(JEWS and ARABS from WW2 to 1967 – continued)
In 1953, Saudi Arabia had a new king, Saud, the eldest son of the previous king, Ibn Saud. And Saudi Arabia had Egypt as a hostile neighbor. Nasser of Egypt was not only a secularist Muslim, he was a socialist and allied with the Soviet Union, from whom he was acquiring aid, and he was leading other Arabs in the Middle East on a platform of anti-Americanism.
Nasser looked upon the creation of Israel in 1948 as the culmination of colonialism. He was a pan-Arabist, wanting to unite the Arab world. With Saudi Arabia in mind he spoke against "reactionary forces." Nasser is said to have wanted Saudi oil under his control, claiming that it belonged to all Arabs.
Egypt was the most populous of the so-called Arab states and stronger militarily. The Saudis feared Nasser and concerned with their security they embraced their ties with the United States -- the Saudis selling oil to the United States and the U.S. continuing to provide the Saudis with military security. And the Saudis appreciated the U.S. as a force opposed to Communism. They saw atheistic Communism as a greater threat than Zionism.
Never under colonial domination, the Saudis were less concerned with their identity than were neighbors, such as Egypt, who had been colonized. The Saudis were able to do business and maintain cordial relations with the U.S. and other Western countries, but with continued dislike by some Islamists in the kingdom.
Saudi security involved an age-old feud with the Yemenis, to the south of Saudi territory. And the Saud family was determined to keep the Yemenis disunited and weak. The threat from Nasser was mitigated by Nasser's distraction with Israel, but officers in the Saudi army and air force who were sympathetic with Nasser plotted to replace Saud rule with a republic. They were discovered, and waves of arrests followed.
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.