The United States and Saudi Arabia — whose conflicted relationship has survived oil shocks, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the U.S. invasion of Iraq — are drifting apart faster than at any time in recent history, according to diplomats, analysts and former U.S. officials.What will happen if Saudi gets really pissed off and persuades OPEC to no longer accept U.S. dollars as payment for oil?
The breach, punctuated by a series of tense diplomatic incidents in the past two weeks, could have profound implications for the U.S. role in the Middle East, even as President Barack Obama juggles major Arab upheavals from Libya to Yemen.
The Saudi monarchy, which itself has been loathe to introduce democratic reforms, watched with deepening alarm as the White House backed Arab opposition movements and helped nudge from power former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, another long-time U.S. ally, according to U.S. and Arab officials.
That alarm turned to horror when the Obama administration demanded that the Saudi-backed monarchy of Bahrain negotiate with protesters representing the country's majority Shiite Muslim population. To Saudi Arabia's Sunni rulers, Bahrain's Shiites are a proxy for Shiite Iran, its historic adversary.
In a speech Sunday in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to Washington, said the Gulf countries now must look after their own security — a role played exclusively by the United States since the 1979 fall of the Shah of Iran....
Friday, March 25, 2011
Wedge Between The United States And Saudi Arabia?
With a hat tip to Mark Alexander of A New Dark Age Is Dawning, citing the Miami Herald: