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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Reading!, November 11, 2003
This review is from: Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude (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.
Given the fact that Saudi oil provides the lynchpin of world wide petroleum prices, instability within the regime is extremely threatening to economic stability of world markets, and the fall of the House of Saud could well be catastrophic for the west, which depends on relatively cheap and easily available oil for its economy and its very basis of life. Yet the Saudi regime tolerates thievery, ignores prostitution, and both directly and indirectly promotes both radical Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism. For Baer, it is no accident that the bulk of the hijackers involved in the 911 tragedy were dissident Saudis. Nor is it an accident that both the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Quaida are so well financed, since the royal family has been sponsoring their activities for more than a decade.
Given this, the stage is set, argues the author, for a potentially catastrophic event, one that might require American military intervention and result in the triggering of an economic meltdown the likes of which have not been seen since the great Depression. Amazingly, though, the American government continues to maintain the idea that the situation is stable, that the Saudis are our friends and allies, and that the Kingdom is moving down the road toward a more egalitarian form of self-government. Unless we adopt a more enlightened policy and work toward the end of protecting American interests for the long term, we are likely to find ourselves on the wrong end of a losing proposition. This is an important and quite informative book, and one I highly recommend. Enjoy!
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Initial post: Apr 11, 2011 5:05:49 PM PDT
nhgranite says:
how do you like Temple NH? (I used to own land there about a mile from Temple Ctr just below Howard Hill Rd. on Coburn.) Happy reading! And thanks for the review, I bought his first book and was wondering about his second and the ongoing search for energy without giving up our judeo-christian morals (what is left of them...).
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