Capsule Review

Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11

In This Review

Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11
Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia Following 9/11
By Robert W. Jordan with Steve Fiffer
University of Nebraska, 2015, 256 pp. Purchase

Jordan served for two years as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia following 9/11, a period that covered the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. In this readable chronicle, he demonstrates good instincts and a fair measure of modesty. In his assessments of his superiors, U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell come out well; Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld do not. The Saudis offered consistent support to the U.S. effort to topple Saddam Hussein but parted company with Washington when the postinvasion power vacuum in Iraq allowed Iran to move in. He details Riyadh’s unhappiness with the failure of the Bush administration to take seriously Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah’s 2002 Arab-Israeli peace initiative. He also notes that when the United States abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the wake of protests against his rule in 2011, Saudi rulers understandably wondered whether the same thing might happen to them someday. Jordan details the strains in the U.S.-Saudi relationship but suggests the countries are doomed to a strategic partnership.

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