American Middle East policy : increasing the threat to US Forces in Saudi Arabia?
Dowling, Kevin Scott
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The seeds of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were planted over a decade ago when Iraqi tanks rolled into Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The Iraqi invasion set into motion a series of events that intensified US-Saudi security commitments and led to the first ever large-scale deployment of American troops on Saudi soil. A decade after Desert Storm, over 3,500 US troops remain in the kingdom to enforce the southern No-Fly Zone. The September attacks emphasize that our continued military presence and political policies in the Middle East are objectionable to both regional regimes and the larger Muslim community. Deteriorating regional support for Iraqi sanctions and increased international desire for economic relations with Iran make AmericaÎ±s military presence appear hegemonic and self-serving. This thesis explores the unintended consequences, or Î²blowback,Î³ of US Middle East policy on American forces deployed to Saudi Arabia. It does this by examining how Islamist militantÎ±s ability to attack US military targets within Saudi Arabia increases under Saudi economic reform efforts and our policy of Dual Containment.