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The King and Us

U.S.-Saudi Relations in the Wake of 9/11

Courtesy Reuters

As World War II was drawing to a close in February 1945, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud met aboard a U.S. battleship in the Suez Canal for the first time. For nearly six decades afterward, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoyed an unusually close relationship. U.S. companies, which had discovered black gold in the Saudi desert in the early 1930s, built the kingdom into the world's leading petroleum exporter and a major source of oil for the U.S. market. The Saudis, in turn, made their territory and military facilities available to U.S. forces in order to assure U.S. protection of the House of Saud.

That "special relationship" was buried in the ashes of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who participated in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi nationals, and the mastermind,

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