Saudi-American relations 1968-78 : a study in ambiguity
The decade 1968-78 saw three major developments in Middle East politics these were the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War in 1967, the British withdrawal from East of Suez in 1971 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 These events stimulated the United States increasingly to involve itself in regional politics in an attempt to maintain stability and continued access to oil As a major oil producer and the one with the largest proven reserves, Saudi Arabia sought to ensure its security by trading oil for American assistance. This thesis examines Saudi-United States relations from the Six-Day War to the Camp David Agreement of 1978 and the collapse of the Shah's regime in Iran and concludes that Saudi Interests were not obtained but rather those of the U.S. secured. The thesis looks in particular at Saudi security interests, American arms sales and the political tensions produced by the pervasive Arab-Israeli conflict. It draws extensively on official documentation in both Arabic and English, while recognising the highly personal nature of Saudi political reaction to the constraints and opportunities of the period under review. In the final analysis Saudi leaders paid a very high price for a very limited commitment to their own security while the U.S. was able to maintain and enhance its political commitment to the state of Israel.