The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is calling on the Reagan Administration to end the “appeasement” of Saudi Arabia that has been a hallmark of U.S. policy in recent years under Democratic and Republican Administrations alike.
According to Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s associate national director and head of its International Affairs Division, there has been for almost a decade the illusion that Saudi Arabia is a moderate, pro-Western, stable friend of the U.S., a reliable ally, and a partner in America’s Middle East peacemaking efforts.
Foxman made public a 40-page ADL Research Report documenting a long record of anti-American actions by the Saudis which have resulted in a 1159 percent increase in the price of world crude oil over 1973 (from $2.70 to $34), have sabotaged the Camp David peace process, and financed such anti-American, pro-Soviet elements in the Middle East as Syria, Iraq and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The report, titled “The U.S.-Saudi Relationship,” is to be presented at a session of ADL’s 69th annual National Commission meeting which began today and ends Monday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here.
U.S. POLICY CALLED “WISHFUL THINKING”
Foxman said it is “wishful thinking and a misreading of reality” for U.S. leaders to think Saudi Arabia can serve as “the linchpin of a strategic consensus” against Soviet penetration of the Persian-Gulf or “the key” to broadening Middle Eastern peace beyond Egypt and Israel.
“It is time for Washington to recognize that the Saudi regime is …dependent on the United States for its security and survival,” the ADL report said, this “underlying reality,” it went on, is “too often forgotten by U.S. policymakers in Washington who have fallen all over themselves to meet Saudi demands and to pass Saudi litmus tests” without requiring reciprocal treatment from the Saudis.
The record shows, the League report said, that “in moments of crisis, when the security and the survival of the Royal Family and its regime are clearly at stake, the Saudis inevitably turn to the United States.
“Between such crises, however, the Saudis try to pursue policies that serve anti-American purposes, weaken the West, play into the hands of the Soviets, and strengthen pro-Soviet, anti-American forces in the Arab world,” the report stressed.
The ADL report added: “Saudi policy is based on two considerations: fear and weakness. Fear and the knowledge of their own weakness prompts the Saudi princes to pay protection money — ‘baksheesh’ — to the pro-Soviet revolutionary forces in the Arab world. That is why Saudi Arabia finances the PLO, provides money for Syria to purchase Soviet weapons, makes common cause at Arab summit meetings with Iraq, and finances re-building of the Iraqi nuclear facility.”
“BILL OF PARTICULARS”
The ADL set forth the following ‘Bill of Particulars’ pointing out that Saudi Arabia: Has waged sustained economic warfare against the U.S., the Western industrialized nations and lesser developed countries for a decade or more; Has refused to support the Camp David peace process, despite this country’s repeated pleas to do so and despite the 1978 sale of sophisticated American F-15 military jets to the Saudis and the 1981 sale of F-15 enhancement equipment, 1,177 heat-seeking Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, seven KC-135 tanker planes, 22 ground-based radar stations, and five AWACS surveillance planes.
Also Saudi Arabia broke relations with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt after he signed the peace treaty with Israel; — Finances pro-Soviet enemies of the U.S. in the Arab world — Syria, Iraq and the PLO; Has flirted diplomatically with the Soviet Union; Has permitted Soviet overflights of its territory, and allows the transshipment of Soviet war supplies for revolutionary Iraq through its territory and ports; Is financing reconstruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor destroyed by the Israeli Air Force in the summer of 1981, and is financing the building of an Islamic atomic bomb by Pakistan.
It also has refused to permit the establishment of U.S. military bases on its soil for the defense of Saudi oil fields and the entire Persian Gulf; Put extreme pressure on Oman to withdraw permission for the U.S. to use Omani territory for military maneuvers related to the defense of the Persian Gulf (The Saudis and other Gulf states under Saudi influence offered the Sultanate of Oman $1.2 billion if Oman would cancel the agreement allowing the U.S. access to its territory and military facilities); Insists that Israel, not the Soviet Union, is the main threat to Saudi and Persian Gulf security; Objected to, and for a time blocked, American oil purchases to fill the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve; Denounced the U.S. effort to rescue the American hostages held by the Khomeini regime in Iran as “American military aggression” Repeatedly belied its claims to “moderation” by calling for jihad– holy war — against Israel and by disseminating blatant anti-Jewish propaganda.
The whole “conventional wisdom” of Saudi Arabia as a moderate, stable, pro-Western friend and ally of the U.S., the ADL report says, is propagandist mythology promulgated by an array of pro-Saudi friends and paid agents active on the American scene.
Among these, the report says, are lawyers, public relations experts, on array of State Department “Arabists,” former ambassadors who have served in Arab capitals, and major oil companies such as Exxon, Texaco, Mobil and Standard Oil of California, who are partners in the Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO). ARAMCO, ADL states, “has, in large measure, shaped the way Americans and their government perceive Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal Family.”
The ADL report was prepared by Jerome H. Bakst, director of the agency’s Research and Evaluation Department.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.