“…Bin Laden told me his first priority is to get the American military out of Saudi Arabia, the holiest of lands in Islam. "Every day the Americans delay their departure, they will receive a new corpse." Frontline, PBS
"…On April 29, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld announced that he would be withdrawing remaining U.S. troops from the country. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had earlier said that the continuing large U.S. presence in the kingdom was putting American lives in danger..." Wikipedia
Removing the USA's military presence from Saudi Arabia in 2003 may have been the best decision, but that decision, as well as Reagan's 1984 withdrawal of troops from Lebanon, disproves the conservative Republican myth that Republicans are unwilling to appease Islamic militants.
“President Bush, declaring that appeasement does not work, said today that he ordered U.S. combat aircraft and troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a multinational force to help defend that country against a possible attack by Iraq..."Reuters/Los Angeles Times, August 08, 1990
"Beginning during Operation Desert Shield in August 1990, while preparing for the Gulf War, the United States sent a large troop contingent to Saudi Arabia. After the war, remnant troops, primarily U.S. Air Force personnel, augmented by a smaller number of coordinating and training personnel from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps remained in Saudi Arabia under the aegis of Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA), as part of Operation Southern Watch (OSW). The United Kingdom and France also maintained a small contingent of Royal Air Force and French Air Force training personnel. Operation Southern Watch patrolled by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain enforced the Iraqi no-fly zones over southern Iraq set up after 1991, and the country's oil exports through the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf... Wikipedia
"...Since Saudi Arabia houses the holiest sites in Islam (Mecca and Medina), many Muslims were outraged at the permanent presence of non-Muslim U.S., British and French military personnel. The continued presence of U.S. troops after the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia was also one of the stated motivations behind the September 11th terrorist attacks and the Khobar Towers bombing. The date of the 1998 United States embassy bombings was eight years to the day (August 7) that American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden interpreted the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, as banning the "permanent presence of infidels in Arabia".
Opinion polls conducted by Gallup from 2006–2008, found that many in Muslim majority countries strongly objected to U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia. 52% of Saudis agreed that removing military bases from Saudi Arabia would very significantly improve their opinion of United States. Also 60% of Egyptians, 39% of Jordanians, 40% of Syrians and Palestinians, 55% of Tunisians, 13% of Iranians, 29% of Turks, 40% of Lebanese, 30% of Algerians gave that opinion too..." Wikipedia
“… In 1996, bin Laden issued his first fatwa, calling for American soldiers to leave Saudi Arabia.
In a second fatwa in 1998, bin Laden outlined his objections to American foreign policy with respect to Israel, as well as the continued presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War. Bin Laden used Islamic texts to exhort Muslims to attack Americans until the stated grievances are reversed. Muslim legal scholars "have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries.", according to bin Laden.
…Bin Laden interpreted Muhammad as having banned the "permanent presence of infidels in Arabia". In 1996, bin Laden issued a fatwa calling for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia. In 1998, al-Qaeda wrote, "for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples…
…In a December 1999 interview, bin Laden said he felt that Americans were "too near to Mecca", and considered this a provocation to the entire Muslim world. One analysis of suicide terrorism suggested that without U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda likely would not have been able to get people to commit to suicide missions…” Wikipedia
“…For the future, bin Laden told me his first priority is to get the American military out of Saudi Arabia, the holiest of lands in Islam. "Every day the Americans delay their departure, they will receive a new corpse." … Bin Laden said that the American military would leave Saudi Arabia, regardless of the fact that the Saudi royal family welcomes the American presence. "It does not make a difference if the government wants you to stay or leave. You will leave when the youth send you in wooden boxes and coffins. And you will carry in them the bodies of American troops and civilians. This is when you will leave."….” ABC reporter John Miller recounts his May 1998 hour-long interview with Osama Bin Laden, 1999 John Miller, PBS Frontline
“…The U.S. had rejected the characterization of its presence as an "occupation", noting that the government of Saudi Arabia consented to the presence of troops. Middle East expert Brian Becker stated: … Wikipedia
…On April 29, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld announced that he would be withdrawing remaining U.S. troops from the country. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had earlier said that the continuing large U.S. presence in the kingdom was putting American lives in danger. The announcement came one day after the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) was shifted from Prince Sultan Air Base to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar...U.S. officials transferred control of Prince Sultan Air Base to Saudi officials at a ceremony on August 26, 2003. The base had been home to up to 60,000 US personnel at one time. … the United States withdrew remaining non-training troops or armament purchase support from Saudi Arabia, with 200 of these support personnel remaining, primarily at Eskan Village, a base which is owned by Saudi Arabian government itself….” Wikipedia
“…Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his Saudi counterpart, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, said at a news conference here that the end of the Iraq war and Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad meant that America's military mission here was over. Only a small military training program will remain."It is now a safer region because of the change of regime in Iraq," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "The aircraft and those involved will now be able to leave."…” The New York Times
“…the move is a major positive gesture by Washington towards the Saudi royal family, for whom a high-profile US military presence creates internal pressure, stoking militant opposition. All but four of the alleged September 11 hijackers were Saudi, and the US troops there have been a key propaganda point made by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida….” The Guardian
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