Volume 5, Issue 2.
The recent controversy over the sale of advanced weapons systems to Saudi Arabia and the decision of the Reagan Administration, albeit reservations, to support such a sale, has brought the desert kingdom back into sharp focus for American strategy and policy planners. While its medieval political and social structure grapples with modernization and... read morethe pressures of a vast accumulation of petrodollars, Saudi Arabia remains a critical element in American policy in the Middle East. In light of the ruthless invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union and the Muslim fratricide of the Iran-Iraq war, the stability and longevity of the Saud family and the kingdom they rule have become more important - and problematic. In the following essay, Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr., presents a penetrating analysis of some of the internal and external pressures on Saudi Arabia, its princes, and the Washington-Moscow-Riyadh axes of tension and influence.read less