Saudi Arabia and the Reagan Doctrine

by Jonathan Marshall
published in MER155

President Reagan came to office with a bold commitment to roll back Soviet gains in the Third World without risking the trauma or cost of another Vietnam-style intervention. The “Reagan Doctrine,” as his policy came to be known, ironically took its cue from Soviet support in the 1970s for leftist insurgencies in Africa and Central America. But the beneficiaries of the Reagan Doctrine were anti-communist resistance and counterrevolutionary insurgencies in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua.

Outside of the Afghanistan effort, however, the policy has never enjoyed broad, bipartisan support. Financing, arming, training and directing such movements has consistently strained the resources of the CIA and the lobbying abilities of the administration. As a result, the White House put a premium on finding foreign allies on whom it could offload some of the responsibility for these operations. Aside from sharing the burden, such an arrangement would help the administration cloak its role from both a meddling Congress and a divided American public.

Those allies, in turn, sought not only to advance their own anti-communist agenda, but also to bolster their influence in Washington by doing its bidding in the Third World. Thus Argentina’s military junta organized and trained the fledgling Nicaraguan Contra movement until the Falklands War; South Africa has been the main backer of UNITA in opposition to the Marxist-oriented MPLA in Angola; and Pakistan has served as the major conduit of foreign supplies to the Afghan rebels.

In the Middle East, two regional adversaries also diverted resources to help Washington with the expectation of winning return favors. Thanks to its technical and military expertise and experience in covert operations, Israel has proven a particularly active agent of US policy in Central America, Africa and the Middle East, most notoriously in support of the Contras and the arms-for-hostage deals with Iran. [1]

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has also made a major commitment to covert support of Reagan administration foreign policy objectives. One goal clearly was to neutralize or at least limit the power of the Israel lobby in the United States. It opened up its bank accounts to Washington, sending petrodollars to the Third World to stoke the fires of anti-communist rebellion.

Arms and Influence

Such cooperation and generosity did not begin with Ronald Reagan’s election. In the early 1970s, Saudi Arabia played a financial role in helping to wean Egypt away from the Soviet Union and transform it into a staunch US ally. In 1977, the Saudis financed the airlift of Moroccan troops to Zaire to save the Mobutu regime from Katangan secessionist forces. In 1979, they donated tens of millions of dollars to the Yemen Arab Republic, which was engaged in fierce border clashes with its pro-Soviet neighbor to the south, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. (The Saudis have been sending arms and money to the North Yemeni government and/or opposition forces since 1962.) At Washington’s request, the Saudis also bankrolled Somalia in the late 1970s to the tune of $200 million, thus helping to move that former Soviet client into the Western camp and secure for the United States access to naval bases on the Indian Ocean. [2]

The “special relationship” between Riyadh and Washington really began to flourish after 1981, as the Saudis turned to the Reagan administration to safeguard their orders of advanced weapons from Congressional interdiction at the hands of the Israel lobby. The new secretary of defense, Caspar Weinberger, hailed from Bechtel, the construction giant with major interests in Saudi Arabia. After only two weeks in office, Weinberger announced that the administration wanted to do everything it could to strengthen Saudi defenses in the wake of the the shah’s fall in Iran. [3] On March 6, 1981, the administration announced plans to sell new arms to the Saudis to halt what it perceived to be a “serious deterioration” in Western security interests in the region. Israeli officials and a majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee quickly assailed the decision. [4]

On April 1, the National Security Council (NSC) decided to expand the administration’s initial arms package to include five AWACS surveillance planes, the most advanced of their kind in the world. The total Saudi purchase, including the AWACS, came to $8.5 billion. President Reagan vowed to push the sale through, declaring that Saudi Arabia must not be allowed to fall like Iran and that the United States would forfeit “all credibility” in the Middle East if Congress blocked the sale. Finally, after extraordinary arm-twisting by President Reagan, the Senate approved the deal in late October by a narrow vote of 52 to 48. [5]

The victory cost the administration considerable political capital, which became apparent in subsequent legislative confrontations over arms sales to friendly Arab regimes. The victory apparently cost Riyadh as well. According to a variety of sources, the administration reached an informal deal with the Saudis to push the AWACS sale in exchange for financial assistance to America’s covert operations abroad.

The deal has sometimes been described wrongly as a “kickback,” like the CIA-linked arms sales arranged by Lockheed and other defense contractors. The companies padded their foreign contracts and kicked some of the profits back to foreign agents or politicians. But in the AWACS deal, the buyer, not the seller, paid under the table. This was not a bribe, but a Saudi contribution to the administration’s crusade against the Soviet “evil empire,” a sort of “dues” for Saudi membership in a very exclusive club.

According to one CIA source, the deal was arranged at the NSC level as a “backchannel” operation to avoid Congressional oversight of covert operations. Robert Neumann, US ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1981, said the arrangement was informal. The Saudis “finance all sorts of operations all over the world,” he noted. “We support some, they support some…We talk about it…but it’s an individual decision.” [6]

An American businessman of Palestinian descent, Sam Joseph Bamieh, claims the decision grew out of Saudi attempts to win favor with the administration. Bamieh, who has done much business in Saudi Arabia and nurtured friendships with the royal family, says he was asked by Crown Prince Fahd to carry personal messages to Reagan in late 1980 (after the election) and again in February or March 1981. Fahd told Bamieh that “he was extending to our president his fall assistance to achieve the strategic and economic interests of the United States government, whether economically or strategically, in any way he could see fit.”

This offer became more specific. At another meeting with Fahd at his private residence outside Riyadh in late November 1981, the Saudi leader volunteered to Bamieh that in return for the AWACS sale, the Saudis would help finance anti-communist movements around the world. Fahd told him “it’s up to the US government to tell us where” to send the money. [7]

Bamieh’s credibility is open to challenge. He certainly has an ax to grind against the Saudi royal family. After filing a lawsuit against a former business partner, Muhammad Imran, who had managed Fahd’s private finances before 1980, Bamieh says he was put under virtual house arrest in Saudi Arabia for 133 days, wiretapped and surveilled, accused of being a CIA or Mossad agent and threatened with beheading. Much of what Bamieh has said about Saudi involvement in the Reagan administration’s foreign intrigues cannot be confirmed and some has been flatly denied by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. [8]

But Bandar, unlike Bamieh, is a proven liar. On October 21, 1986, for example, the ambassador flatly declared, “Saudi Arabia is not and has not been involved either directly or indirectly in any military or other support activity of any kind for or in connection with any group or groups concerned with Nicaragua.” [9] In fact, Bandar had personally arranged for Saudi Arabia to give the Contras at least $32 million to keep their counterrevolution alive. And in 1981, Bandar told journalist Edward Epstein, “If you knew what we really were doing for America, you wouldn’t just give us AWACS, you would give us nuclear weapons.” [10]

Further evidence for the linkage of AWACS to aid comes from the careers of the key administration officials who steered the sale through Congress. Charles Tyson, a high-ranking NSC official who worked closely with Prince Bandar on the deal, later went to work for the Saudi arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi, a chief figure in the arms-for-hostage negotiations with Iran. [11] General Richard Secord oversaw the AWACS sale in the Pentagon; when he retired in 1983, according to Bamieh, Bandar tried to line up business for him. [12] Secord, an expert in unconventional warfare, took charge of supplying the Contras for Oliver North, another veteran of the AWACS effort. Robert Lilac worked at the Pentagon with Secord on the sale, then moved to the NSC with North and reportedly helped CIA Director William Casey line up Saudi financing for the Reagan Doctrine. By 1984 Lilac had joined Secord in the “private” sector, supplying the Contras. He reportedly became a consultant to Bandar around the same time. [13]

The Contras were not the first beneficiaries of the Saudis’ largesse. Even before President Carter left office, Riyadh had joined China, Pakistan and Egypt in supporting the Afghan rebels. Egypt trained the mujahidin and supplied Soviet-made weapons from the large stocks it accumulated before President Sadat kicked out Egypt’s Soviet advisers. China permitted supply overflights of its territory and donated SAM-7 missiles and RPG antitank rockets. Pakistan opened its borders to the rebels, making the whole supply operation possible. And Saudi Arabia financed both the Afghans and the Pakistanis, pushing the latter to take greater risks on behalf of the anti-Soviet guerrillas. [14]

The importance of the Saudi connection to Afghanistan was signaled in 1981, when the Reagan administration appointed Robert Neumann, ambassador to Kabul for seven years, to head the US embassy in Riyadh. Early that year, the Saudis gave $12 million directly to the Afghan guerrilla organizations based in Peshawar, Pakistan. [15]

As American contributions to the guerrillas mushroomed, the Saudis matched Washington roughly dollar for dollar. Their money bought the rebels Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that, ironically, even the Saudis themselves were not permitted to purchase. In all, Riyadh has given as much as $2 billion to the mujahidin war effort. [16]

Contra Conniving

In Afghanistan, Saudi interests coincided with those of the Reagan administration. Shared religious zealotry with the Islamist guerrillas, anti-communism and desire to limit Soviet influence in South Asia moved the Saudis to act, even apart from considerations of improving relations with the United States.

But the same cannot be said of other Saudi ventures. In 1983, for example, the former Saudi intelligence officer Ali Bin Mussallam, an unofficial envoy from King Fahd to North Africa and a business partner of the king’s eldest son, Prince Faisal Bin Fahd, told Bamieh that “the year before they had supplied $50 million to the Moroccans to help them pay for training Angolan people in Morocco, and to pay for some goods and services to them.” The Saudi agent claimed to have met CIA Director William Casey about the Angolan operation in New York in the fall of 1983. [17] UNITA’s leader, Jonas Savimbi, told the Washington Post in August 1984 that his movement got as much as $70 million a year “from many Arab friends,” including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco. [18]

Support for UNITA was a particular favor to Reagan because Congress had flatly and unambiguously banned all aid to that movement in 1976. The Clark Amendment was not repealed until 1985. Although South Africa and Zaire also gave crucial support to the rebels based in southeastern Angola, Saudi financial assistance kept them in the field.

Indeed, according to Bamieh, some of South Africa’s own aid was indirectly made possible by the Saudis. He claims that Bandar told him of an arrangement by which an offshore company would buy oil from Saudi Arabia, resell to South Africa at a profit of up to a dollar a barrel and then direct the proceeds to Angola. Thus could South Africa evade the oil embargo and covertly finance its intervention in Angola. [19]

The Saudis’ greatest favor to the Reagan administration was undoubtedly their generous and timely backing for the Nicaraguan Contras. On March 27, 1984, Casey wrote an “Eyes Only” memo to National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane on “Supplemental Assistance to Nicaragua Program.” Predicting “possible difficulties in obtaining supplemental appropriations to carry out the Nicaraguan covert action project through the remainder of this year,” Casey said he was &ldquolin fall agreement that you should explore funding alternatives with the [representatives of Israel] and others.” [20]

In April, Casey sent Chuck Cogan, CIA operations chief for the Near East, to Ambassador Bandar to feel him out about Saudi aid to the Contras. Bandar checked but the answer was no. He cited three reasons: 1) there was no quid pro quo; 2) the Saudis appreciated Nicaragua’s pro-Arab tilt; 3) there was no reason to believe the United States could keep a secret. Several top US corporate executives passed along the same plea but got the same answer. [21]

Bandar did not have to mention a fourth reason: his government’s frustration with the pace of US arms sales. In March 1984, the administration dropped plans to sell Stinger missiles to Saudi Arabia after Jordan’s King Hussein dared criticize Washington’s Middle East policy. On April 10, at the National Press Club, Bandar blasted the “very dangerous trend” in US policy and threatened that the Saudis might turn to the Soviet Union for arms and trade. [22]

The White House got the message. In May 1984, the administration warned Congress of the possibility of Iranian attacks on Saudi oilfields and tankers. [23] It then used that prospect as justification for sending 400 Stinger antiaircraft missiles to Saudi Arabia on an emergency basis, without Congressional authorization. [24] At about the same time, the Pentagon also announced plans to sell the Saudis $131 million in spare parts and other equipment for military aircraft. [25] And President Reagan personally wrote King Fahd, promising US assistance in case of a showdown with Iran. [26]

These rapid moves reflected the administration’s desperation for Saudi help in Central America. By May, the Contras finally used up the last of the $24 million Congress granted them in December 1983 for fiscal year 1984. McFarlane went begging to Bandar, noting that it was almost “inevitable that the administration would fail” on Capitol Hill to win more aid. Bandar was now more amenable. His government agreed to pay the Contras at a rate of $1 million a month. McFarlane notified Reagan, who in turn sent back a note which “expressed the President’s satisfaction and pleasure that this had occurred.” McFarlane also informed Vice President George Bush of the secret deal for third-party funding of the Contras. [27]

Bandar took off for Saudi Arabia to set the financial transactions in motion. Returning to Washington, he met McFarlane at the White House on June 22 to pick up a card with the Contras’ account number at the BAC International Bank in the Cayman Islands. The first $1 million got there on July 6, 1984. [28]

Slouching Toward Iran

This support played a vital role in the origin of the Iran-Contra scandal. It was with this Saudi seed money that Oliver North set up his infamous private logistics network for the Contras. McFarlane put North in charge of handling the money. Then, at Casey’s suggestion, North turned to Richard Secord to run the actual operation outside the government. With his partner Albert Hakim, Secord began rounding up arms for the Contras that summer. But the ambitions of this group extended beyond keeping the Contras viable. “It was always the intention to make this a self-sustaining operation and that there always be something there which you could reach out and grab when you needed it,” North later testified. “Director Casey said he wanted something you could pull off the shelf and use at a moment's notice.” In other words, the money would fund any number of covert operations, at the CIA director’s discretion. [29]

The initial Saudi millions weren’t enough, however; Congress was still balking at administration pleas to fund the Nicaraguan counterrevolution. Once again, in early February 1985, McFarlane approached Bandar for help. And once again the Saudis came through. When King Fahd arrived in Washington later that month, one of the first state visits after Reagan’s second term began, the president thanked Fahd in person. The new Saudi contribution came to $24 million, bringing the total (including the 1984 support) to $32 million. [30] As North explained in a memo to McFarlane in April 1985, the funds mostly went for “arms, ammunition, and other ordnance items.” From the summer of 1984 until August 1985, when Congress finally authorized $27 million in “humanitarian” aid, Saudi support was the mainstay of the Contra war effort. [31]

To avoid leaks, dissent and legal challenges, only a handful of administration officials were let in on the secret; even Secretary of State Shultz wasn’t informed of the second Saudi aid package until June 1986. Congress did not find out until months later. On May 2,1984, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Casey denied any involvement in solicitation of funds from the Saudis, even though he had encouraged McFarlane to do just that. [32] And McFarlane himself denied knowledge of the Saudi contributions in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as late as December 8,1986. [33]

The Saudis had an even darker, more tightly held secret, according to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward: their cooperation with the CIA in “counter-terrorist” assassinations. In early 1985, Woodward claims, Casey went to the Saudis for help in freeing William Buckley, the Beirut CIA station chief and counterterrorism expert who had been kidnapped by pro-Iranian forces on March 16,1984. Bandar supposedly put $3 million in a Swiss bank account for Casey’s use. More important, the Saudis agreed to take measures that the CIA was legally barred from conducting itself. They supposedly hired a British mercenary who, working with the Lebanese intelligence services, planted a car bomb on March 8, 1985, near the apartment of Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah, leader of the Hizballah. The explosion devastated the entire neighborhood, killing 80 people and wounding 200 -- but missing Fadlallah. [34]

Woodward, as usual, doesn’t supply his source. It could well have been Bamieh, who claimed to have been told by “very high sources” in the Saudi royal family that plans were underway to attack Fadlallah but that the origin of the attack would be disguised by “passing out rumors” blaming Syria, Israel, the United States or Lebanese Christians. On the other hand, the CIA’s own Middle East intelligence officers reported back to Washington on good authority that the bombing had been carried out by a cell within the Lebanese security forces on behalf of the Syrians. Deputy CIA Director John McMahon, a highly credible source (although perhaps misled by Casey), testified that the CIA had nothing to do with the bombing. And the Saudi royal family “categorically” denied Woodward’s story. [35]

Bamieh claims further that Saudi involvement in the Buckley case led it into the morass of arms-for-hostage deals with Iran. The Saudis, he says, had been trying to ransom Buckley for fear that he would spill secrets regarding Saudi involvement with car bombings in Lebanon. In the course of talks with the Iranian overseers of Buckley’s kidnappers, the Saudis were asked to meet two demands. One was to fire their oil minister Shaikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani and raise the world price of oil. Riyadh eventually did this in the fall of 1986, several months after Vice President George Bush visited the Gulf states to talk up the price of oil. [36]

The second demand, Bamieh says, “was that the Saudis use their good offices with the United States to get military spare parts for Iran. That was why Khashoggi was called in.” [37] A longtime business associate of Bandar, Adnan Khashoggi was a high-flying Saudi arms merchant who racked up a fortune worth several hundred million dollars in the 1970s from commissions on US military sales to Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi organized and financed the early Iran arms sales and pushed for US negotiations with Iran. But he asserts that he had “no official status with the government of Saudi Arabia nor have I acted in its behalf, directly or indirectly, between the government of Saudi Arabia and Iran, nor between the government of Saudi Arabia and opposition forces in Nicaragua.” [38]

No doubt Khashoggi would have issued the same denial whatever the truth. But he did not need marching orders from Riyadh; the lure of huge profits provided reason enough to plunge into the arms deals. By convincing the United States to legitimize those arms sales, Khashoggi and the other arms dealers on his team hoped to free themselves of the threat of legal sanctions. [39]

Israel, a major behind-the-scenes source of arms for Iran, had as much or more to gain than Saudi Arabia from luring the United States into arms-for-hostage swaps with Tehran. Khashoggi’s partners, including Israeli arms dealers Ya‘acov Nimrodi and Al Schwimmer, career Mossad officer David Kimche, and Iranian middleman Manouchehr Ghorbanifar, were all Israeli agents. Khashoggi himself was a close friend of Kimche, a longtime political confidant of Israeli leaders Ezer Weizman and Shimon Peres, and a go-between for Israel in the airlift of Falasha Jews from Ethiopia. [40]

Regardless of Khashoggi’s real status, revelations of his involvement in the arms deals and of Saudi funding of the Contras proved deeply embarrassing to the royal family. The ensuing scandal, by confirming Saudi fears that the US could not keep a secret, seems to have tempered its enthusiasm for continuing to support the administration’s more sensitive covert operations.

There are other factors as well. Riyadh no longer has as much money to play with. Its oil income in 1988 will be about $22 billion, down from $99 billion in 1982. Persistent government deficits continue to run down the country’s foreign assets, which are now half of their peak. [41]

Finally, the prime goal of close relations with the United States, access to advanced aerospace technology, no longer seems within reach. Congress’s steadfast refusal to permit large weapons sales to the Arab world has soured the Saudis on the virtues of cooperation with Washington, especially since they have never realized meaningful political gains from the relationship. As a result, the Saudis have conspicuously sought to diversify their arms suppliers. Prince Bandar himself handled the secret, two-year negotiations with China for the purchase of intermediate range missiles capable of hitting Iran (or Israel). He also visited Moscow to discuss the Persian Gulf situation. On July 8, Great Britain announced a 10-year military sales package worth up to $30 billion, including Tornado fighter planes, Hawk jet trainers, helicopters, and minesweepers. With this deal, Britain replaces the United States as Saudi Arabia’s main arms supplier. [42]

All this has had an impact on the covert side of the relationship. “In private,” notes the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, “the Saudis have also turned down American entreaties to provide $300 million for joint relief for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. They are backing out of commitments to help African states such as Chad and Sudan that are threatened by Libya, and slow to meet other engagements. The Saudis plead budgetary problems. But some American officials conclude that Riyadh is distancing itself from Washington for now on joint projects.” [43]

Riyadh’s willingness to finance Washington’s crusades in areas where its own direct interests are marginal, as in Nicaragua, may thus be a thing of the past. But enough political common ground exists in the two governments’ mutual desire to check the spread of communist and other radical movements in the Muslim world that US-Saudi cooperation is sure to survive the strains of their current relationship. In the years to come, particularly if the world oil market revives, Saudi Arabia’s petrodollars will likely remain a potential source of funding for CIA-backed covert interventions in the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

 

Endnotes

[1] The literature on Israel’s role in the Third World is large and growing. See especially Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press,. 1987), chs. II, V, VIII; Jane Hunter, Israeli Foreign Policy (Boston: South End Press, 1987); Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection (NY: Pantheon, 1987). Israel, of course, pursues its own agenda in these regions, sometimes against Washington’s interests.
[2] New York Times, June 21, 1987.
[3] New York Times, February 4, 1981.
[4] New York Times, February 20 and 21, March 7, 1981.
[5] New York Times, April 3, August 25, October 18, and October 29,1981.
[6] San Francisco Examiner, July 27, 1986.
[7] House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, hearing, “Possible Violation or Circumvention of the Clark Amendment” (USGPO 1987) (hereafter Clark Amendment hearing), pp. 9-10; New York Times, February 4, 1987.
[8] John and Janet Wallach, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” Regardie’s, March 1987.
[9] Quoted in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 1987, p. 8.
[10] Edward J. Epstein, “The Well-Greased ‘Special Relationship,’” Manhattan, Inc., October 1987. It may also be significant in assessing Bandar’s word to know that he reportedly obtained bodyguard services through KMS Ltd., a British security firm that recruited South Africans for the Contra cause and also helped UNITA. See San Francisco Examiner, March 12, 1987; Insight, July 6, 1987.
[11] New York Times, December 1, 1986; Time, December 15, 1986.
[12] “Bandar was telling me that Secord was kicked out of the Pentagon thanks to the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States because of Secord’s work to help the Saudis get the AWACS, and he said we should help Secord, not just for Secord’s sake, but also for people that stay behind in the Pentagon so they know that we take care of our friends. But, he says, we have to do it in a legal way. I cannot, as ambassador, help him. You are our friend; try to help him.” Bamieh testimony, Clark Amendment hearing, p. 30.
[13] Secord testimony before-Iran-Contra committees, May 8, 1987; National Security Archives chronology, p. 81; Detroit Free Press, March 20,1987; San Francisco Examiner, October 21, 1986.
[14] Carl Bernstein, “Arms for Afghanistan,” The New Republic, July 18, 1981. As one former diplomat said of Saudi aid to Pakistan, “We didn’t have the money, and Haig didn’t want to go to Congress for it.” New York Times, June 21, 1987.
[15] Miami Herald, June 20, 1981.
[16] Oakland Tribune, May 11, 1987; April 19, 1988.
[17] Clark Amendment hearing, pp. 24-25.
[18] Washington Post, August 28, 1984. The support probably began in the 1970s, before the AWACS sale. See Washington Post, July 22-24, 1981.
[19] Clark Amendment hearing, p. 26.
[20] House of Representatives, Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, and Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, report, “Iran-Contra Affair” (USGPO 1987), p. 38. Hereafter “Final Report.”
[21] Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987 (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. 353; cf. Washington Post, May 19, 1984.
[22] Washington Post, April 11, 1984.
[23] New York Times, May 25, 1984.
[24] New York Times, May 29, 1984.
[25] New York Times, June 2, 1984.
[26] Woodward, Veil, p. 354.
[27] Final Report, p. 39.
[28] Woodward, Veil, p. 355.
[29] Final Report, pp. 39-40.
[30] Final Report, pp. 45, 119-120; Woodward, Veil, 401.
[31] Final Report, p. 125.
[32] Final Report, p. 119.
[33] Final Report, p. 131.
[34] Woodward, Veil, pp. 396-397.
[35] Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16,1987.
[36] Jonathan Marshall, et al., op. cit., pp. 159-160; Edward J. Epstein, op. cit. In September 1986, one month before Yamani was fired, a leading Iranian visited Washington to confer with Oliver North. The emissary “asked that the United States join Iran in trying to raise the price of oil. North did not address this proposal at the time, but later he observed that the oil market was ‘naturally depressed.’ He also stated that the United States and Iran had ‘similar interests with respect to oil.’” See Final Report, p. 252.
[37] Georgie Anne Geyer, “Telling Saudi Secrets,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 5, 1987.
[38] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 1987, p. 8.
[39] As Sen. David Durenberger (R-MN) commented of Khashoggi and his fellow arms dealers, “If they got caught dealing with the Iranians, they were going to go to jail. This was a perfect deal for these guys who were in the arms-sales business anyway.” Miami Herald, February 22, 1987.
[40] Jonathan Marshall, et. al., op. cit., ch. VIII; Ronald Kessler, The Richest Man in the World (NY: Warner Books, 1986), ch. 14.
[41] Economist, June 18, 1988.
[42] New York Times, July 11, 1988; WP, April 13, 1988. Kuwait is taking the same approach. Three days after the Senate rejected the sale of Maverick air-to-ground missiles to the Gulf nation, Kuwait announced a major arms deal with the USSR.
[43] Washington Post, April 13, 1988.

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