After the death of King Fahd, one could have expected the US to pressurize for free and fair elections in Saudi Arabia in line with the rhetoric of Freedom & democracy voiced by the Bush administration with regards to the Middle East. Instead, the Bush administration, being a spectator, has silently approved Prince Abdullah as the new King and accepted the continuation of the Monarchy. It clearly exposes the real intentions of the policy makers in Washington and shows that the US is clearly not interested in empowering people. Washington knows it very well that if the opportunity falls in the hands of ordinary Muslims, it would not lead to a secular democratic setup but a genuine Islamic System. The US policies have always been driven by its corporate interests and its relation with Saudi Arabia throughout the History is a proof of it.
The total amount of the American arms sale to Saudi Arabia over the past half century approached 100 billion dollars with over a quarter of the contracts signed in 1990s. These figures include weapons, equipment, spare parts, services and construction. However, they are purchased by the Saudis but are used by the Americans. The initial entry of the American forces into the Kingdom occurred at the end of Second World War when US build air Base at Dehran near the Hasa Oil fields. All the while, the Saudis have tried to keep the American military presence at a low profile being aware that it was a provocation. However, similar arms sales to other Muslim countries was not without conditions and limitations. President Carter’s sale of Advanced F-15 fighter aircraft in 1978 was only on conditions that limited their range and offensive power due to the fears that it could damage the regional balance against Israel. Initially, President Reagan’s sale of military equipment was only for Saudis to guard the attacks against the oil installations. It included military aircraft, fueling tankers and Air-Air missiles. When Israel raised objections to the sale, the packages were scaled down and special restrictions placed on the use of the Aircraft.
The ultimate pact of dependencies came in the 80s when under US instructions; the Saudi signed the NPT effectively killing any nuclear ambitions. US arms trade with Saudi Arabia grew dramatically in the 90s with over 14.4 billion dollar contract signed; 6.1 billion preceded the first gulf war. American military presence also increased further. Before the Launch of the gulf war, Cheney declared that after the danger is over, our forces would go home but western forces remain in the Kingdom even without any formal agreement on their status instead they have established themselves under the pretext of due containment of Iran and Iraq particularly enforcement of No Fly zones. America had complete autonomy after launching large air raids from Prince Sultan Airbase on Baghdad without even providing prior notice to the Saudi government. Since then, they have treated the bases and the territory as their own. Subsequent packages of 10s of billions were designed to permit rapid deployment of US ground forces from Saudi Arabia in the event of any Middle East hostilities that threatened American interests. These large arms sale and the Gulf wars have also helped keep American defense contractors’ production lines open and have been quite significant in US balance of trade.
Nevertheless, the buying of huge arms has not changed the Kingdom’s dependence on US for its defense and security. During the 2003, start of the Gulf war, Saudi Arabia secretly helped the United States allowing operations from at east three airbases, permitting Special Forces to stage attacks from Saudi soil and providing access to cheap fuel. Publicly, Saudi officials and US have portrayed the American presence during the war as minimum and limited to prince sultan airbase. In reality, the air command center was in Saudi Arabia.
Like most of the Muslim rulers, Saudis never had the interest of Muslims in mind, when not serving the needs of the west; their next most important activity is to rob Arabia of its resources. The Al-Saud Clan has lived in extreme luxury, they own at least 12 Royal palaces ranging from the 2.5 Billion dollar Al-Yamima palace complex in Riyadh to a cottage four times the size of the White house in Spain. They own several jets in the office including one-priced 60 million dollars all with Gold Bathrooms and a fleet of Rolls Royce’s and Mercedes. In the meantime, the income of the average Saudi has fell from 14600 dollars per annum in 1982 to 6800 dollars and unemployment among those who already have left school hovers around 25%. The gap between the tiny ruling minority and the people is Huge. While one Saudi princess’ dress flies from Europe first class and pays 5000 dollars per cut, In Hufar Al Wateen, 50 Km from the Kuwaiti Border, 60,000 people are living in Huts with no electricity, sewerage and minimal food.
Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the world resources wise, now has foreign debts of 28 Billion dollars and domestic debt has increased to 170 Billion Dollars. Over the last thirty years, more than 3 trillion dollars have been generated mainly from oil yet only one trillion dollar has been reinvested into the country, the other two trillion dollars remain unaccounted for. Four thousand or so Saud Family princes get a basic allowance of around 1.5 million dollars per year. They supplement this with vast sums generated by sophisticated forms of theft which include (1) Sale of oil: King Fahd since 1967, has setup a system by which he and members of his family sold in the open market anywhere from 300,000 to 1 million barrels of oil a day at below market prices. Income from that oil was deposited in Swiss bank accounts. It is estimated that King Fahd’s personal annual income varied between 3 to 5 billion dollar year selling oil outside the commercial channels and Oil Company concessions. (2) Real Estate: the Government owns Land in Saudi Arabia and the King controls the government with no accountability to anyone. Since 1975, land has been given to princes and their families by the government only to be sold back to the government itself thus creating the easiest means by which to rob the government of its resources. (3) Contract Fixing: Commissions on commercial and defense contracts are the third method used by the House of Saud for Money. It is believed that every contract in Saudi Arabia has got some form of commission. Large contracts such as the Al-Yamama generated annual commissions in access of 2 Billion dollars paid to only five people.
Like a giant parasite, the US administration has also assisted in exhausting Saudi Arabia of its immense financial reserves totaling 121 billion dollars. All this in less than a decade and Saudis now have to resort to establish credit lines with the US government. This Huge strain has been placed on the Kingdom’s Banking system due to the fact that 9000 members of the Royal families use these funds as their personal bank accounts and most of these loans still remain uncollected. The national commercial Bank remains drained and one American official ironically called the unpaid loans “the biggest black hole in Saudi Economy ". The caretakers of the Ummah wasted the wealth of the Muslims to finance worldwide CIA operations. As the New York Times report says "Washington relies on Riyadh for a host of favors, from discreet cajoling of its Arab neighbor to covert financing of CIA operations conducted through CIA or the pentagon." Financing more than a Billion dollars to CIA for its numerous operations around the world. American Multinational corporations have also benefited from limitless spending of the Saudis. When America launched Saddam into Kuwait and destroyed infrastructure of both countries, it left the job of reconstructing and cleaning up in the hands of Multinationals. For example, AT&T rebuilt the telephone lines of Kuwait and is now monopolizing it. The Gulf war cost America nothing since the caretakers of the Haramain (Mecca and Medina) assumed most of the expense. The war cost Saudis 55 billion dollars.
With Abdullah assuming the Kingship last month, the tempo of reform to appease the west may accelerate but warm relations with the US would continue. This is the reality of the caretakers of the Muslims. While many Muslims around the world regard Saudi Arabia an Islamic state, the truth is quite opposite. The Saudi clan, in fact, sided with British forces and helped them in defeating the army of the Islamic state (Ottoman Caliphate) along with the other Arab tribes, which resulted in its destruction in 1924. Islam commands Muslims to regulate all of their affairs according to Islamic Shari’ah (Jurisprudence) manifested in the institution of the Caliphate. The current scenario provides a perfect opportunity. America is becoming weak everyday, which is clear from its situation in Iraq and Afghanistan; the voices in the Muslim world of being ruled only by Islam are growing louder every day. It is the right time to raise the voices and banners, demanding the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate, which would use our resources for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah. Only the Caliphate would serve as a platform unifying the Muslims around the world under a single leadership and solve our long-standing disputes and problems.