Saudi Arabia has always been considered one of America's most valuable allies in the Middle East. At the same time, as many as 12 of the 19 suspected hijackers are believed to have been citizens of the oil-rich kingdom. Osama bin Laden himself is a native Saudi and much of the money that finances his terrorist activities is believed to originate there.The United States has housed troops in Saudi Arabia for nearly a dozen years. But while the royal family has welcomed an American presence, there is a large faction of fundamentalists who want the Americans out. Columbia University's Gary Sick says the U.S. absolutely needs the Saudis, not only for their oil, but because they provide an entree' into the Arabic world.
Gary Sick: Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University;
Gregory Dowling: covers the Middle East for Business Monitor
has lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years
This program aired on September 27, 2001. The audio for this program is not available.