Middle East studies in the News
Hillary Clinton and Saudi Funny Money: Conflict of Interest? [incl. Middle East studies at the Univ. of Arkansas]
There's been a lot of talk, going back to the presidency of Bush 41, of the Bush family's ties to Saudi Arabia.
That's all well and good, but in this day and age there are other presidents – and those with presidential aspirations – whose ties to Saudi Arabia deserve a second look.
Bill and Hillary Clinton, one a former president, one a presidential wannabe, seem to be on very good terms with the Saudis:
The Saudis, of course, not only control a great deal of the world's supply of oil, but Saudi Arabia is home of Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam. More odiously, the Saudis are heavily involved in providing funding and educational materials for students in the United States about the Middle East. According to Stanley Kurtz,
Education, you say? There's more. According to a 1993 New York Times article, Prince Turki bin Feisal was a college classmate of Bill's at Georgetown University and (at the time of the article's writing) was the head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service. While he was still governor of Arkansas, it looks like Bill Clinton cashed in on that relationship, "work[ing] hard to secure a multimillion-dollar Saudi donation to a Middle Eastern studies program at the University of Arkansas." Due to the intervention of the Gulf War, the first installment of $3.5 million didn't arrive until 1992, with another $20 million arriving after Bill Clinton's first inauguration.
So a Clinton connection to the Saudis and their money goes back nearly 20 years. While this doesn't necessarily mean that the Clintons are in the Saudis' pockets, it does raise the red flag of perceived impropriety and a possible conflict of interest. Dick Morris weighs in on the controversy:
Critics of a potential Hillary Clinton presidency have often pointed to the baggage she'll be bringing along from not only her personal past, but also from her husband's administration, a fact illustrated by these questionable Saudi monetary connections.
As a point of direct contrast, former New York Mayor (and presidential candidate) Rudy Giuliani rejected a $10 million donation from a Saudi prince to the city of New York directly following 9/11. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal suggested that U.S. Middle Eastern policies led to the attacks, something Giuliani did not appreciate:
"Transparency" is not enough. The leaders of our nation must be beyond reproach, both personally and officially, when it comes to dealing with any country – but especially one that espouses fundamentalist Islam. Full disclosure of conflicts of interest from all of our presidential candidates is essential when it comes not only to personal integrity, but to policies that affect our security interests at home and abroad.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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