Saudi Arabia's strategic relations with the West involve clear and direct common strategic interests in the Gulf and in the Near East. While they compete in terms of trade and oil prices, they share a common commitment to private enterprise and to maintaining a stable balance of world trade. Saudi Arabia often differs with given Western states in terms of specific strategic interests and tactics, but these differences are rarely significant enough to prevent close cooperation. Even the differences over the Arab-Israeli peace issue are largely ones of timing and tactics. Saudi Arabia must preserve friendly relations with Syria, and is vulnerable to attacks by Arab radicals and Iran. It has also differed with the US over the specific approach that should be taken to achieving an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, but it has consistently pushed for a peace settlement within the Arab world. This book, first published in 1987, analyses the interrelations between Western and Saudi strategic concerns and argues forcibly that pressure from the Israeli lobby within US domestic politics must not be allowed to interfere within the proper provisioning of the Saudi armed forces, especially the air force.
1. Overview 2. Western Strategic Interests in Saudi Arabia 3. Saudi Arabia and Western Power Projection Capabilities 4. Regional Threats and the Military Build-up in the Gulf 5. The Development of Saudi Forces 6. The Pivotal Role of the Saudi Air Force 7. The Saudi Arms Sale Crisis of 1985-1986 8. Key Issues Affecting Western and Saudi Relations 9. The Future of Western and Saudi Strategic Relations