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.
The Senate, of course, does have a role in foreign policy. But Levin is nit-picking, apparently bent upon creating antagonism where there is none. The Saudis have a problem--as any but a damn fool would realize--in these days of radical fanaticism. (I do not know whether Levin is merely stupid or also malicious.) It is the same problem that is found even in Moslem sectors of London. The greater number of Saudis actually involved in terrorist actions is misunderstood to be a reflection of the attitude of the Royal house, but it is far more likely a reflection of a larger wealthy group than most Moslem countries. Revolution is always the play-thing of the affluent--such as bin Laden. They may recruit others, but the plotters are usually those who have the time to plot, not those struggling to survive.
What Senator Levin is actually promoting is to give bin Laden his principal wish. Surely that is not the proper response at this moment in history. I wonder what can be done in Michigan to make sure the man does not get reelected?
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
Your comment is a thing of the moment. Over the years, the Saudis have striven for more stability in the oil market. Prices are for the moment abnormally cheap again. But when prices have been abnormally high on other occasions, it has often been a Saudi threat to open the flow, that has forced the rest of OPEC to be more responsible. I think that a fair longterm assessment would demonstrate that the Saudis are our friends, and should be treated as such.
Russia is not acting as our friend now, they are simply desperate for Dollars.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
Yes. Amazingly, he seems to have had at least a small attitude adjustment lately. Who knows, maybe he finally realized that his neck is in the noose right along with the rest of the royal family if the royal family is overthrown. Maybe we look like winners, and he wants to back the winning horse. Or maybe he is just biding his time, waiting to stab us in the back. Time will tell.
If 80% of the population approves of Bin Laden I say about 80% of the population of Saudi Arabia starting with the religious establishment police royals and upper class( except for the few genuinely pro American members) should be shot.
You could get your wish. Ultimately, the rabid anti-Americanism preached by the Wahabbi radicals has to stop. If it does not, eventual confrontation is inevitable.
Personally, I would rather clean up as much of the rest of the worldwide mess as we can first. We need time to rebuild weapon stockpiles (especially cruise missiles) and spare parts. We also need to make sure we have North Korea neutralized, and sufficient force in Taiwan to prevent a Chinese attack. Either place could explode almost without warning if we are perceived as too distracted by war elsewhere to respond.
I think that a fair longterm assessment would demonstrate that the Saudis are our friends, and should be treated as such.
Their record is mixed. That's the best one can say for them. Yes, they've (mostly) kept the oil flowing for us. But they cut it off entirely in 1973. And they helped prevent us from finding the Khobar Tower bombers. And their dangerous (and thoroughly anti-American) subsidizing of Wahhabism around the world is well-documented. Go to the MEMRI site and read what the official Saudi press puts out for domestic consumption; it's hardly the rhetoric of a friend. Given this, they deserve to be treated with a great deal of suspicion and caution.
Russia is not acting as our friend now, they are simply desperate for Dollars.
The same may be said for the medieval, tottering House of Sa'ud.
Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit.com wrote, "Boo hoo. As a reader comments, this is like the Austrian line that 'Austria was Hitler's first victim.'"
Also desparate for trade and survival, like any country would be. We have more in common with Russia than we have with the Saudies and many other countries in the world.
Putin stated it best when he said, they, the US, and England ( and I would add Yugoslavia) is the only thing that will save western christian culture from the fanatical onslaught that's being racheted up.
Where I live in Ohio (and perhaps surprising to most people) there is abundant gas and oil. The local drillers say that if prices are sustained long enough above 30-35 dollars per barrel drilling here will commence (again.) This is also the case, as far as I know for Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and other midwestern states. Now we add in Texas, the Gulf of Mexico and ANWAR and we just might find enough domestic production to sustain ourselves. Using up the Saudi oil first is, of course, a good conservation practice. Someday, however, it will be that the cost in dollars and political capital for Saudi oil is not worth it. When that someday will be is the question we should try to answer.
They charge us fairly for a barrel of oil, but we are slack to charge them for the piles of blood their culture of hatred left on the sidewalks below the WTC in the mid-morning of Eleven September.