Officially: Riyadh, Washington Do Not Discuss Issue of Pulling Out American Forces from Kingdom
Saudi Arabia and the United States are not officially discussing the pulling out of U.S. army units from the kingdom, according to Saudi government officials quoted Saturday in the Arabic-language Al Hayat daily.
"The United States has not requested an end to the mission by their troops," the Saudi sources asserted, referring to growing calls among Saudis for the United States forces to leave the kingdom.
On Friday in Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer stated the United States wanted to stay in Saudi Arabia in response to a question concerning a report in The Washington Post that Riyadh was feeling "increasingly uncomfortable" about the U.S. presence.
Recently, the U.S. administration has been expressing off-the-record discontent over the level of cooperation the U.S. has been getting from Saudi Arabia. Several American officials believe that the Saudis are not sharing their intelligence, and that they are not coming clean about the extent of backing and involvement by Saudis in anti-American organizations such as the al-Qaeda network. Consequently, several U.S. officials over the past few days have made public statements calling for the removal of American troops from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi reaction was quick and assertive. In an article that appeared in The Washington Post on January 18th, Saudi officials called the American bluff when they told the newspaper that they were considering asking the U.S. to leave. (Albawaba.com)