U.S.-Saudi Rivalry Intensifies

(Los Angeles Times) Paul Richter and Neela Banerjee - Senior U.S. diplomats have been dropping by the royal palace in Amman almost every week to convince Jordanian King Abdullah II that democratic reform is the best way to quell the protests against his rule. But Saudi Arabia is urging the Hashemite kingdom to ignore the Americans. The Saudis last month offered Jordan a coveted opportunity to join a wealthy regional bloc called the Gulf Cooperation Council, a move that would give the impoverished kingdom new investment, jobs and security ties. To sweeten the pot, the Saudis wrote a check for $400 million in aid to Amman two weeks ago, their first assistance in years. The quiet contest for Jordan is one sign of the rivalry that has erupted across the Middle East this year between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Riyadh, which believes the U.S. is turning its back on loyal allies, is trying to step out of America's shadow. The Saudis, who see their own stability threatened in the region's unrest, have shelled out billions of dollars to neighbors in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and elsewhere in hopes they will resist political change.

2011-06-22 00:00:00

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