There was never any question that America’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would become one of its most important in the region and indeed in the world. It is the birthplace of one of the world’s largest monotheistic faiths and serves as the Muslim world’s “custodian of its two holiest places.” It sits atop the world’s richest oil reserves. A strong relationship with the kingdom is the sine qua non for the world’s superpower committed to maintaining stability in the region, the world’s energy markets and the global economy. The rise of extremism in the Middle East in the final decades of the 20th century made it more imperative that the U.S. forge closer ties with the nation that many consider the ideological birthplace of extremist religious ideology in the Muslim world.
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