Accession Number : ADA616103
Title : Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
Descriptive Note : Congressional rept.
Corporate Author : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Personal Author(s) : Blanchard, Christopher M
Report Date : 29 Apr 2015
Pagination or Media Count : 26
Abstract : The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Al Saud family since its founding in 1932, wields significant global political and economic influence through its administration of the birthplace of the Islamic faith and by virtue of its large oil reserves. Close U.S.-Saudi official relations have survived a series of challenges since the 1940s, and, in recent years, shared concerns over Sunni Islamist extremist terrorism and Iranian regional ambitions have provided a renewed logic for continued strategic cooperation. Political upheaval and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa appear to have strained bilateral ties, but their full effect has yet to be determined. Amid regional turmoil, Obama Administration officials have referred to the Saudi government as an important regional partner in recent years, and U.S. arms sales and related security cooperation programs have continued with congressional oversight. Since October 2010, Congress has been notified of proposed sales to Saudi Arabia of fighter aircraft, helicopters, missile defense systems, missiles, bombs, armored vehicles, and related equipment and services, with a potential value of more than $90 billion. In March and April 2015, the U.S.-trained Saudi military used U.S.-origin weaponry, U.S. logistical assistance, and shared intelligence to carry out strikes in Yemen. Some Members of Congress have expressed skepticism about Saudi leaders commitment to combating extremism and sharing U.S. policy priorities. However, U.S.-Saudi counterterrorism ties reportedly remain close, and Saudi forces have participated in coalition strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria since 2014.
Descriptors : *GOVERNMENT(FOREIGN) , *INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS , *SAUDI ARABIA , *UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT , ECONOMICS , INTERNATIONAL POLITICS , MIDDLE EAST , MILITARY FORCES(FOREIGN) , NORTH AFRICA , SECURITY , TERRORISM
Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE