The Financial Times reported yesterday that disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US. One analyst said the total funds withdrawn by individual investors amount to $200 billion. Other bankers put the figure nearer to $100 billion.
The US-Saudi alliance was put under severe strain after September 11, when 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers were Saudi nationals.
The Financial Times said accusations that Saudi Arabia’s austere brand of Islam breeds terrorism and its charities finance Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network have been perceived in the kingdom as attacks on Saudi society and its religion.
An analyst from the Rand Corporation said at a Pentagon briefing this month that Saudi Arabia was the “kernel of evil”, exacerbating concerns among the country’s elite that they have become demonized in the US and their money is no longer safe there.
As part of the fight against terrorism, the US and Saudi authorities have been monitoring the accounts of dozens of Saudi companies and individuals, a move that alarmed Saudi merchants.
- Gregory Gause, Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Vermont and author of “Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States.”
- Allen Gerson, co-counsel representing family members of 9-11 suing Saudi nationals, and co-author of “The Price of Terror”. Gerson sued the government of Libya for the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.