The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 15, 1997, Page 2, Image 2

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    Odd couple
U.S., SaudiArabia strange bedfellows for a single reason: oil
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
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
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
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
The few who travel off-base follow
strict security rules. And women, like
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
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
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
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
“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.
suggested retail
Whites turn backs on blacks
at violence protest march
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
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
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
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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
Cheryl Renner
Trffiny Clifton
Travis Brandt
Don Walton
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.
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Postmaster: Send address changes
to the Daily Nebraskan, Nebraska Union
34,1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588-0448.
Second-class postage paid at Lincoln,
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
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,
Reno wrote that a task force of
Justice Department prosecutors and
FBI agents is pursuing the investi
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