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“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's 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 the American government’s cynical relationship with its Middle Eastern ally and America’s dependence on Saudi oil make it increasingly vulnerable to economic disaster and put its citizens 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 falsehoods at the core of its “friendship” with the Saudis was dramatically revealed when it became apparent that fifteen of the nineteen September 11th hijackers proved to be Saudi citizens.
In Sleeping with the Devil, Baer explains that America's addiction to cheap oil and Saudi 'petrodollars' has caused American officials to turn a blind eye to the Al Sa’ud’s culture of bribery, its human rights record, and its 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 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 America's decades-old relationship with the Al Sa’ud family, the fierce anti-Western sentiment that is sweeping the kingdom, and the link between the two. In hopes of preservering its status among its own people, 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—a dire situation, Baer contends, that has yet to truly explode.
Baer not only reveals the excesses of a Saudi royal family 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 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 America sends to Saudi Arabia are, in effect, being used to cut its own throat, Baer writes, but America might have only itself to blame.
In a provocative conclusion, Baer argues that as long as America continues to encourage the highly volatile Saudi state to bank its oil under Saudi sand—and as long as it continues to grab at the Al Sa’ud’s money—it is laying the groundwork for a potential global economic catastrophe.