West Asia Monitor | Volume III; Issue XI

    Saudi King Ibn Saud in conversation with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945

    Saudi Arabia-USA: Recalibrating Ties

    By Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty

    The Saudi-US alliance was based on the strategic understanding that Saudi Arabia would be the USA’s and the world’s largest supplier of oil, the major energy source that fuelled the surging global economy in the post-World War 2 era. The USA promised to ensure the security of Saudi Arabia and its ruling family as a quid pro quo. This compact was made with Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud and whose large extended family, the House of Saud, continues to rule the land which is the cradle of Islam. Since then, Saudi Arabia has remained a staunch ally of the USA, their leaderships bonding closely via the oil industry, government contacts and defence contracts.

    As countries and societies, Saudi Arabia and the USA have very little in common. One is an ultra-conservative Islamic monarchy, controlled by a family oligarchy which applies the Sharia as its legal code and the other, the largest democracy, the largest economy, a liberal society and the most powerful country in the world. Yet, the 75 year old alliance between the USA and Saudi Arabia has been a unique and enduring one. Oil politics contributed to making these two countries strange bed fellows.

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