U.S.-Saudi Relations

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Robert Satloff - The false bravado of former Saudi ambassador to Washington Turki al-Faisal in a Washington Post op-ed is likely to be taken with greater seriousness than it deserves. In a sad and ultimately pathetic attempt to scare Washington into choosing between its partnerships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, Turki threatened a diplomatic apocalypse if President Obama follows through on his pledge to oppose a Palestinian end-around to negotiations via a UN resolution on statehood this autumn. Recent events, of course, suggest precisely the opposite. In last year's test run for this autumn's diplomatic crisis, there was no visible backlash from Riyadh after the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. To be sure, U.S.-Saudi relations are in a funk - but that has much less to do with Riyadh's exasperation at Obama's alleged pro-Israel bias than with exasperation at what Saudis view as Washington's ill-conceived approach to political change in Arab states, coupled with their longstanding wish for American action to solve their Iranian problem (e.g., "cut off the head of the snake"). The notion that Riyadh would chuck what remains of its 70-year strategic relationship with Washington out of pique at one more U.S. veto of a bad idea at the UN is patently absurd. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute.

2011-06-16 00:00:00

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