– Views are his own and don’t reflect INS News
Washington, Jan. 21 2002 (INS News) — Saudi Arabia officials are questioning America’s continued military presence in their country. It has been over ten years that the gulf war ended and many in Saudi Arabia want to see an end to the American presence in the birthplace of Islam. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell have both denied reports that Saudi leaders have requested a withdrawal of American soldiers.
Secretary of State Colin Powell went further, describing the U.S. military forces posted in the kingdom as a continuing symbol of American presence and not as a limited-term deterrent aimed at Iraq. However, our role in Saudi Arabia has clearly been linked to the unstable leader of Iraq. Saudi Arabia has had internal Islamic militants before the war in Kuwait and was able to deal with them effectively. Saddam Hussien’s threats and actions are the reasons for any Military presence of Americans to our main oil supply source.
The recent Washington Post story describing Saudi resentment of the U.S. presence clearly touched a raw nerve among some in the U.S. Congress. Some see our presence there as a potential base for future war with Iraq. Many of those calling for the military to expand the war on terrorism to Iraq see a more useful purpose for the thousands of American military personal stationed in Saudi Arabia. The army would be better off in Iraq ousting Saddam Hussien instead of protecting a corrupt, unpopular Saudi government.
Some members in the U.S. congress were saying that the Saudi’s need to co-operate more and they need us more than we need them. The Saudi government has been under pressure from Muslims throughout the world for allowing the American military there. This is one of Osama Bin Ladden’s biggest complaint referring to his home country’s leaders.
The United States sees its military presence in Saudi Arabia as a source of regional stability for the almost indefinite term – and that it hopes the Saudis agree. The Saudi leaders though want improved relations with its neighbours so it won’t have to keep the unpopular presence of the Americans.
This conflict will continue to emerge in the coming months. Iraq is also now more interested in improved relations with its neighbours. Saddam Hussien recently addressed an Arab summit declaring this his number one priority. The United States has wanted this base in the mid east for some time and it is not willing to give it up so quick.