The Economist quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab on America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia:
The high point of the relationship came during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, says Bilal Saab of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank. Memories of two Arab oil embargoes at a time of flat domestic oil production, as well as shared hostility to the Soviet Union, drew the countries close. There followed a blip after 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers turned out to be Saudis. Al-Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia between 2003 and 2005 brought the countries closer together again. Though they may dent America’s idea of itself as a champion of liberty, government policy is that good relations are worth it. That may have been true in the Gipper’s day, but the argument is getting harder to make.