Historical Perspectives

The Perils of Covert Action
Ricochet: When a Covert Operation Goes Bad

By Bruce Riedel

Five years [after the Operation Ajax in Iran] America's oldest ally in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, tried to emulate Roosevelt and rid itself of the danger posed by Arab nationalists and revolutionaries by sponsoring a coup in Syria. The coup plot was the pet project of King Saud, who had ascended to the throne in 1953 when his father Abd Al Aziz al Saud, the founder of the modern kingdom, died. Saud was also Eisenhower's personal choice to be the US antithesis to Egypt's President Gamal Abd al Nasser. The king would rally the Arabs to America's side in the cold War. Washington knew the Saudis were working on a coup in Damascus; the Saudis told them.

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Posted: Jan 09, 2019 05:26 PM
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019 05:26 PM