Friday, March 28, 2014

Is America's Relationship with Saudi Arabia Broken beyond Repair?

Barack Obama in Rome before flying to Riyadh: US relations
with Saudi Arabia soured when revolution broke out in Syria.
THE GUARDIAN: Barack Obama will use visit to Riyadh to reassure a kingdom unhappy at US appeasement of Iran and ambivalence over Syria

Barack Obama arrives in Riyadh seeking rapprochement with an aggrieved Arab ally whose interests are increasingly at odds with its key western backer.

The president's flying visit – no more than an evening in the Saudi king's palace – is his first since the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, which drove an initial wedge between both capitals.

Ever since, relations have tangibly soured, with US outreach to Iran and ambivalence on Syria particularly irking Saudi leaders, who believe their arch-foe, Tehran, has been empowered at their expense.

So bothered has Riyadh become by what it sees as naive appeasement of Iran that it now seems ready to project itself regionally without US cover.

"The US has underwritten the regional security order for the past 70 years and it sees now as a good time to disengage," one senior figure told the Guardian recently. "We will have to do it all ourselves." » | Martin Chulov | Friday, March 28, 2014