Al-Sayigh’s Deportation and a Warming of Saudi-Iranian Relations

Today’s announcement of the deal between U.S. law enforcement officials and Hani al-Sayigh, an alleged member of the clandestine Shi`i organization “Saudi Hizballah” with links to the al-Khobar Towers bombing, has strategic, not just legal, implications for the investigation of that terrorist act. The decision to seek al-Sayigh’s deportation to the United States and his cooperation in gaining information about al-Khobar suggests that the United States may in fact be willing to grapple with the ramifications of what al-Sayigh has to say about Iran’s possible complicity. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, as Secretary of Defense Cohen promotes “dual containment” with America’s Gulf allies, an equally intriguing development is afoot-a tentative rapprochement between a victim of al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and the state many observers believe is chiefly responsible for it, Iran.

Full Text: “Al-Sayigh’s Deportation and a Warming of Saudi-Iranian Relations,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy Policywatch, No. 255, June 17, 1997.