ADL Claims Oil Glut Gives U.S. New Mideast Opportunity

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, in a report released at its 70th annual meeting here, claimed that the world oil glut and the resultant reduction of Arab petrodollar income, precluding a second Arab oil embargo, provided the United States with the “opportunity for a new look” at its Middle East policy.

The report, titled “Oil, OPEC and Arab Power: U.S. Gains, U.S. Problems,” was presented at the meeting by Abraham Foxman, associate national director of the ADL. Noting that the U.S. is now in a far stronger economic and diplomatic position in relation to the Arab world than it was five years ago, he urged that a reappraisal of U.S. Mideast policy be initiated promptly and called for an end to “appeasement” of Saudi Arabia.

“Instead of catering to the Arabs as in the past, the U.S. can now pursue its own strategic interests in the Middle East based on a realistic assessment of which states are dependable friends and reliable allies, free of the confusion created in the past by oil and petrodollars, ” Foxman said.

UNDERSCORES ISRAEL’S ‘SOLIDITY’

According to Foxman, “Such an assessment would underscore what has long been evident, that democratic Israel has consistently proven the constancy of its friendship and the solidity of its alliance, while the Arab states overwhelmingly have demonstrated that they are unreliable at best and hostile at worst.”

The report listed Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen as “in the Soviet camp” and claimed that Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and Jordan “are too frightened of radical forces in the Arab world to be dependable allies and too weak to be reliable friends.”

According to the ADL report, the timing is right for a Middle East reevaluation because “barring unforeseen political upheavals”, the conditions and actions which caused the reversal in Arab oil and political influence are expected to persist for some time to come.

SAUDI ARABIA RAPPED

The report lashed out particularly against Saudi Arabia which the Administration has characterized as “moderate,” “pro-Western” and a “friend” and “ally” of the United States; According to the ADL, “The reality was that for years Saudi Arabia was, in effect, waging economic and diplomatic warfare against the U.S. and other Western industrialized countries and was politically undercutting American peacemaking efforts in the Middle East.”

The report claimed that Saudi Arabia “is still working against nearly all U.S. concerns in the area” and have “used their influence with Lebanon to try to undermine peacemaking efforts and did nothing to influence Syria to cooperate in U.S. mediation efforts.”

According to the report, American Administrations, both Republican and Democratic,”acquiesced to these unfriendly Saudi acts” because they feared “perceived Arab and Saudi oil power” and entertained the notion that “accommodation … was necessary to keep oil flowing and to attract Saudi oil money to the U.S.”

The fears were “unwarranted” the report stated because the U.S. is the safest and most secure repository for Arab petrodollars and the only country the Saudis can rely on if threatened. The report was prepared by Jerome Bakst, director of the research department of the ADL’s Civil Rights Division.

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