When did the al­liance start?

The Week (US) - - News 11 -

The re­la­tion­ship goes back to the late 1930s, just af­ter Ab­dul Aziz ibn Saud con­sol­i­dated squab­bling Arab tribes into a king­dom. U.S. en­ergy com­pa­nies had dis­cov­ered oil in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and they asked their gov­ern­ment to pro­mote their in­ter­ests with the new monarch. In 1945, Pres­i­dent Franklin Roo­sevelt met King Ab­dul Aziz aboard a U.S. ship in the Suez Canal, and the two got along fa­mously. FDR gave the ail­ing king one of his own wheel­chairs, which the king later called his “most pre­cious pos­ses­sion.” FDR suc­ceeded in en­sur­ing that the U.S., and not the Bri­tish, would con­trol Saudi oil. In re­turn, the U.S. would pro­vide se­cu­rity for the king­dom: Within a few years, a U.S. mil­i­tary base was set up near the oil fields. Over the decades, the oil-for-se­cu­rity ar­range­ment has be­come vi­tal to both coun­tries. Saudi Ara­bia is now the U.S. de­fense in­dus­try’s largest for­eign cus­tomer, buy­ing some $112 bil­lion worth of weapons dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion alone.

Fast friends: King Ab­dul Aziz and FDR in 1945

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