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Saudi Arabia as Protector of the Islamic Faith - Research Paper Example

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The paper “Saudi Arabia as Protector of the Islamic Faith” discusses Saudi Arabia’s role as the guarantee of preservation a strong Islamic paradigm in the socio-political structure of Arab league countries and its political interaction with the US, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, and Oman…
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Saudi Arabia as Protector of the Islamic Faith
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Download file to see previous pages Saudi Arabia was established by Abdulaziz bin Saud in 1932.  This has formed the monarchical history of the country and the Islamic influence that defines its socio-political structure.  The presence of Islam’s principal mosques in Mecca and Medina stamps the importance of the religion in the country. It is crucial to highlight that the country possesses the world’s second greatest oil reserves and large amounts of natural gas reserves. This positions the country as a high economy and a powerful country in world politics. These factors, both in terms of geography and economy, define Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and its relationship with the rest of the world.
The US and Saudi Arabia have had a long relationship with each other spanning over 70 years. In 1932, the new Saudi kingdom was a very poor country. The discovery of vast resources of oil in 1938 instigated an unrelenting relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. In traditional circumstances, full-scale exploration and exploitation of oil is an expensive process that requires huge investments in capital. This explains why the US was a prospective partner in the relationship. In 1941, the Saudi government and the US formed Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company). This company would be in charge of the Saudi’s enormous oil resources.  Oil exploitation initiated an age of prosperity, flourishing architecture, improvement in the quality of life, and increased power in international politics. This also entailed the transformation of culture manifested in the emergence of elements such as newspaper and radio. The influx of foreigners, however, triggered xenophobia in the country. After the death of the senior Saud, Prince Faisal gained power and took control of 20% of Aramco, in 1972 (Mabon 98). This feat helped decrease US influence over Saudi oil.
In 1976, the kingdom became the world’s largest oil producer. King Khalid revived the age of economic and social transformation at a rapid rate thereby improving the infrastructural and educational standards of the country. In terms of foreign policy, the ties between the US and Saudi Arabia strengthened. In 1980, however, Saudi Arabia gained complete control of Aramco from the US. This feat terminated the major economic relationship between the two countries. Later, in 1990, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait marked a key point in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US as the country supported the US in her intervention against the Iraqis.
The Arab world contemporarily views this intimacy as pro-Western. This casts Saudi Arabia as less committed to the Arabian cause (Lippman 1). Saudi Arabia’s key involvement in the Persian Gulf War by allowing the strategic stationing of US’ forces ignited external and internal strife.  The hostile Islamist response spurred radicalism and further growth of Islamism in the country. Saudi Arabia’s intimate relationship with the US started becoming a concern to students of Sharia law and Ulema in the 1990’s. This was suspected to spur Islamist terrorist attacks in the US. In turn, tension grew between the two countries as most of September 11 attackers were Saudi nationals. Besides, suspicions arose out of the fact Saudi Arabia constrained the investigation on September 11’ attacks.  Saudi Arabia has maintained a stance on non-support to terrorist groups amidst fears, in the US, that the country creates a thriving group for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. Currently, the country is torn between following either a supposed Arab cause or maintaining a robust relationship with the US. In response, Saudi Arabia, in notable circumstances, has shown detachment from the US. For instance, it neither supported nor participated in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
US stance in the Arab Spring has elicited suspicion in the Saudi Arabian government. The US has shown public efforts at democratization of countries such as Egypt. In the Saudi Arabia monarchial regime, this is a worrying phenomenon as the wave may affect the monarchy’s tight hold on governance. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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