leadership positions and fly combat sorties into enemy territory, yet when I leave the base, I hand over the keys to my subordinate men, sit in the back, and put on a Muslim outfit that is very demeaning and humiliating.”1 Not succeeding at this, she went public with a law suit at the beginning of 2002. Her complaint points to the violation of her free speech, the separation of church and state, and gender discrimination (male military personnel do not have any parallel requirements imposed on them; indeed, they are specifically forbidden from wearing Saudi clothing).2
Right after McSally filed her law suit, the Department of Defense responded by formally changing its policy on abayas; and shortly after, it rescinded the policies on the other two issues (sitting in the back of a vehicle, male escort). Yet these were largely cosmetic changes, as women were still “strongly encouraged” to follow the old rules due to “host nation sensitivity.” In particular, the U.S. government continued to purchase and issue abayas. McSally concluded that the military’s continuing strong recom-mendation that women wear abayas amounted to a continuation of the old situation, as women who did not wear the Saudi garb would suffer in their careers, so she continued with her suit. On 14 May 2002, I am pleased to remind you, this House voted unanimously in favor of a bill that prohibits the Pentagon from “formally or informally” urging servicewomen to wear abayas.
The bill you passed would also forbid the Pentagon from buying abayas for servicewomen. Unfortunately, your colleagues in the Senate have not yet acted on this measure.
The second example concerns Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. As he was about to travel across Texas to visit President Bush in late April 2002, his entourage demanded that only male air-traffic controllers handle the royal plane. According to an executive of the firm that runs the Waco airport that serves the president’s ranch in Crawford, “an advance group of Saudi Arabians went in and talked to the airport manager and told him they did not want any females on the ramp and also said there should not be any females talking to the airplane.” The airport complied but, the executive went on, but “I had never had a request like this and thought it was odd.”3 The Saudis’ demand for male -only air-traffic controllers was then passed along to the next three FAA stations controlling the crown prince’s airplane, which also complied. Adding insult to injury, when queried about this matter, both the Federal Aviation Administration and the State Department joined the Saudi foreign minister in flat-out denying that the Saudis ever asked for exclusively male controllers. It would seem that their covering up for the Saudis has higher priority than telling the truth.
It bears noting that the Executive Branch’s weak policy vis-à-vis women’s rights in these and other issues arguably has an impact on private institutions as well. These tend to take their cue from the government and also discriminate against women: U.S. businessmen . and diplomats in the Saudi capital, reports USA Today, say the biggest U.S. companies in Saudi Arabia—ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and Boeing—do not employ any women. Several other U.S. companies, including Citibank, Saks Fifth Avenue, Philip Morris and Procter & Gamble, have women on their payroll, but they work in offices segregated from men, as is the [Saudi] custom. The Saudis do not disclose employment practices of the more than 100 U.S. companies operating in Saudi Arabia, but American businessmen say that to their knowledge, all the companies follow Saudi mores so they don’t jeopardize their investments.
One Western diplomat in Riyadh complains that American businessmen use empty excuses, such as there being no place for the women to sit or go to the toilet, and concludes that “It’s just like it was in South Africa.”4 For change to ensue, the U.S. government will likely have to lead the way. Christians: In Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government submits to restrictions on Christian practices that it would find totally unacceptable anywhere else in the world. Perhaps the most dramatic single episode took place in November 1990, when the then-President George Bush went to the Persian Gulf region with his wife and top congressional leaders at Thanksgiving time to visit the 400,000 troops gathering in Saudi Arabia to protect that country against Iraq. But because the president intended to say grace before beginning the festive Thanksgiving dinner, Saudi authorities nixed his eating this meal on their territory. As a result, the presidential party had to celebrate the holiday on the U.S.S. Durham, an amphibious cargo ship sitting in international waters.
A few weeks later, American troops were not permitted to hold formal Christmas services at their bases located on Saudi soil; all allowed to them were “C-word morale services” held in places where they would be invisible to the outside world, such as tents and mess halls; the key assumption was that no Saudi was to be made to suffer the knowledge that Christians were at prayer.
But at least the soldiers in 1990-91 could hold services, a privilege not normally accorded Americans living in Saudi Arabia on official business. Timothy Hunter, a State Department employee based in Saudi Arabia during 1992-95, was assigned the job of “monitoring and coordinating the ‘Tuesday Lecture’ at the Jeddah consulate general—really the Catholic catacomb.” (Services in Jeddah, he explains, took place on Tuesday, not Sunday, due to the paucity of clergy and their need to be in other locations on Sundays.) In an article in the Middle East Quarterly, Hunter details the methods he was told to use to discourage Catholic worshippers and the even worse options faced by Protestants:
When Catholic Americans sought permission to worship, I was to receive their telephone inquiries and deflect them by pretending not to know about the “Tuesday Lecture.” Only if a person kept calling back and insisting that such a group existed was I to meet with him and get a sense of his trustworthiness. … In my time, we never actually admitted anyone. … My personal dealings were limited to Catholics. I later learned that others—Protestants, Mormons, and Jews—were denied any sanctuary on the consulate grounds. … Non-Catholic Americans were directed to the British Consulate, which both sponsored other religious services and admitted much larger numbers of Catholics. But the U.K. services were full, leaving most American worshippers only the option of holding services on Saudi territory, thereby exposing themselves to potentially violent attack from the Mutawa [the feared Saudi religious police].5
Jews: With Jews, the issue is not freedom of religious practice in Saudi Arabia, it is simply gaining entry to the kingdom. In many instances Quarterly, March 1996. over many years, agencies of the U.S. government have excluded Jewish Americans from positions in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. government has systematically acquiesced to Saudi demands and agreed not to send Jewish nationals to Saudi Arabia. Here again, we have the invaluable testimony of Timothy Hunter, who explains that the U.S. government refuses to send American citizens who are Jewish to work in Saudi Arabia as a resident. Yes, select senior U.S. diplomats who are Jewish are allowed briefly to visit the country on official business, “no low or mid-level Jewish American diplomat was permitted to be stationed/reside in KSA” during Hunter’s three years’ experience. He writes:
When (1993) I worked in the Washington, D.C. State Department administrative office of the “Near East and South Asia Bureau,” it was the duty of the foreign service director of personnel to screen all Foreign Service officers applying for service in KSA and to “tick” Jewish officers’ names using the letter “J” next to the names so that selection panels would not select Jewish diplomats for service in KSA.
I was instructed that there was a diplomatic protocol between the USA and KSA going back “many years” in which the two governments agreed that no Jewish American U.S. diplomats would be allowed to be stationed in KSA. The KSA government had expressed its opposition to the stationing of U.S. diplomats who were Jewish because it believed all Jewish people, irrespective of nationality, can be considered Israeli spies. I was told that the U.S. government had not disputed the KSA government’s assertion. I explained to the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General that the existence of such a protocol was an indication of illegal activity since no treaty provision may be executed without the concurrence of the U.S.
On occasion, the consequences of this governmental boycott of Jews has come to light. In the 1970s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers admitted excluding Jewish personnel from its projects in Saudi Arabia. More recently, to prepare its defense in a case brought against it by the Boeing Corporation, the U.S. government hired a Virginia -based contractor, CACI Inc-Commercial, to send a team to microfilm documents in Saudi Arabia over a period of several months. At a November 1991 meeting called by the Air Force, Col. Michael J. Hoover, the chief trial attorney for the Air Force Materiel Command, informed representatives of the Justice Department and CACI-Commercial that Jews or people with Jewish surnames could not go to Saudi Arabia as part of the microfilming team. On this basis, David Andrew (the senior CACI-Commercial employee involved in the microfilming project) drafted and Jane Hadden Alperson (Office of Litigation Support, Civil Division, Justice Department, the case manager involved in the microfilming project) edited an “operations plan” in which the “Screening/Selection Process” included the following text:
No Jews or Jewish surnamed personnel will be sent as part of the Document Acquisition Team because of the cultural differences between Mosle ms and Jews in the Region. … No Israeli stamped passport, as per Saudi rules. As the Justice Department and CACI-Commercial hired the team to go to Saudi Arabia, “At least one U.S. person was refused a place on the team based on religion or national orig in.” After hearing a complaint from the Anti-Defamation League, the Office of Antiboycott Compliance at the Department of Commerce conducted a probe lasting (the unusually long period of) one and a half years. The office reached a settlement on February 27, 1997, in which CACI Inc.–Commercial and the key individuals in each institution (Hoover, Alperson, Andrew) agreed to settle the allegations against. them and (according to news accounts) were assessed suspended fines. Hoover also received a letter of reprimand. For their part, the Air Force and the Department of Justice “agreed to institute measures to prevent a similar event from happening again.”7 To all this, the New York Daily News acerbically commented, “The Air Force and Justice apologized and promised to abide by the law. That’s comforting, since Justice is supposed to uphold the law.”8 As in the case of women, where the government leads, private organizations follow, although excluding Jews is in blatant contravention of U.S. law, which states “that U.S. companies cannot rely on a country’s customs or local preferences and stereotypes to justify discrimination against U.S. citizens.”9 Before 1959, the Arabian American Oil Co. (ARAMCO) had an exemption from New York State’s anti-discrimination law and was permitted to ask prospective employees if they were Jews, on the grounds that Saudi Arabia refused to admit Jews in the country. When this arrangement was challenged in 1959, the New York State Supreme Court derisively condemned this practic e (instructing ARAMCO at one point, “Go elsewhere to serve your Arab master — but not in New York State”) and instructed the State Commission against Discrimination to enforce the ruling against ARAMCO.10
In 1982, two cardiovascular anesthesiologists (Lawrence Abrams and Stewart Linde) brought charges of discrimination against their employer, the Baylor College of Medicine, for excluding them from an exchange program with the King Faisal Hospital in Saudi Arabia due to their being Jewish. The case went to court, and in 1986 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed with them, finding that “the college intentionally excluded Jews from its beneficial and educational rotation program at Faisal Hospital.” The court surmised that Baylor’s actions were motivated, at least in part, by its desire not to ‘rock the boat’ of its lucrative Saudi contributors.” Worse, it found, both Jewish doctors were informed by Baylor officials that there were problems securing visas for Jews, yet “Baylor never attempted to substantiate that ‘problem,’” leading the court to question “the veracity of those assertions.”11 Other issues: The abduction and retention of children against their will is the focus of today’s hearing, so I shall not belabor it here except to note, for the record, the case of Alia and Aisha al-Gheshayan, two girls born in the United States and abducted in 1986, at the ages of 7 and 3 respectively by their Saudi father, Khalid al-Gheshayan. In defiance of a U.S. court order, Gheshayan took them from their mother and sixteen years later, they still cannot leave Saudi Arabia. (Their mother, Pat Roush, has been allowed to visit with them for only a few minutes over all those years.) Alia has been married to her father’s cousin and Aisha is to be married shortly.12 One U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia (Roy Mabus) made sincere and praiseworthy efforts to help end this case of paternal abduction, but otherwise, the record of U.S. diplomats is a sorry one.
Timothy Hunter – a rare source of information from inside the U.S. establishment in Saudi Arabia and someone subjected to severe reprisals for his whistle -blowing activities 13 – has documented how the federal government appeases the Saudis by censoring mail:
U.S. officials meticulously cooperate with Saudi censorship of international mail. Mail to U.S. military and official government personnel enters the kingdom on U.S. military craft, and American officials in Saudi Arabia follow Saudi wishes by seizing and disposing of Christmas trees and decorations and other symbols of the holiday. They seize and destroy Christmas cards sent to (the mostly non-official) Americans who receive their mail through a Saudi postal box, and even tear from the envelope U.S. stamps portraying religious scenes. It hardly comes as a surprise, then, to hear from Ron Mayfield Jr., who worked in Saudi Arabia for eight years with the Army Corps of Engineers, ARAMCO, and Raytheon Corp, that while he was working at the last company, the mail censors confiscated a photo of his grandmother on her 95 th birthday, given that this contravenes the (episodic) Saudi prohibition on pictures of women. More broadly, Mayfield recounts his experiences: on my first tour of Saudi Arabia, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Americ ans were ordered to remove all decals and photos of the American flag. … With my last employer, providing defensive missiles to the Saudis, officers came through on an inspection and ordered removal of all family photos picturing wives and female children. … Birthday celebrations under Wahhabi Islam are forbidden. Customs went through a friend’s wallet, confiscating a photo of his wife in hot pants.14
According to Hunter, the Jeddah office of what was then called the U.S. Information Service, an agency charged with presenting the official American point of view and refuting hostile accounts, was “almost completely staffed by non-U.S. citizens from the Middle East, many of them not friendly to American values and policies.” He found that it “made no effort to counter the systematic, widespread falsehoods in the Saudi media about American society. In some instances, in fact, the USIS actually provided misinformation about U.S. society.” Further, the public library at USIS did not stock books critical of the kingdom or other topics the USIS staff considered “too sensitive” for Saudi society (such as family health issues).
The U.S. government’s weak policy can be seen in a range of other areas: it does not fight for U.S. scholars or media to get access to the kingdom; it does not challenge the Saudi refusal to allow American researchers to engage in archaeological excavations; and it provides inadequate assistance to those unfortunate Americans who get caught up in the Saudi legal system (for something as minor as a fender-bender). In contrast – and this is a rich subject in its own right – the State Department and other agencies bend over backwards when Saudi nationals living in the United States get in trouble with the law (common charges include various forms of rowdiness, sexual harassment, and keeping slaves). In more than a few cases, the accused Saudis are granted diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution, then whisked out of the country. Along similar lines, a planeload of bin Ladens was permitted to leave the United States right after September 11, 2001, and before law enforcement could question any of them. In conclusion, it bears noting that although the above examples are limited to individuals and do not directly touch on high policy, they have more than symbolic importance because they set a tone that has potentially large implications. McSally, the fighter pilot, explains that putting her in an abaya, requiring that she be escorted, and placed in the back seat has a real psychological effect on military life at U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, implying that women are inferior or even subservient to men.15 Is the U.S. government truly prepared to permit such a challenge to American ways by the Islamic mores of Saudi Arabia?
Large Scale Obsequiousness
I have until now concentrated on the small-bore and the personal, but the same obsequiousness holds no less on the grander scale of international politics. Some examples:
• The Saudi cutback on oil production and embargo in 1973-74 helped cause the worst economic decline since the Great Depression; it was met with appeasement and conciliation, without so much as a whisper of bolder action.
• The assault on September 11, 2001, is basically Saudi in ideology, personnel, organization, and funding – but the U.S. government has not signaled a reassessment of policy toward Riyadh, much less raised the idea of suing the Saudis for punitive damages.
• The Saudi authorities executed suspects accused of killing five Americans in Riyadh in 1995 before U.S. law enforcement officials could interrogate them, and they were also not forthcoming in investigating the murder a year later of American troops at the Khobar Towers. After 9/11, as one observer puts it, “The Saudis’ cooperation with our efforts to track down the financing of al Qaeda appears to be somewhere between minimal and zero.”16
• The spread of militant Islam: “Saudi money – official or not – is behind much of the Islamic -extremist rhetoric and action in the world today,” notes Rep. Ben Gilman (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House International Relations Committee.17 In particular, the authorities have been lax about the funding of militant Islamic institutions in the United States. Only in March 2002, for example, did federal agents finally get around to raiding sixteen innocuous-looking Saudi-funded institutions such as the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences of Leesburg, Virginia. This problem is widespread and not attended to, as a newspaper editorial from Canada suggests:
many terrorists and terror recruits get their first taste of death-to-the-West Islamic extremism from a Wahhabi imam or centre director in Virginia or London or, presumably, Hamilton or Markham [towns in Canada], whose paycheque is drawn in the Saudi kingdom. It may not be necessary to add Saudi Arabia to the Axis of Evil, or to invade it. But it will be necessary to engage the Saudi spread of extremism if the war on terrorism is to be won.18
• Arab-Israeli conflict: The Bush administration has pretended that the Abdullah plan for solving this conflict is a serious proposition, when it is not just patently ridiculous (demanding that Israel retreat to its 1967 borders) but also offensive (clearly envisioning the demographic overwhelming of Israel). Instead of playing unconvincing diplomatic games with Riyadh, the administration should emphasize that the hateful rhetoric and subsidies for suicide bombers must come to an immediate end.
• According to long-standing American practice, insults and threats emanating from Riyadh are absorbed. Here is a famous case, dating the 1970s, when Henry Kissinger attended a state dinner in his honor hosted by King Faysal.
The king told him that Jews and Communists were working now in parallel, now together, to undermine the civilized world as we knew it. Oblivious to my ancestry—or delicately putting me into a special category—Faisal insisted that an end be put once and for all to the dual conspiracy of Jews and Communists.
The Middle East outpost of that plot was the State of Israel, put there by Bolshevism for the principal purpose of dividing America from the Arabs. Kissinger did not confront Faysal but did his best to avoid the whole issue by responding with a question to the king about the palace artwork.19 More recently, Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz wrote a letter to President Bush in August 2001 stating that a time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don’t feel the pulse of the people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.20
This aggressive statement met not with reproach but with appeasement. This April found a leading Saudi figure warning that to survive, the kingdom would contemplate joining with America’s worst. enemies: if reason of state requires that “we move to the right of bin Laden, so be it; to the left of [Libya’s ruler Muammar] Qaddafi, so be it; or fly to Baghdad and embrace Saddam like a brother, so be it.”21 The statement appeared prominently in the U.S. press but had no visible policy repercussions.
• Contrarily, the usual U.S. concern with such matters as human rights and democracy wither when Saudi Arabia is involved. The kingdom’s signed commitments to protect the rights of its subjects are virtually ignored as are such questions as the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, the right to travel, women’s rights, and religious liberties.
Analysis and Recommendation
What lies behind this pattern of obsequiousness? Why does the U.S. government defer to the KSA in so many and unique ways? Or to put it more grandly, how come both sides seem to forget which of them is the great power and which the minor one?
“Oil” is likely to be the explanation, but it does not make sense. First, the U.S. government has never cringed before any other major oil supplier as it does to Saudi Arabia. Second, U.S.-Saudi ties have been premised since 1945, when a dying Franklin D. Roosevelt met an aging King Ibn Saud, on an enduring bargain in which Riyadh provides oil and gas to the United States and Washington provides security to Saudi Arabia. Because this deal has even more importance for Saudis than Americans – survival versus energy supplies – oil cannot explain why the U.S. side has consistently acted as a supplicant. Third, as shown by repeated polling over the years, Americans dislike and distrust Saudi Arabia and have no taste for such concessions. A survey conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates last month found that many more Americans have a more negative opinion (49%) of Saudi Arabia than a positive one (32%); further, the country’s standing has gone substantially down since 9/11 22 – not the usual basis for an indulgent foreign policy.
A hint of the real explanation lies in the preemptive quality of some of the U.S. government measures. The requirement that female military personnel wear the abaya was imposed by Americans, not Saudis; the latter did not even raise the subject. Saudi law only requires Westerners to dress conservatively, not to wear Saudi garb (and indeed, non-military women working for the U.S. government in Saudi Arabia are not expected to wear an abaya). Likewise, the investigation of the Air Force-Justice-CACI directive excluding Jews from Saudi Arabia found “no evidence that the restriction was specifically requested by, was required by, or was even known by the Government of Saudi Arabia.”23 The same behavior exists among private institutions. For example, it came out in the 1959 ARAMCO case that the oil company was not under any strictures from the Saudi government to exclude Jews from its payroll but did so as the result of what the court termed “informal statements of State Department underlings.”24 Similarly, the judgment regarding Baylor College of Medicine’s exclusion of Jews found that no evidence to support the college’s contention that Jewish doctors were unwelcome in Saudi Arabia “represented the actual position of the Saudi government.” Further, the court noted that Michael E. DeBakey, the school’s renowned chancellor, failed formally to obtain “an authoritative statement of the position of the Saudis” until 1983, or more than a year after the doctors had initially filed suit. It concluded that there was “no evidence that Baylor even attempted to ascertain the official position of the Saudi government on this issue.”25 In all four of these cases, one finds an over-eager American in a position of authority imposing regulations which he imagines the Saudis will approve of – without even checking with them. Why would such a pattern of behavior exist? What could prompt government or hospital officials to run out ahead of the Saudis themselves?
An answer can be found in a statement of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. He boasts of his success cultivating powerful Americans who deal with Saudi Arabia. “If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office,” Bandar once observed, “you’d be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office.”26 This effective admission of bribery goes far to explain why the usual laws, regulations, and rights do not apply when Saudi Arabia is involved. The heart of the problem is a very human one: Americans in positions of authority bend the rules and break with standard policy out of personal greed.
In this light, Timothy Hunter’s report on the three main U.S. government goals in Saudi Arabia begins to make sense: strengthen the Saudi regime, cater to the Saud royal family, and facilitate U.S. exports. All of these fit the rubric of enhancing one’s own appeal to the Saudis. So, too, does Hunter’s comment that “the U.S. mission is so preoccupied with extraneous duties—entertainment packages for high-level visitors, liquor sales, and handling baggage for VIP visitors” that it has scant time to devote to the proper concerns of an embassy. Likewise, his long list of high-profile ex-officials who visited Saudi Arabia during his sojourn (Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Colin Powell, Mack McLarty, Richard Murphy) and “who were feted and presented with medals and gifts at closed ceremonies with the Saudi monarch” also fits the pattern.27
Old Saudi hands accrue a great number of benefits:
Americans who have worked with the Saudis in official capacities often remain connected to them when they leave public office, from former president George H.W. Bush, who has given speeches for cash in Saudi Arabia since leaving office, to many previous ambassadors and military officers stationed in the kingdom. In some cases, these connections have been lucrative.
9 Walter Cutler, who served two tours as the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia, now runs Meridian International Center in Washington, an organization that promotes international understanding through education and exchanges. Saudi donors have been “very supportive” of the center, Cutler said. [Edward] Walker, the former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, is president of the Middle East Institute in Washington, which promotes understanding with the Arab world. Its board chairman is former senator Wyche Fowler, ambassador to Riyadh in the second Clinton administration. Saudi contributions covered $200,000 of the institute’s $1.5 million budget last year, Walker said.28
Hume Horan, who is also testifying today, is the great and noble exception to this pattern. Although himself a former U.S. ambassador to the kingdom, he recently stated that There have been some people who really do go on the Saudi payroll, and they work as advisers and consultants.
Prince Bandar is very good about massaging and promoting relationships like that. Money works wonders, and if you’ve got an awful lot of it, and a royal title —well, it’s amusing to see how some Americans liquefy in front of a foreign potentate, just because he’s called a prince.
The article that quotes Horan looks at the post-ambassadorial careers of Americans posted in Riyadh and finds that “The number of ex-U.S. ambassadors to Riyadh who now push a pro-Saudi line is startling.” It correctly concludes that “No other posting pays such rich dividends once one has left it, provided one is willing to become a public and private advocate of Saudi interests.”29 This rot in the Executive Branch renders it quite incapable of dealing with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the farsighted and disinterested manner that U.S. foreign policy requires. That leaves the responsibility with Congress to fix things. The massive pre-emptive bribing of American officials requires your urgent attention.
Without going into detail here, I suggest that steps be taken to insure that the Saudi revolving door syndrome documented here be made illegal. Only this way can U.S. citizens regain confidence in those of their officials who deal with one of the world’s more important states.
Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum.
1 Fox News, 1 March 2002.
2 CNN, 25 April 2
3 The Dallas Morning News, 27 April 2002
4 USA Today, 13 May 2002.
5 Timothy N. Hunter, “Appeasing the Saudis,” Middle East
6 Letter to the author, 9 June 2002
7 Office of Antiboycott Compliance, Department of Commerce,
“CACI /USAF/DOJ Hoover/Alperson/Andrew.”
8 New York Daily News, 10 March 1997.
9 Jordan W. Cowman , “U.S. companies doing business abroad must
follow U.S. and host country labor and employment laws,”
New Jersey Law Journal, 4 August 1997.
10 19 Misc. 2d 205; 190 N.Y.S.2d 218; 1959 N.Y. Misc..
11 805 F.2d 528; 1986 U.S. App.
12 WorldNetDaily, 7 February 2002.
13 Oh him, see Martin Edwin Andersen, “Whistle-blowers keep the
faith,” Insight 11 February 2002.
14 The Roanoke Times, 17 February 2002.
15 The Washington Post, 1 January 2002.
16 Michael Barone, U.S. News & World Report, 3 June 2002.
17 Associated Press, 22 May 2002.
18 Edmonton Journal, 31 May 2002.
19 Henry Kissinger, Years of Upheaval (Boston: Little, Brown,
1982), p. 661.
20 The Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2001
21 The New York Times, 25 April 2002.
22 “Saudi Arabia Image by Americans Very Negative; Advertising
and Media Blitz Failing.”
23 Office of Antiboycott Compliance, Department of Commerce,
“CACI /USAF/DOJ Hoover/Alperson/Andrew,”
24 19 Misc. 2d 205; 190 N.Y.S.2d 218; 1959 N.Y. Misc..
25 805 F.2d 528; 1986 U.S. App.
26 The Washington Post, 11 February 2002.
27 Hunter, “Appeasing the Saudis.”
28 The Washington Post, 11 February 2002.
29 Rod Dreher, “Their Men in Riyadh,” National Review, 17 June 2002.