Daily Video

June 4, 2009

Obama Visits Oil-Rich Saudi Arabia

President Barack Obama began his trip to the Middle East Wednesday with a visit to Saudi Arabia, an important oil-producing country that was also home to the majority of the September 11 hijackers.

Mr. Obama’s trip is aimed at improving relations between the United States and the Muslim world, which were strained by the September 11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the president visits Saudi Arabia, and then Egypt to deliver a major speech to the Muslim world, he confronts a slate of complicated problems: the Palestian-Israeli conflict and Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

This report features video of President Obama meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and interviews with Middle East experts.


“The United States and Saudi Arabia have a long history of friendship. We have a strategic relationship.” – President Barack Obama

“I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began, and to seek his majesty’s counsel, and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East.” – President Barack Obama

“The Palestinian problem is of particular interest to King Abdullah, who laid out his own peace plan seven years ago.” – Ray Suarez

Warm Up Questions

1. Where does America get the oil to make gas for cars and heating oil for houses?

2. Where is Saudi Arabia? What does its geography tell you?

Discussion Questions

1. Why is it that the United States has good relations with Saudi Arabia despite the fact that Osama bin Laden and most of the September 11 hijackers came from that country?

2. Do you think it is a good idea for President Obama to make nice with leaders of the Muslim world even if he might disagree with how some of them govern?

3. How does President Obama’s approach compare to President Bush’s approach?

4. What is “the Muslim world”? How is this term useful and how is it confusing?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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