- Paperback: 238 pages
- Publisher: Three Rivers Press; unknown edition (May 25, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781400052684
- ISBN-13: 978-1400052684
- ASIN: 1400052688
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 183 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude Paperback – May 25, 2004
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"A chilling evaluation of today's geopolitical situation...highly recommended."
--Dallas Morning News
"An unsettling, eye-opening account of our relationship with Saudi Arabia... [Baer] gets our attention." --Boston Herald
“Details how an administration known for its vigilance on the international scene routinely and inexplicably spins, caves, and hops for the Saudis.” -- The Washington Post
"[Baer] 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." --Publishers Weekly
From the Inside Flap
"Saudi Arabia is more and more an irrational state--a place that spawns global terrorism even as it succumbs to an ancient and deeply seated isolationism, a kingdom led by a royal family that can't get out of the way of its own greed. Is this the fulcrum we want the global economy to balance on?"
In his explosive New York Times bestseller, See No Evil, former CIA operative Robert Baer exposed how Washington politics drastically compromised the CIA's efforts to fight global terrorism. Now in his powerful new book, Sleeping with the Devil, Baer turns his attention to Saudi Arabia, revealing how our government's cynical relationship with our Middle Eastern ally and America's dependence on Saudi oil make us increasingly vulnerable to economic disaster and put us at risk for further acts of terrorism.
For decades, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been locked in a "harmony of interests." America counted on the Saudis for cheap oil, political stability in the Middle East, and lucrative business relationships for the United States, while providing a voracious market for the kingdom's vast oil reserves. With money and oil flowing freely between Washington and Riyadh, the United States has felt secure in its relationship with the Saudis and the ruling Al Sa'ud family. But the rot at the core of our "friendship" with the Saudis was dramatically revealed when it became apparent that fifteen of the nineteen September 11 hijackers proved to be Saudi citizens.
In Sleeping with the Devil, Baer documents with chilling clarity how our addiction to cheap oil and Saudi petrodollars caused us to turn a blind eye to the Al Sa'ud's culture of bribery, its abysmal human rights record, andits financial support of fundamentalist Islamic groups that have been directly linked to international acts of terror, including those against the United States. Drawing on his experience as a field operative who was on the ground in the Middle East for much of his twenty years with the agency, as well as the large network of sources he has cultivated in the region and in the U.S. intelligence community, Baer vividly portrays our decades-old relationship with the increasingly dysfunctional and corrupt Al Sa'ud family, the fierce anti-Western sentiment that is sweeping the kingdom, and the desperate link between the two. In hopes of saving its own neck, the royal family has been shoveling money as fast as it can to mosque schools that preach hatred of America and to militant fundamentalist groups--an end game just waiting to play out.
Baer not only reveals the outrageous excesses of a Saudi royal family completely out of touch with the people of its kingdom, he also takes readers on a highly personal search for the deeper roots of modern terrorism, a journey that returns time again and again to Saudi Arabia: to the Wahhabis, the powerful Islamic sect that rules the Saudi street; to the Taliban and al Qaeda, both of which Saudi Arabia helped to underwrite; and to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most active and effective terrorist groups in existence, which the Al Sa'ud have sheltered and funded. The money and arms that we send to Saudi Arabia are, in effect, being used to cut our own throat, Baer writes, but America might have only itself to blame. So long as we continue to encourage the highly volatile Saudi state to bank our oil under its sand--and so long as we continue to grabat the Al Sa'ud's money--we are laying the groundwork for a potential global economic catastrophe.
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Baer shows no insight into the tribalism in the region that dominates the policies and politics and behaviors of people in every country in the region and like others, he mistakes religious differences as the core driver when it is but an excuse. The United States was instrumental in the overthow of democratically elected governments in Iraq and Iran and Egypt and this is overlooked by Baer who looks only at current events and not the efforts by the British after World War I and II to force national boundaries that igored tribes and ethic factions entirely.
The ignorance shown by Baer in his book is quite overwhelming and I would be embarrassed to admit having been on the government payroll for decades and having learned no more than a reporter outside of the services. Baer is evidently unaware that the version of the Quaran that the Saudi Arabian government publishes and distributes by the millions each year targets the infidels in the United States. It was their Wahhabism that incited bin Laden. Also overlooked to a large degree is the extent to which men like GH Bush work directly for the bin Laden clan through the Carlye Group. GW Bush denied the FBI any opportunity to question any member of the bin Laden family after September 11 and saw to it that they left the country on a charted jet.
Baer is also politically naive and culturally ignorant and oblivious to the history of the past 100 years in the region in his beliefs that Saudi Arabia and the Middle East countries should outlaw righteous murder. The United States is actively dropping bombs on civilians in 6 countries at this time and providing Saudi Arabia with bombs and fuel to drop bombs on civilians on a 7th country. The US bombed and shelled hospitals and schools and water treatment and power plants in Iraq and killed more than 1 million men, women, and children, while leaving behind tons of fine radioactive dust to damage future generations for many many years.
Baer writes about the Muslim Brotherhood as though it develop spontaneously and he ignores the Mubarak kleptocracy and brutality and suppression of the press that created the perfect environment for this group to flourish.
Let's get something straight; unlike most of his contemporaries Robert Baer makes no socio-political argument within his text. The truth, as he sees it, is his only cause. Regardless of your political persuasion and the vagaries of your opinions on the social contract of the individual vis-a-vis the state "Sleeping with the Devil" will make you take a second look at the party you favored with your vote. In fact, Baer refers to the last half century of corruption within Washington to be "the greatest bi-partisan effort in the history of Washington politics". A period which began with a briefcase containing one million dollars accidentally "forgotten" by Khashoggi, a Saudi billionaire (who is still active in Washington today), in the Nixon White house and has continued unabated and in ever growing depth to the modern day.
The road to corruption is paved in black gold it seems. Baer leads us down this miasmic path and walks us through backroom deals of Washington's K Street lobbyists, intrigues in sub-Saharan Africa, the 4.6 billion dollar palace of the most corrupt Saudi Prince and pool-side meetings with Russian Mafiya arms-traffickers. How does it all come together? Baer's brutal truth should make every American reader shudder; it is our nation's political elite who have blindly subsidized the very terrorism of which we have recently become victims.
Through our alliance with the House of Saud (the Saudi Royal Family) we have seen billions of petrodollars go to regime who has returned that money to us via graft and commissions to buy all the influence it needs. The rest of the western money is largely spent in two fashions. The lion's share goes to funding their own decadent excess. A Baer gives us insight into a lifestyle of depravity which includes almost ten-thousand princes, twice again as many palaces, the thousands of Filipino and Moroccan women who serve at their pleasure, and a lifestyle in which there is open competition for the greatest amount of excess.
The Saud royal lifestyle has not gone unnoticed by the people of Saudi Arabia and it brings us to the far more disturbing second use of western oil-money. The Saudi's own people have suffered the most at their hands; they have no rights and referred to as property on their own passports. Religious fundamentalists have long decried the `heretical' lifestyles of their "rulers" and here lies the truth of things. The despotic Saudi regime is holding on by the most tenuous of grips. In attempt to placate the fundamentalists who want to drag them into the streets the Saudi's have spent countless billions funding their actions. After fourty-years of such protection payoffs the largest Arab nation has been transformed into a breeding ground for militant fundamentalism. The Saudi educational system has been entirely conscripted, all children save for those of royalty and their retainers are educated in madrasahs, schools of Islamic hate that enforce faith with brutality, ignorance, and censorship. 75% of all collegiate graduates earn degrees in Islamic Studies, which creates a working class who are unqualified to hold any job. This majority of educationally indoctrinated, poor, and religiously fanatical citizenry is the source for much of the destabilization of the Arab world and is a reality that is about to boil over. Is it any wonder than nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers were born and raised Saudi subjects? Worse, the Western world (and more recently China and Russia) were the ones, by proxy, responsible for its funding. This is the picture Robert Baer paints for us.
These accounts aren't after-the fact punditry and are only the tip of the iceberg, Baer was there. In fact, prior to publication the book was vetted by the CIA and significant sections were deleted due at their demand. Rather than leave gaping wholes in his arguments and making note of their removal in his epilogue Bear leaves the blacked out print in place, giving the reader a tantalizing contextual insight into just what `the company' wanted removed. The reality Robert Baer shows us is a disturbing one and like a modern Paul Revere, "Sleeping with the Devil" is his clarion call, here is the enemy and they're coming.