As the U.S. military continues to bomb Afghanistan, U.S. officials announced last week that fifteen of the 19 men who hijacked the four airplanes involved in the September 11 terror attacks hailed from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden,who President Bush has named as the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks, is Saudi Arabian. The Saudi government has allowed Saudi-based Muslim charitable organizations to funnel money to Al Qaeda. Since Sept. 11,Riyadh has refused pleas from Washington to freeze Osama bin Laden’s assets and those of his associates. Riyadh has so far refused to cooperate fully with Washington’s investigations of hijacking suspects And Riyadh has barred Washington from using Saudi air bases to launch attacks against Afghanistan.
But Washington has hardly mentioned the country. Today, we’re going to spend the hour looking at the Saudi-U.S.relationship, past and present.
- Bob Vitalis, Director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is working on a bookcalled “America’s Kingdom.”
- Fareed Mohamedi, Chief Economist, Petroleum Finance Company.
- Gwenn Okruhlik, professor of Political Science at the University of Arkansas, who has done extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia.