Should the U.S. and Saudi Arabia maintain an alliance?

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Even since the September 11 terrorist attacks, the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been under much scrutiny. Some Americans accuse the Saudis of being soft on terrorism to the point of promoting it, while some Saudis feel the U.S. does not respect their country's Muslim heritage and its role as guardian of Islam's holiest places. On the other hand, there are those on both sides who believe a successful partnership of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is vital for the interests of both countries. What do you think? Do the two countries benefit from an alliance, or are the interests of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia mutually exclusive?

Please limit your response to 80 words or less. The best entries reflecting the balance of opinions expressed will be published on throughout the week.

Some of your responses:

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the dark horses in America's war on terrorism. Both nations are promoting anti-American culture and a violent intolerant version of Islam. Yet our government calls them "Allies". The Saudis "help" fellow Islamic nations by building madrassahs and funding jihad. Pakistan now has close to 50,000 madrassahs graduating thousands of jihadis each year. Where did the money for this come from? The road to jihadi passes through the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Vinod Kumar
Atlanta, Ga.

The States have a selective view on who their allies are. Little do they realize that most countries are merely too scared to express the true opinions of the people. This is in many cases hatred and criticism regarding their foreign politics. Since the U.S. only cares about the oil in the region, why not just "liberate" the Saudi people in another ridiculous war and secure the oil fields?
Ben Brehmer
Bremerhaven, Germany

If Americans would like to continue driving their cars, flying in planes, and have a mobile army, I suggest that we stay allied with Saudi Arabia. It has everything to do with oil and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. If we didn't need oil, we wouldnt be there in the first place, regardless of how much the Saudis are esteemed by their Arab counterparts.
Amit Patel
Chicago, Ill.

If our government can claim to have gone to war in Iraq to depose a violent, intolerant, corrupt regime, why are we not at war with the Saudis? The Saudi government is at least as corrupt as Saddam Hussein's was, and its citizenry are far more anti-American than the average Iraqi. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia must change if the "War on Terror" is going to be more than just empty words to placate a frightened nation. No country produces more anti-Western rhetoric than Saudi Arabia itself.
Jeff Monks
Austin, Texas

The relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is based on interests for both countries. The U.S. needs oil and Saudi Arabia needs a good market for oil plus it is the country that has the most oil and can stabilize oil prices. So it is important for both countries to have good relationships with each other. The biggest reason for some Saudis to be influenced by terrorists is the Middle Eastern situation (Palestine, Israel). They think the U.S. supports Israeli actions against Arabs. Even extremists don't have anything against Americans; they are against American policies in the Middle East as all Arabs and Muslims, and that's the only thing that could ruin this important strategic alliance.
Khalid Al-Shammary
Hail, Saudi Arabia

The U.S. government and its citizens as a whole need to look much closer at Saudia Arabia and its ties to terrorism. Iraq was/is a scapegoat in the war on terror. Saudi Arabia and its citizenry's deep pockets are a much bigger threat to U.S. security than any other Middle East country.
Todd Fichter
San Antonio, Texas

Saudi Arabia has long advocated and indeed promoted the most extreme form of Islamic practices. And for the house of Saud to fein shock and disbelief that their own citizens were part of the Sept. 11 attack on this country is downright shameless on their part. Not only should we not maintain any alliance with this country but we should regard Saudi Arabia as a clear and present danger and should treat it as we would any other country we deem our enemy.
Stella Wilson
Houston, Texas

The alliance should not only be maintained but tightened. Saudi Arabia is a strategic pivotal point in the U.S. political maneuverings in the Middle East. It is not just an issue of the Saudis possessing unlimited oil reserves as some people have pointed out. It is also the fact that the Saudis hold court over a lot of Muslim-based nations who keep Saudi Arabia in their highest esteem — religiously, financially and as a mediator for the West.
Illyeanna La Torres
Seattle, Wash.

There is no option but for the United States to maintain the current diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it would serve our interest to strive to improve our ability to work with this nation which will inevitably be a factor in any workable solutions.
Michael P. Whelan
Las Vegas, Nev.

Yes. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will continue to be a key player in the Middle East (economically, socially and politically). USA will pay such a high price should they lose Saudi Arabia as an ally. Similarly with Saudi Arabia. However, both sides should review, and carefully, their 60 years of friendship and understand why it was fractured after Sept. 11. They could maintain another 60 years of strong alliance if both sides:
1. become more transparent with their plans
2. encourage tolerance in their homelands
3. don't interfere with domestic affairs.
Nabeel Al Mojil
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the most intolerant and corrupt regime in the world. If not for unlimited oil reserves, it would also be one of the most backwards. Their leadership is threatened by American values. Thus it is no surprize that Saudi Arabia is the Land of Bin Laden.
Joel Weller
Rehovot, Israel

The interests of the Saudis and the U.S. are mutually dependent and not mutually exclusive. The U.S. needs oil and the Saudis need U.S. military technology. However, post 9/11, Saudi bashing has become a common sport in the U.S. and thus the Saudis should reconsider their alliance with the U.S.
Tyler Johnson
Newark, N.J.

Last week's question: Should the "Ten Commandments judge" be punished?