Eizenstat: Tel Aviv in 1970s feared Powerful Saudi Arabia
In his book "President Carter: The White House Years" , Diplomat Stuart Eizenstat, Former US Ambassador to the European Union and Jimmy Carter's closest Foreign Policy Adviser, talks about the development of the Saudi-US relationship that took on a new dimension in the era of Former US President, Jimmy Carter.
In a chapter devoted to the Saudi-US relationship, Eizenstat says that President Carter worked hard on strengthening and deepening this relationship, challenging the pro-Zionist lobby and concluding a defensive arms deal with the Kingdom in 1977 in a courageous decision because Tel Aviv was afraid of the growing of the Saudi force and a development of strong alliance between the US and a moderate and wealthy Arab country.
Eizenstat describes the deal as the first and most successful victory of the Arabs over the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. Afterwards, President Reagan worked on strengthening ties with the Kingdom. Then, the region, including Israel, realized that the relationship with Saudi Arabia would be the most important pillar of the US foreign policy in the Middle East.
As for the vision of His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Ambassador Eizenstat told "Riyadh", "It is a positive transformation on a large scale, through deliberate steps that are consistent with the popular mood and social nature in Saudi Arabia. We find the change go great."
He added, "The Kingdom now has all the means of development. It is a place capable of introducing distinguished batch of young generations in terms of social, cultural and scientific development. They have distinguished universities at the public and private levels such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). They have an integrated vision that creates new sources of work, ambition and income other than oil thanks to Vision 2030."
Eizenstat opines that the Crown Prince's visit to the United States has been a great success, not only with the US government but also with the technical, investment and cultural community in the US. Those events are impressed with the vision of the Crown Prince and his love for science, development and openness to the world.
Search for Peace
In his interview with "Riyadh", Ambassador Eizenstat stressed the US attention to the interests of Arab countries and the rumor that the pro-Israel lobby drives Washington. Throughout the ages, the US has been interested in establishing relations with several Arab countries, along with Saudi Arabia such as Egypt and Jordan. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been successful historical battles against terrorism.
Eizenstat believes that the relationship with Egypt took a new dimension in the era of President Sadat - after a volatile period during the reign of President Gamal Abdel Nasser - who accomplished a lot, describing Sadat, whom he met more than once, as one of the most hard people refusing to make concessions upon the demands of the Americans, but he strongly negotiated. Sadat and Carter were described as "two scorpions in one room" and it is difficult for one of them to make concessions to the other because of his constant attitude.
As for Hafez Al-Assad, Eizenstat says that he was the most extorting of the Arabs and laying obstacles in their way, despite the occupied Syrian territories. However, he was interested in keeping the bidding and blackmailing the Palestinian cause more than his interest in restoring his land and the rights of the Palestinians.
As for the Middle East, Ambassador Eizenstat said, "There is no climate now for a peace process between the Palestinians and Israel. Today, we are facing one of the most intransigent Israeli governments. It is in a position of strength and unwilling to make any concessions, and its popular incubator in Israel is like it and does not want to make concessions."