The Eagle in the Desert: The Origins of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Security Partnership
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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The United States and Saudi Arabia share a robust and complex security partnership today. This thesis explores the origins and development of U.S.-Saudi security cooperation between the late 1920s and early 1960s. During this time, U.S. leadership began to incorporate ideological objectives into their once largely analytical foreign policy. Scholarly historical literature, first-hand accounts of U.S. officials and government documents reveal that what once began as a business relationship in the 1930s rapidly developed into a security partnership designed to defend against the threat of Soviet communism by the 1950s. Initially interested in Saudi Arabia because of its oil, the United States began to view the kingdom with increasing geostrategic importance during the early Cold War while Saudi Arabia simultaneously benefited from U.S. military assistance for protection against regional threats. This thesis provides historical evidence and analysis of how U.S.Saudi security cooperation helped the United States reach both its analytical and ideological goals in the past, which suggests that value exists in continuing this relationship today, despite the many challenges that it currently faces.
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