Saudi Arabia and the United States: Partnership in the Persian Gulf
A. REZA SHEIKHOLESLAMI
The U. S. government has characterized the Islamic Republic of Iran as the major threat to the stability of the oil-producing countries in the Middle East. Warning the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf that revolutionary upheaval, fed by Islamic "fundamentalism," will sweep through their countries, it has managed to assuage their fears of the notoriety of public cooperation with the United States. The United States has provided a military shield, presumably ensuring the security of the states that have waged war on Iran by massive financial and logistic support for Iraq.
It is my thesis that the major threat to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf is the internal contradictions that have decayed the bases of the present rulerships. The absence of political legitimacy, the regimes' inability to develop effective bureaucratic structures because of their pattrimonial nature, pervasive corruption, and the emergence of a new social structure eventually would have brought down the Arab monarchies and sheikdoms. However, the rapid economic decline resulting from their support for U. S. oil policies and the failure of industrial and agricultural programs have intensified the conflict over economic exploitation between the patrimonial princes and their immediate cohorts, on the one hand, and the members of the bourgeoisie who were coopted during the boom years, on the other. Finally, the blatant association between the United States and the Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf and the effort by these regimes to put the Palestinian issue on the back burner and focus instead on Iraq's war against Iran will, more than any