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Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050215
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

According to Robert Baer, the center of the global economy is a "kingdom built on thievery, one that nurtures terrorism, destroys any possibility of a middle class based on property rights, and promotes slavery and prostitution." This kingdom also sits on one quarter of the world's oil reserves, thus ensuring that it receives the full support and protection of the U.S. government. Sleeping With the Devil details the hypocritical and corrupt relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the potentially calamitous economic consequences of maintaining this Faustian bargain.

As Baer makes clear, the U.S. has been aware of problems within the bitterly divided Al Sa'ud family for years, but has ignored the facts in order to keep lucrative business deals afloat. (The amount of money the royal family spends to influence powerful American politicians and lobbyists is staggering.) Particularly damning are his details regarding Saudi Arabia's support of militant Islamic groups, including al Qaeda. The ruling family funnels millions of dollars to such groups in order to dissuade them from overthrowing the monarchy--a protection scheme that is shaky at best, given the hatred most citizens feel for the ruling family. To prevent economic disaster that could come from either a local uprising or an interruption in the flow of oil due to terrorism, Baer raises the possibility of the U.S. seizing the Saudi oil fields and forcing a regime change on its own terms: "An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression," he warns.

Baer spent 21 years with the CIA, much of it in the Middle East, so he is an informed guide to this complex subject. His alarming book deserves to be read for raising many important and troubling questions. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

In his blustering second book, former CIA officer Baer (See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism) targets Saudi Arabia's corrupt leadership and cozy relationship with Washington. He argues that because the Saudis pay vast sums to powerful Americans, often in the form of lucrative defense contracts, those U.S. agencies that could help stop terrorism are thwarted by their own side. For example, CIA superiors tell Baer that they have no operating directive to look into Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia in the early '90s. He is deeply disappointed in both the CIA and the State Department, which he says looked the other way throughout the '90s as widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo took root in Saudi Arabia. While Baer's attacks on Washington's "consent of silence" sometimes beg for clarification, his many working years in the Middle East and Central Asia give him great believability, and he makes a strong case that Saudi Arabia-with skyrocketing birth rates, growing unemployment, a falling per capita income and a corrupt ruling family draining the public coffers-is a powder keg waiting to explode. To prevent being overthrown, Saudi rulers channel money to violent fundamentalists, including al Qaida, via Islamic charities. Baer's radical solution is guaranteed to stir debate and make many skittish: "An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

ROBERT BAER is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States; and See No Evil, which recounts Baer's years as a top CIA operative. See No Evil was the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer writes regularly for Time.com and has contributed to Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East.

Customer Reviews

One can only hope that books like this will have a stronger influence on policymakers as time goes by.
Timothy Ritter
Baer's most brutal points should make every American shudder: it is America itself that is subsidizing terrorism, as well as the corruption of the Saudi royal family.
Robert David STEELE Vivas
This is a must read book if you are even remotely interested in understanding how the system works in Saudi in particular or in Middle East or in USA.
Nuds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

202 of 216 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Edit of 22 Dec to add links. Book is available in paperback.

Former spy Robert Baer, author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, makes the leap from intelligence reformist to national mentor with his new book, "SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude." Indeed, his last sentence has the White House laying in the moonlight with its legs spread, lustfully eyeing the Saudi wallet on the bureau.

This is an extraordinary compelling work, not least because it provides detailed and documented discovery not previously available, of how the U.S. government has over the course of several administrations made a deliberate decision to a) not spy on the Arab countries, b) not collect and read open sources in Arabic, c) not attempt to understand the sub-state actors such as the Muslim brotherhood, despite a long history in which these groups commit suicide to achieve their objectives, including the murder of several heads of state.

Baer's most brutal points should make every American shudder: it is America itself that is subsidizing terrorism, as well as the corruption of the Saudi royal family. Baer's documented estimate is that $1 dollar from every barrel of petroleum is spent on Saudi royal family sexual misbehavior, and $1.50 of every barrel of petroleum bought by America ultimately ends up funding extremist schools, foundations, and terrorist groups.

Baer has "gone back in time" to document how all of this terrorism began in the 1970's, but despite its terrible local consequences (including the assassination of heads of state), was ignored by Washington as "a local problem.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Given his stature as a former CIA operative working extensively within the Middle East, author Robert Baer uses his unique blend of personal insight and extensive research to illustrate just how dangerous a road we Americans have embarked on by hitching our wagon to the star hovering over the House of Saud. From the opening nightmare scenario of a fragile and exposed oil delivery network that is dangerously vulnerable to terrorist attack to the final considerations of just how intertwined and interminably convoluted the geo-politics among the American government, the international oil concerns, the Saudi royal family, and the radical Islamic fundamentalists such as the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be, this is a book that all of us can profit by reading.
What is most rotten within the welter of factors is the Saudi royal family itself, so large, so cumbersome, and so bedeviled by greed and corruption that it is crumbling from within. The fact of this wracking corruption and approaching demise of the House of Saud may well be catastrophic, according to Baer, yet people within the American government are so compromised by the overwhelming flood of money via bribes, payoff, and subsidies that no one dare speak an angry or critical word against the Saudis, even as the royal family provides hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorist front organizations and as it actively supports and promotes the radical anti-western Wahabbi sect within the Kingdom itself. It is a kingdom built on what is proving to be a literal time bomb built of contradictory impulses and interests.
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62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By the wizard of uz on January 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Welcome to the Magic Kingdom: Saudi Arabia.
Former Middle East CIA operative Robert Baer, author of the critically acclaimed memoir 'See No Evil' follows up that work with a brilliant expose at the world's best funded breeding ground for terrorists, our allies (?) The Saudis.
" We had hardwired in our brains that the stereotype of young , oil-rich brats screaming at their Filipino servants to take the wrappers off their candy . . .Sept 11 undid that stereotype for me "
By 'we' he means CIA and other official Mid-East think tanks. If they were so far off, what did the average American know? The Saudis were our buddies, they had never gone to war against Israel and they probably celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks. . .
An image that Baer contends was sold to the American people, because half of Washington was bribed and the other had their heads buried in the sand.
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A few items:
1. Osama, as we all know is a Suadi. In fact, to many opposing the royal family (about every Saudi that's not a millionare) he's a national hero. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijakers were Saudi nationals. Ditto for aprox 75% of the al Qaeda prisoners subsequently held at Guantanamo "the worst of the worst."
2. Back in 1996 when Sudan had Osama in custody, The Saudi government declined the offer to have him extradited back home. Reason? He was too popular, let him go. .
3. Saudi citizens blew up the National Guard facility in '95 and the Khobar barracks in '96. Two Saudis and one Egyptian hijacked a plane to Baghdad in 2000.
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