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Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold…
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Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude (2003)

by Robert Baer

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Along with " The Devil We Know " , gives you a good take on what the hell's going on over there ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
Holy cow, this is an interesting book, even if Baer is not as much at the center of the action as he thinks he is. ( )
  publiusdb | Aug 22, 2013 |
As you can guess from the title, neither the US government or the Saudis come out looking good in this. Baer is a former CIA case officer, one of his later books was turned into the movie Syriana, it was very loosely adapted. I heard Baer speak once and he said he didn't even understand the movie. Baer maintains that the Saudis are much more involved in terrorism then they have been letting on and no one in Washington will call them on it because no one wants to upset the flow of cheap oil (the book was written in 2003 when there was cheap oil) or the chance of a Saudi funded job when they leave office. If you believe him, we're screwed. His ideas blend well with Michael Scheuer's in his book Osama Bin Laden, in that Scheuer credits the Saudis with "creating" bin Laden, while Baer explains why they did it. A little dated but a interesting book, not as good as his others though. ( )
  sgtbigg | May 27, 2011 |
Provocative and even frightening account of our relationship with the Saudis by former CIA operative Robert Baer in a book dedicated to the memory of Daniel Pearl. The text includes blacked-out passages from the CIA Publications Review Board. Baer begins by delineating the specifics of the oil industry in which Arab sheikhdoms own sixty percent of the world's reserves. He describes the prolifigate and corrupt lifestyle of the house of Al Sa'ud and the allure of all of their oil money to Washington lobbyists and politicians. He made this wry observation when he moved back to D.C. from the Middle East in 1994 and observed the official treatment of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.:

"Bandar's convoy, his sprawling house, the special access, the no-limits lifestyle: They were all a constant reminder of the way Washington really ran. Forget the crap about democracy, about the capital of the free world. Washington was a company town, and Bandar had a seat on the board." He not only reminds us of how many of the Bush II Administration are associated with the oil industry, but also goes into some detail about the Carlyle Group, the private global investment firm that provides lots of wealth to Republicans as they leave the Administration, and very close ties to, and lucrative deals with, Saudi businesses as well.

Baer recounts the Saudi role in funding terrorism over the years, charging "For American arms makers [who have made fortunes off of deals to the Saudis], Saudi Arabia is an industry subsector all its own, with its own peculiar rules. We buy oil from Saudi Arabia, refine it, and put it in our automobiles, and a certain small percentage of what we pay for it ends up funding terrorist acts against America and American institutions at home and abroad."

Baer gives a history of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 by the Egyptian Hassan al-Banna, and also some background about the the influence of the 13th century Syrian cleric Ibn Taymiyah and the most extremist of the Muslim Brothers, Sayyid Qutb. As Baer notes "Egypt executed Sayyid in 1966, but his doctrine [of jihad against "infidels"] lived on."

The Saudis need to support the Muslim Brotherhood and its hatred of America and Israel, Baer asserts, in order to redirect resentment and aggression against its own corruption and greed. If Islamic militarism is now out of control, neither the Saudis nor the Americans care to admit the extent of the role played by the Saudis.

Baer concludes: "Was it all inevitable? No.... Washington made us lie down with the devil. It made the bed, pulled back the covers, and invited the devil in. We whispered in his ear and told him we loved him. When things went a little wrong, Washington held his hand and said it was all right. And all that time we had our eye on his bulging wallet, lit by the moonlight on the dresser."

In a way, the book serves as the footnotes to Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11." It's a short book, and has an informal tone that of necessity lacks footnotes, but is well worth the little time it will take to read.

(JAF)
1 vote nbmars | Jul 29, 2007 |
Good round up of the pungent and incestuous relationship between the US Govt and the House of Saud. I wish Baer would have done infinitely more work citing sources and facts, as you can't help but read it and wonder what is factual based and what is simply word of mouth statements from his sources. He makes the case at one point that the House of Saud has over one trillion (with a T) invested in the US Stock Market and the same amount stored in US banks per a deal with the govt. An amazing statement thats just left on its own at the end of a chapter. Not that I couldn't believe that the financing statement was true, but the complete lack of backing makes it a tad hard to swallow. For me - much of the history section was on the boring side - but I did my history thesis in college on Ibn Saud and his descendants so if you are unfamiliar this book is as good as any to bring yourself up to date. He also repeats himself quite a bit - making me wonder if the book was written over a long period of time and didn't have a thorough editor to clean that up.

You'll also notice many of the themes & scenes in the movie Syriana were ripped directly from the 1st chapter in the book titled "The Doomsday Scenario". ( )
1 vote jmcclain19 | Jul 28, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0739304143, Audio CD)

According to Robert Baer, the center of the global economy is a "kingdom built on thievery, one that nurtures terrorism, destroys any possibility of a middle class based on property rights, and promotes slavery and prostitution." This kingdom also sits on one quarter of the world's oil reserves, thus ensuring that it receives the full support and protection of the U.S. government. Sleeping With the Devil details the hypocritical and corrupt relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the potentially calamitous economic consequences of maintaining this Faustian bargain.

As Baer makes clear, the U.S. has been aware of problems within the bitterly divided Al Sa'ud family for years, but has ignored the facts in order to keep lucrative business deals afloat. (The amount of money the royal family spends to influence powerful American politicians and lobbyists is staggering.) Particularly damning are his details regarding Saudi Arabia's support of militant Islamic groups, including al Qaeda. The ruling family funnels millions of dollars to such groups in order to dissuade them from overthrowing the monarchy--a protection scheme that is shaky at best, given the hatred most citizens feel for the ruling family. To prevent economic disaster that could come from either a local uprising or an interruption in the flow of oil due to terrorism, Baer raises the possibility of the U.S. seizing the Saudi oil fields and forcing a regime change on its own terms: "An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression," he warns.

Baer spent 21 years with the CIA, much of it in the Middle East, so he is an informed guide to this complex subject. His alarming book deserves to be read for raising many important and troubling questions. --Shawn Carkonen

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:21 -0400)

Examines the love-hate relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, describing how the royal family's support of a radical religious group helps keep them in power while fostering hatred of the West throughout Saudi society.

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