History, Arab-Israeli Conflicts
King Faisal, Persian Gulf states, Suez Canal, Arab-Israeli War, Day War
In 1967, as the Arab-Israeli conflict intensified prior to the Six-Day War, King Faisal expressed full support for Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and dispatched 20,000 troops to Jordan to face Israeli forces. On June 6 all Saudi oil exports to Britain and the United States were suspended, but diplomatic ties were not broken; the oil trade was resumed after the Arab defeat. An Arab summit conference later in the year resulted in Egyptian withdrawal from Yemen, and the Saudis extended large-scale aid to Egypt to compensate for the loss of revenue caused by the closing of the Suez Canal during the war. King Faisal continued to call for pan-Islamic action against Israel and, under internal pressures, criticized alleged United States complicity with Israel. He remained unwilling, however, to articulate a militant anti-Western position, and in 1971 Saudi Arabia and five other Persian Gulf states concluded a five-year pact with 23 Western oil companies, including 17 U.S. firms. In July 1970, Saudi Arabia formally recognized the republican government of Yemen after seven years of intermittent border fighting.
Saudi Arabia sent a small number of troops and weapons (notably aircraft) to aid the Arab states in the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. In the aftermath of that conflict the government played a leading role in organizing a short-term oil boycott against countries that had supported Israel and quadrupling the international price of petroleum. The latter development, and Saudi Arabia’s 1974 takeover of controlling interest in the huge Aramco, greatly increased government revenue, thus providing funds for a massive economic development plan.
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