Skip to comments.Senator Levin wants U.S. out of Saudi Arabia
Posted on 01/16/2002 6:00:32 AM PST by truthandlifeEdited on 07/12/2004 3:50:36 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the United States to close the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and shift its air operation to another base in the region, possibly Bahrain.
The situation at the Saudi base seems very unclear. We may need to move that base," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., at a breakfast meeting with reporters. "I have an unease about our presence in Saudi Arabia. I think we may be able to find a place where we are much more welcomed openly."
(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...
This morning the former CIA Director Woosley (who BTW quit the clinton administration when clinton didn't want CIA briefings), said that there are a lot of things the Saudi's do for us that do not make the news because of circumstances in their own country as they have some terrorists cells of their own just waiting to do something.
Now Levin is privey to this same information yet goes out and makes this statement. It is one thing for all of us to say it, but the man is a United States Senator. I am just flat out sick and tired of the grandstanding of the United States Senators!
Wrong. The Saudis, along with the rest of OPEC, have been desperately trying to get all oil producers to agree to production cuts to ratchet up prices. The reason oil is so cheap? Russia has ignored OPEC (and Saudi demands); they agreed to the cuts, and then failed to comply. Thank Russia -- Saudi Arabia could care less.
Furthermore, the United States did bail them out of a nasty situation, and they do feel at the very least, a strong debt to us. We've never wanted their territory, all our guys did was kick a creep who had attacked his brother Arabs back into his cage. We even showed restraint that may have contributed to 9/11 at the behest of the Saudis.
Woolsey is right, the Saudis are going to back us. It is out of a sense of obligation, due to the fact we came to their aid in 1990/1991 and possibly due to the fact that we held back from removing Saddam from power at their request. After this war, I have no idea how things will go, but they will back us 100%.
This is the real reason Levin wants to pull out of the air base. As I've said before, a low-ranking officer has no business shooting her mouth off publicly and interfering with our foreign policy.
The real problem is that it was a foolish mistake to assign a woman pilot to Saudi Arabia in the first place. Making her wear a burkha was demeaning, so the obvious solution was to avoid getting into such a situation. The clintonoid multiculturalists in the Pentagon were presumably responsible.
I have real doubts about Saudi Arabia as our faithful ally. They have produced and funded terrorism on a massive scale. But that's a whole different question. Lt. Col. Martha McSally is nothing but a distraction from the real issues.
I agree with Levin, there is a first time for everything yikes, the Saudis have taken advantage of us for long enough.
Since when did the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee assume the role of Commander-in-Chief and take control of both defense and foreign policy?
You're right. A pipefitter sitting on a bar stool is free to offer opinions like this, but for a U.S. Senator in Levin's position to go public with such comments is nothing less than irresponsible.
Grandstanding is the word.
To put this speach in proper context, it helps to start with the current situation in Saudi Arabia, so here's a short list:
1. The most popular man in Saudia Arabia is Osama bin Laden. Opinion polls are putting him in the 70% to 80% approval range.
2. The government of Saudia Arabia is nominally under the control of a very ill King. Actual control is with two feuding brothers. One brother is very likely our friend. The other, despite recent backtracking, is very likely our enemy.
3. Regardless of which brother ultimately wins out, the people of Saudi Arabia consider their government corrupt to the core. Bin Laden has been attempting to overthrow the government, and may even have come close in November.
4. Wealthy Saudis are the source of Bin Laden's money. The majority of the attackers on 9-11 were Saudis. The Wahabbi sect of Islam, the official religion of Saudi Arabia, is arguably the most extreme version of Islam.
5. If Saudi Arabia turned against us, we would have a problem protecting the people we had in-country at the time. We would also have a problem protecting the equipment based there. Any equipment we lose would be used against us in the future.
6. We would rather not have to fight more nations, all at once, than we have to. If we have to fight Saudi Arabia, we run the additional risk of unifying all Islam against us because Mecca is in their country. However, if we eventually have to fight them, why would we want to start with a lot of our people at risk, and an immense amount of very valuable equipment that they can easily capture?
CONCLUSION: The REAL significance of this article is the political signal Levin sent. He is the most powerful Democrat in this arena. He just sent the clear signal that if Bush wants to pull out of Saudi Arabia, the Democrats will support the move.
The WAY the message was sent is also very significant. He sent the signal in a high profile, public way. This puts him on record much more effectively than if he gave a promise behind closed doors. It also sends the message to two other groups that need to hear it: The Saudis (for obvious reasons); The Democrats (don't fight Bush on this).
Making it clear to the Saudis that Bush can pull out of Saudi Arabia without Democrat opposition strengthens Bush's hand enormously. When he talks turkey to the Saudis, they need know he is not bluffing. WE know he is not, but the message needs to be crystal clear to people who are used to a United States led by Billy boy. Just in case they think it is business as usual, this helps convince them otherwise.
Ultimately, this has strengthened Bush's hand. This means are LESS likely to have a problem with the Saudis, not more. You can bet that what he said was known and approved by the Bush administration in advance. Bravo for both of them.
BTW: If in the end we simply cannot avoid fighting Saudi Arabia, and we lose their oil for a time as a result, we will not suffer nearly as much as many people think. The world has enough surplus oil production capacity to make up the entire shortfall if Saudi production went to zero. The only way we have a crunch if the rest of the Islamic nations that produce oil also cut off the flow of oil at the same time. That would mean Bin Laden had succeeded in unifying all of Islam against us, and the world be in the midst of the worst war the world has ever seen.
I'm trying here. It's an uphill battle, but we're trying.
In fact, with a more equitable distribution of oil profits amongst mid-east populations, there will be natural pressures to force down prices. This is simply because the few rich arabs are too rich to be affected by the reduction in revenues due to lower production. Normal market forces of supply-demand are distorted by OPEC. It's a shame that this critical commodity of world economies is controlled by a cartel and the whims of a few sheiks and monarchs! Pulling out of SA may have some favorable impact on oil prices, after some brief turmoil that can be expected to displace the Saudi royals.