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Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies; Ultimatum Urged To Pentagon Board
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Terrorism; Foreign policy -- United States--US
Author: Ricks, Thomas E
Date: Aug 6, 2002
Start Page: A.01
Section: A SECTION

The report concludes by linking regime change in Iraq to altering Saudi behavior. This view, popular among some neoconservative thinkers, is that once a U.S. invasion has removed [Saddam Hussein] from power, a friendly successor regime would become a major exporter of oil to the West. That oil would diminish U.S. dependence on Saudi energy exports, and so -- in this view -- permit the U.S. government finally to confront the House of Saud for supporting terrorism.

At the end of the decade, the relationship became even closer when the U.S. military stationed a half-million troops on Saudi territory to repel Hussein's invasions of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Several thousand U.S. troops have remained on Saudi soil, mainly to run air operations in the region. Their presence has been cited by Osama bin Laden as a major reason for his attacks on the United States.

That view is far from dominant in the U.S. government, others said. "The drums are beginning to beat on Saudi Arabia," said Robert Oakley, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan who consults frequently with the U.S. military.

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