The official Saudi government focus is on Islamic extremists encouraged by foreign influences. The more serious threat to the Al Sa'ud, however, comes from Saudis of the middle generation-men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s-who enjoy the benefits of Saudi citizenship and who increasingly resent the family for its depletion of the country's wealth and unfair competition for influence and profit. These Saudis' views of the nation's special relationship with the United States is changing as memories of the Iraqi threat to the Saudi oil fields fade and the costs of the U.S. military deployment rise. While willing to maintain the status quo in support of U.S. policies and force presence, a growing number of royals and commoners in Saudi Arabia say they would prefer a decreased U.S. military presence and less reliance on foreign forces for their defense.
Strategic Forum no.125 (July 1997)