New Forces Fraying U.S.-Saudi Oil Ties

[ Los Angeles Times] Paul Richter - For decades, Saudi Arabia worked with its dominant customer, the U.S., to keep world oil markets stable and advance common political goals. But the surging price of oil has made it plain that those days are over. New forces, including a weak dollar and an oil-thirsty Asia, have blunted U.S. leverage and helped sour the two countries' relationship. With the shift in buying power, the Saudis are cultivating important Chinese customers. Paul J. Saunders, who served in the State Department under President Bush and is executive director of the Nixon Center think tank, believes that China may be buying more Saudi oil than the U.S. in less than a decade. That sets up "a real possibility that China will have more leverage in dealing with Saudi Arabia than we do," he said.

2008-06-11 01:00:00

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