The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 15, 1997, Page 2, Image 2
Odd couple U.S., SaudiArabia strange bedfellows for a single reason: oil EDITOR’S NOTE — King Abdel Aziz brought sheep for slaughter. President Roosevelt brought his own Navy cruiser. From die start, at that 1945 meeting, Saudi Arabia and America were an odd couple. This is the first in a three part series looking at where the “special relationship” is headed. By Charles J. Hanley Associated Press PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Saudi Arabia — Whenever she goes to town, Donna Caswell first straps on her body armor. Then the U.S. Air Force sergeant drapes herself from head to toe in a black robe. ine ursi protects ner against America’s Saudi enemies, the second against the ire of its Saudi friends. “It’s, well, interesting,” Caswell says. A half-century after they first joined forces, the “special relation ship” between the United States and Saudi Arabia stands at the heart of global geopolitics—and at the top of any list of “interesting” alliances. One partner is dynamic and demo cratic, the other traditional and feu dal. Otoe is open, the other closed and repressive. One celebrates diversity, the other hides half its population in veiled anonymity. (In)Convenient marriage A single shared interest binds su perpower to desert kingdom: One needs to buy oil, the other needs to sell it. The marriage of convenience is proving, in some ways, an inconve nient one. Irritations and disagreements tiiouble the military partnership. Two terror bombs have brutally announced grassroots Saudi opposition to the Americans. And Saudi infidelity to one of its vows may eventually take some charm out of the relationship. About 20,000 U.S. servicemen and women are on duty in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, keeping an eye on Iraq, Iran and the industrial world’s oil supply. From this tent city on the desert’s edge, sane 80 Air Face warplanes, ready to defend the kingdom, fly pa trols over southern Iraq. Three hun dred miles away, the GulFs waters are crowded with up to 35 Navy warships. Scattered elsewhere, equipment is be ing “prepositioned” for thousands of Army soldiers to be flown in during a crisis. The U.S. military commitment strengthened as America’s depen dence on imported oil grew through the 1990s. Few contrary voices were heard in Washington. Analysts estimate me Persian uuit commitment costs U.S. taxpayers at least $40 billion a year. Danger in the city Local hostility to the American troops is inflaming the opposition to the Saudi monarchy. The “solution” is becoming part of the problem. In Riyadh, the capital, Saudi offi cials sound reassuring. “I don’t think there’s a strong re sentment of the Americans. They’re not a colonial force,” said royal ad viser Abdel-Aziz Al-Fayez. But he conceded, “Not everybody has the same feeling.” Since the bombings, which to gether killed 24 Americans in Novem ber 1995 and last June, the U.S. Pro file has been lowered. American forces have been consolidated in two loca tions — a high-security compound outside Riyadh and the Prince Sultan Air Base 80 miles south of the capi tal. The few who travel off-base follow strict security rules. And women, like u As long as there is oil in Saudi Arabia, the Americans will be there.” Alexander Bligh fonner Israeli government adviser postal specialist Caswell, must also don the full-length “abaya,” to avoid harassment by Muslim religious po lice enforcing “the veil” on women. Everyday dealings are tense in other ways, too. The Air Force must disguise chapels as “morale centers,” for example, because other religions are outlawed here. And a Saudi com mander recently declared the U.S. side of this base off-limits to his troops because 400 Air Force women work there. Larger handicaps also burden the U.S. mission: ■ The Saudis won’t allow U.S. Navy vessels to make port visits. ■ They rebuffed an American pro posal to stockpile military equipment on Saudi soil for a “crisis” brigade. ■ Since bankrolling the Gulf War, the Saudis have declined to contrib ute to U.S. operations like the huge deployment of American troops in Kuwait. Although little cash is forthcom ing for operations, Pentagon officials are quick to point out the Saudis are writing big checks for other things— $62 billion in U.S.-made armaments; between 1990 and 1995. Saudi Arabia’s role as the U.S. defense industry’s biggest foreign cus tomer is a special link in the special relationship. It also points up a short coming: Too many ultramodern war ships stay in port and too many mis siles in boxes because the Saudis are undermanned and undertrained. After the Gulf War, the Saudis said they woujji double their armed forces to 200,000 men by 1998. They would be a “pillar” of Gulf defense, die Pen tagon said. Islamic clergy, ashamed the nation had been rescued by non Muslims, petitioned the king for even more. International experts estimate Saudi strength at only 105,000 as of last year, when Saudi defense spend ing was actually reduced by 9 percent. “Saudi Arabia is pretending it is building a strong army,” concluded Said Aburish, London-based author of a study of the ruling House of Saud. Family HiUtmma He and other knowledgeable ob servers believe the Saud family faces a dilemma: The U.S. military presence is provocative to their people, but a powerful Saudi army might threaten family rule. And so the odd couple continues to dig in the desert. And what about when Saddam Hussein, the enemy, eventually falls from power in Iraq? Will the U.S. military leave? The Saudi ambassador in Wash ington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, says he sees no need for a “permanent structure.” But one Gulf specialist, former Israeli government adviser Alexander Bligh, sees a different out come. “As long as there is oil in Saudi Arabia,” he predicted, “the Americans will be there.” I Jill Stultz ’ 'ThantaEveitStaffl You* Rode!" 4* iw *: • Kristen Morrow Angela Smith Yueh-See Cho Beth Paustch • • Low Kahmun Jamie Grayson Karen Faulkner Renee Grace * • Jen Dunbar Nikki Botdorf Allison Johnson Amber Reinking • • Emily Gardels Heather Thompson Kendra Weidel Kelly McNally * • Jenny Vogt Sook-Yuen Chooi Jodi Nelson Travis Fischer* • Allan Zaft Lisa Zanders Cathy Phillips Melanie Prucha * l Brian Rowland Leah Boeckenhauer Shannon Rock Ryan Felton • • Jill Haith Jill Dworak Gina Sakaris Sheila Obrist • • Adam Bauman Dominic Pechota Mikki Guida Mandy Heyen * • Shannon Robson John Mai Laura Ahlstedt Danielle Smith* l Last meeting tonight at 7:45 p.m. We will discuss & evaluate thisi J • past semester & brainstorm ideas to improve UPC event staff. • • •••••••••••• • i --•-1 A Whole New Feel for Birkenstoek Birko-Flor™, textures so rich, you’ll think it’s leather. $67.95 suggested retail Whites turn backs on blacks at violence protest march PHILADELPHIA (AP) — White residents came out onto their front steps Monday and turned their backs on about 500 blacks who marched through the working-class neighbor hood in a protest against racial vio lence. Hundreds of police kept watch on the mostly white Grays Ferry section, where racial tensions have been run ning high since the beating of a black family by a mob of whites and the kill ing of a white teen-ager during a rob bery. Angry words flew between some of the marchers and the onlookers, but there was no violence, and there were no arrests. “They’re turning their backs on the reality that Philadelphia has to become a city of brotherly love,” said Rasheeda Ali, who marched through the narrow streets of the rowhouse neighborhood with a baby in her arms. ‘They’re turning their backs on brotherly love.” “Grays Ferry Residents Marching in Unity,” one banner proclaimed. Many marchers carried the red, green and black flag representing black na tionalism. Others held signs that read “Bring good to the hood.” The march and service were in re sponse to the Feb. 23 beating of Annette Williams, her son and nephew by a mob of white men out side a Roman Catholic church social hall. Eight men have been charged with ethnic intimidation. Questions? Comments? Ask for the appropriate section editor at 472-2588 ore-mail dnOunlinfo.unl.edu. Editor: Managing Editor: Associate News Editors: Night Editor Opinion Editor: APWire Editor: Copy Desk Chief: Sports Editor: A&E Editor Photo Director Web Editor Night News Editors: Art Director General Manager Advertising Manager Asst Advertising Manager Classified Ad Manager Publications Board Chairman: Professional Adviser Doug Kouma Paula Lavigne Joshua Gillin Chad Lorenz Anne Hjersman Anthony Nguyen John Fulwider Julie Sobczyk Trevor Parks Jeff Randall Scott Bruhn Michelle CoMins Bryce Glenn Leanne Sorensen Rebecca Stone Amy Taylor Aaron Steckelberg Dan Shattil AmyStruthers Cheryl Renner Trffiny Clifton Travis Brandt 436-7915 Don Walton 473-7301 FAX NUMBER: 472-1761 The Daily Nebraskan (USPS 144 080) is published by the UNL Publications Board, Nebraska Union 34,1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0448, Monday through Friday during the academic year; weekly during summer sessions. Readers are encouraged to submit story ideas and comments to the Daily Ne braskan by calling 472-2588. The public has access to the Publications Board. Subscription price is $55 for one year. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Daily Nebraskan, Nebraska Union 34,1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588-0448. Second-class postage paid at Lincoln, Neb. ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1997 DAILY NEBRASKAN rwmmm Cajun Wednesday April 16th 5-10p.m. • Alligator • Boiled Crawfish • Red Beans-n-RIce • Crawfish Stew over with erRofl Reno rejects call for independent counsel in fimding probe; GOP reacts angrily WASHINGTON (AP)—Attor ney General Janet Reno rejected Republican calls Monday for an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund-raising, telling Congress that career prosecutors can handle the probe. “I am unable to agree, based on the facts and the law, that an inde pendent counsel should be ap pointed to handle this investiga tion,” Reno wrote Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Reno wrote that a task force of Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents is pursuing the investi gation. Keno maae clear mat me Jus tice task force does not now have specific, credible evidence of a felony by any of two dozen top of ficials, including President Clinton, Vice President A1 Gore and Cabinet members. Republicans in Congress re acted angrily with Senate Majority Leader TYent Lott, R-Miss., calling Reno’s decision inexcusable. “There is a clear conflict of in terest when the attorney general ap pointed by the president is called upon to investigate possible illegal acts by the vice president or other high-ranking administration offi cials,” Lott said in a statement. Before Reno’s decision, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., suggested that she should be called before the House Judiciary Com mittee to explain her reasons “un der oath” if she refused to name an independent counsel. Gingrich continued the attack Monday. “As a historian, I do not see any possible way for the attor ney general to defend the decision not to have an independent coun sel,” he said at a York, Pa., fimd raiser.