Daniel Benjamin is Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth. He served on the National Security Council staff from 1994 to 1999, and as Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the US State Department from 2009 to 2012. (June 2019


Reckless in Riyadh

Mohammad bin Salman
The recklessness of the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman has been abetted by the Trump administration, which has boasted of its special relationship with the young de facto ruler (his father, King Salman, is in poor health, and MBS enjoys great latitude) and has avoided criticizing him for his misadventures. Yet Democratic contenders for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination are lining up to see who can Saudi-bash the loudest. The Democrats’ outrage has been further fueled by the suspicion that behind the president’s uncritical embrace of the Saudis are his hopes for personal enrichment from the relationship—a reasonable surmise in light of the Saudi habit of booking entire floors of his Washington hotel when delegations come to town. As the de facto alliance approaches its seventy-fifth anniversary, some American policymakers and scholars are questioning whether it still makes sense for the US.

A Failure of Intelligence?

To understand why Americans did not recognize the true threat posed by the terrorists of al-Qaeda before September 11, consider the following exchanges. They are quoted from the transcripts of the testimony of Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, the prosecution’s first witness in the trial for the bombings of two American embassies …