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A Study on the US-Saudi Arabia Relationship during the First Oil Crisis (1973-1974)

Author: ChenJia
Tutor: LiangJun
School: Central China Normal University
Course: History of international relations
Keywords: America Saudi Arabia The Fourth Middle East War Oil embargo
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2014
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In the fourth Middle East War, America’s favor to Israel caused great discontent emotion of Saudi Arabia. Under the leadership of Saudi, Arabia oil producing countries implemented the policy of oil embargo. During the period of embargo, the relationship between America and Saudi went down. However, oil embargo did not lead to breakdown of the two countries. After the lift of the embargo, America strengthen its cooperation with Saudi, the mutual dependency level between them increasingly deepened, which to some extent eliminated the possibility of oil embargo.This dissertation focuses on the relationship between America and Saudi during the first oil crisis, employing relevant first-hand documents and archives, as well as drawing existing fruits to summarize the outline of relationship between the two countries, from tension to confrontation, and finally to upgradation of their cooperation. In the essay, I tended to answer the following question:firstly, the oil embargo reflected not only Saudi’s religious attitude, but also its attempt to enhance its influence in the Arabia world. Secondly, oil embargo forced America to adjust its Middle East policies, accelerating the process of negotiation between Arabia world and Israel. Thirdly, in the process of lifting oil embargo, Saudi had to weigh its relationship with America, as well as with the Arabic world. Avoiding being isolated by Arabic countries, Saudi refused to lift embargo by itself, Finally, after the lifting of embargo, the promoted cooperation has been based on their common benefits in the fields of oil and security.In conclusion, America and Saudi had complementarity in the energy field, and shared benefit in security, these factors are preconditions for the steady development of the both countries. However, the contradiction and different positions on Arab Israel issues are the existing factors which strained the relationship between them. Frictions occurred from time to time, even causing bilateral crisis again. Overall, as long as US and Saudi weigh theirs mutual benefits more than their contradictions, they will continue developing their relationship steadily in the future.

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