Operation Desert Storm a Catalyst for Islamist Opposition to Saudi Arabia Royal Family Term Paper

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Operation Desert Storm a catalyst for Islamist opposition to Saudia Arabia royal family

During the Gulf War (1990-91) Saudi Arabia played an important part in the defeat of Iraq and the liberation of Kuwait. Due to its important role as an international oil provider and due to its location, Saudi Arabia became an important ally of the coalition led by the United States in the war defending Kuwait after its invasion by Iraq. Allying with U.S., Europe and few Islamist countries cost Saudi Arabia a great deal in diplomatic and economic terms, and it also was blamed for fraternizing with the enemy, namely the U.S. Close relations with U.S. were the reason of an increasing opposition of Islamists, which believed that U.S. And the West were the main enemies of Muslim countries and Muslim values.

Showing support for the U.S.-led coalition during the Gulf War made Islamist fundamentalist and terrorists see the royal Saudi family as betraying Muslim values and so the royal family became the target of open criticism. If we are to take into consideration the fact that the roots of Al-Qaeda lead to Saudi Arabia, we can see why collaborating with U.S. during the Gulf War was a catalyst for Islamic opposition to the Saudi royal family.

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Operation Desert Storm was one of the names given to the Gulf War, the war fought between Iraq and Kuwait and its allies. The war started with the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein's army and it continued first through diplomatic sanctions of the international community against Iraq and then through military operations led by U.S. aimed at freeing Kuwait. The allied forces defending Kuwait were comprised of military support of 32 countries, but the main involvement came from U.S., Britain, France, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Term Paper on Operation Desert Storm a Catalyst for Islamist Opposition to Saudi Arabia Royal Family Assignment

During the fighting, Iraq launched missals against Saudi Arabia and Israel, proving that Saddam's position regarding Saudi Arabia was threatening and violent. Due to its position in the Middle East, the alliance of Saudi Arabia with U.S. was considered dangerous and inopportune by authoritarian regimes such as Iraq and by terrorist groups with a strong anti-western view.

As Saudi-Arabia is the country with the most important oil reserves, it naturally became a friend of the United States. Saudi Arabia also plays an important role in the region and among other Arab nations, which makes it a valuable ally for U.S..

The relations between Saudi Arabia and U.S. were official since 1933 and due to the two countries similar interest in the region they collaborated ever since not only in military terms, but also in economic terms. Saudi Arabia proved to be an important ally of U.S. during the Gulf War and Saudi Arabia allowed U.S. military troops to station on their territory.

But September 11 brought a change in Saudi-Arabian-U.S. relations, as it turned out that a great number of the suicide bombers were Saudi citizens and the now number one enemy of U.S. was also a Saudi, namely Osama Bin Laden. Following these events, U.S.-Saudi relations were put to a test, but diplomatic relations continued as Saudi Arabia offered its support in the fight against terrorism.

US withdrew its military troops stationed in Saudi Arabia in August 2003, "following the U.S.-led war in Iraq in March and April 2003," but this did not mean an end to diplomatic relations.

Terrorist attacks continued on Saudi territory, in many occasions targeting U.S. citizens. Due to these bombings, the cooperation between U.S. And Saudi Arabia become even closer, as they both targeted terrorist groups operating in Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia was the target of Terrorist attacks precisely due to its close collaboration with U.S. And the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the war against terrorism can be seen in the fact that Saudi Arabia was the host of the first Counter-Terrorism International Conference that took place in Riyadh in February, 2005.

US are seen by the underground, often terrorist movements residing in Saudi Arabia as the supporter of the royal family and of their authoritarian regime. Saudi Arabian royal family has close relations with the U.S. government and this is one of the reasons for which terrorist groups have terrified the ruling family. The Saudi authority has been contested in time, but a strong opposition occurred during and after the Gulf War, an opposition that the royal family did not manage to destroy as it has done in the past.

The Islamist opposition towards the Saudi royal family emerged strongly after the Gulf War, during the 90s. The Gulf War "exposed deep structural problems in Saudi society" as the opposition towards the ageing rulers grew stronger due to the questionable ability of septuagenarian leaders to rule the country. Moreover, the participation in the Gulf War led Saudi Arabia into an economic and social crisis that the opposition used to point out the inefficiency of the royal family.

The opposition to the Saudi royal family was based on social and economic issues, but it also used the position of Saudi Arabia towards regional conflicts to attack the royal family. As stated by the Islamist opposition to the royal family, the alliance with U.S. was not representative for the desire of the population of Saudi Arabia. In their view, the royal family was not a true representative of all the tribes and divisions in the Saudi society and the royal family was taking decisions based only on their own personal interest.

Agreeing to become the ally of U.S. And the coalition forces during the Gulf War was seen by extremist movements and Islamic opponents of the Saudi royal family as an act of betrayal of Islamic values. Perhaps if the terrorist cells that later terrorized the world were not belonging to Saudi Arabia and were not operating from its territory, Saudi involvement in the war wouldn't have been seen as an act of betrayal. But since this was not the case, the royal family was regarded as fraternizing with the enemy of these terrorist groups and so, the position against the royal family was strong and firm.

The Gulf War and U.S. involvement in it provoked terrorist groups in fighting to further keep U.S. out of their territory. U.S.' growing presence in the gulf area and the alliances it was building with Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states fueled the hatred of extremist groups against the interference of the West. That was the moment when U.S. became the enemy of the Muslim world, in the terms of extremist movements, and thus, any ally of U.S. was against Islamic values.

The fact that Saudi Arabia is the home of Islam's most sacred shrines and they accepted U.S. military troops on its territory was not regarded well by Islamic communities. "Al-Qaeda vociferously opposed the stationing of U.S. troops on what it considered the holiest of Islamic lands and waged an extended campaign of terrorism against the Saudi rulers, whom bin Laden deemed to be false Muslims."

The royal family was strongly criticized by bin Laden and his terrorist group and was threatened to be destroyed and replaced with a real Muslim regime, that would protect Muslim values. The Saudi royal family managed to capture bin Laden and they deported him in 1992 and later revoked his citizenship in 1994. The reason for which the royal family did not kill or arrest bin Laden was that he was enjoying a lot of support from the Saudi population and not only. So instead of fighting the supporters of bin Laden, they decided to let him leave the country and he flew to Sudan where he began organizing terrorist operations with the help of other wealthy Saudis.

In conclusion, the Gulf War was a catalyst for Islamic opposition to the Saudi royal family because of the help provided by the royal family… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Operation Desert Storm a Catalyst for Islamist Opposition to Saudi Arabia Royal Family."  Essaytown.com.  February 13, 2007.  Accessed August 11, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/operation-desert-storm-catalyst-islamist/135724.