United States & Saudi Arabia, A Brotherhood Made From Blood & Oil
After Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab made his pact with Muhammad bin Saud to form the first Saudi state called The Emirate of Diriyah in 1744, the essence of the first Saudi nation was to be made from two separate entities acting in accordance to one goal, to become the Islamic caliphate of the world. According to Madawi al-Rasheed’s novel “A History of Saudi Arabia” Muhmmad ibn Abd al-Wahab would declare to Ibn Saud, “ You are the settlement’s chief and wise man. I want you to grant me an oath that you will perform jihad against the unbelievers. In return you will be imam, leader of the Muslim community and I will be leader in religious matters.” Thus the beginning ethos of the Saudi state began. However the Emirate of Diriyah would become a victim of a more powerful empire, The Ottomans, conquering major areas such as Riyadh in 1811 under the orders of Mustafa IV, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Under Mustafa IV, the Ottoman’s made sure to treat the Saudi state leaders more considerate than those of the Wahab clan whom most were executed. Over the course of the next 75 years however, the Ottoman Empire began losing it’s influence in the region, as the Rashidi tribe began controlling parts of the Emirate of Diriyah and controlling certain locations such as Riyadh and Nejd. But in 1901, a young but empowered Saudi began to complete what the Ottoman’s and Rashidi’s couldn't…..a true Saudi state governed by the religious ideology of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahab, this young upstart was Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud, or commonly known as Ibn Saud in Western culture.
Ibn Saud was a charismatic leader and kept his men motivated and well armed. The Rashidi clan had advance rumors of Ibn Saud wishing to invade and conquer Riyadh and went to the Ottoman’s for support. On June 15th 1904, Ibn Saud’s forces suffered a major defeat at the hands of the combined Ottoman and Rashidi forces, but this victory was short lived. During the next two years, the clans led by Ibn Saud disrupted major supply lines of the Ottoman-Rashidi tribes and after guerrilla tactics and warfare, most of the armies led by the two dynasties suffered too many setbacks. The victory of Ibn Saud along with his Islamic soldiers from the Southern districts of Emirate of Diriyah saw to it that, Ibn Rashid died in battle, this abruptly ended the Ottoman presence in Najd and Qassim by the end of October 1906.
World War I began, and the British Government began a relationship with Ibn Saud, who began his reign as King of Nejd and Hejaz. The British entered into the Treaty of Darin in December 1915 (The Treaty made the lands of the Kingdom of Saud a British protectorate and attempted to define its boundaries). By 1932, The Emirate of Diriyah was now renamed, Saudi Arabia, it finalized the goals made by Ibn Saud….The first true Saudi State governed under the religious rule of Wahhabi Islam.
As the Saudi state began to get international recognition, Ibn Saud wished to get the attention of one major super-power, the United States. By 1933, the U.S sent a delegation to greet the Saudi ruler Ibn Saud. Standard Oil of California, which later would be renamed to Chevron, was permitted a concession to explore the Saudi Arabian lands for oil by Ibn Saud formal invitation to it’s Founder and chairman, John. D. Rockefeller. Standard Oil engineers would later find many untapped oil reserves in the Saudi’s Eastern district of Dhahran, which is a city located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. It would prove to be the largest untapped oil reserves in the world at the time. Ibn Saud granted substantial authority over Saudi oil fields to American oil companies in 1944, and was granted protection by the United States during World War II, which the Saudi’s saw incoming threats from the communist bloc of Italy.
Italy which was part of the “axis of power”, bombed a CASOC oil installation in Dhahran crippling Saudi Arabia’s oil production. This period saw the Saudi state and the United States as being distant in terms of political relations, but not totally ignored. However, as World War II progressed, the United States began to believe that Saudi oil was of strategic importance. In 1943, U.S President, Franklin D, Roosevelt, declared that “the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States” and thus began the initial stages of the unlikely partnership between two diametrically opposed nations.
After the death of King Ibn Saud, his eldest son, Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud took over as the King of Saudi Arabia, His first order of business, to solidify the relationship between Saudi Arabia, whose citizens began to suspect the United States as being a detriment towards the Kingdom and using its oil reserves to solidify its military might in the region. In 1956, during the Suez Canal crisis, Saud began to cooperate with the U.S. again after Eisenhower’s opposition of the Israeli, British, and French plan to seize the canal. Al Saud allowed the military base in the district of Dhahran to be use again by the U.S military. The tenuous relationship would see ups and down over the next few years, even under a new ruler, King Faisal. But After the Cold War the U.S.–Saudi relations were improving again.
The U.S. pursued a policy of building up and training the Saudi military as a counterweight to Shiite extremism and revolution following the revolution in Iran, all under the watchful eye of another nation which also saw the Saudi Kingdom as a worthy partner in the years to come, that country was Israel. The U.S-Saudi relationship however took another step….this time in 1990, immediately after the Iran-Iraq War, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein saw fit to invade Kuwait, which later had been suspect. A young Saudi named Osama Bin Laden went before the Kingdom’s leadership and pleaded to have him use his Mujahid’s, fresh off a victorious assault of the Soviets in Afghanistan, Instead King Fahd dismissed Bin Laden’s advancements and ensured the U.S military that they now can use its country as a staging point to not only protect its borders but as a military strategic point against Iraq.
Meanwhile the Saudi state, led by its oppressive religious rule of Wahhabi Islam began creating international sects of extremists by funding madrassas and funneling millions to the poorer regions in Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Afghanistan and even inside the United States over the decades. Wahhabi Islam would grow, exponentially between 1930–1990. Creating worldwide mayhem, all under the protection of the United States, as they looked the other way, which also made a “Frankenstein” monster which would slowly come back and haunt the United States on September 11th 2001. This partnership wouldn’t break, even after the deaths of 3,000 people on it’s own soil, as 16 of the 19 hijackers originated from the Saudi Kingdom itself, even after two Saudi nationals were found to have been provided founding which went to 3 of the 9/11 hijackers….which originated from a U.S-Saudi Ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. To the United States, oil is thicker than blood.