This is a good read from leading think tank, Brookings Institute. The article argues that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States has been deteriorating since 2000 due to serious and fundamental differences on Israel, democracy, Iran, and other issues. President Barack Obama’s visit next week can help contain these differences and emphasize common interests but it won’t restore the relationship to its glory days.
Source: Mr. Obama goes to Riyadh: Why the United States and Saudi Arabia still need each other | Brookings Institution
I suggest we watch carefully for the outputs from the meeting. Expect giveaways from Obama and limited concessions from Riyadh. Obama has always been weak on foreign policy and in his lame-duck period he’s still meddling to try to improve his disastrous image, probably to help the royalties of his next book.
The Brookings Institute puts a medium gloss on what President Obama’s visit to the Kingdom will achieve and why America still needs the Kingdom. Dr Alf in this piece from Brookings is right to say that one of the reasons for the visit is to burnish President Obama’s tattered credentials in preparation for what is likely to be a book deal and he is right to say that we will see lots of American concessions and few coming in the opposite direction.
Brookings is wrong to say that the Kingdom wants a Palestinian State because despite their rhetoric and pronouncements they have never really wanted any such thing and are loathe to let them have a “Palestinian Homeland” anywhere in or near their Kingdom. They would prefer that the Palestinians remained exactly where they are or simply disappeared.
Obama is making this particular trip for a number of reasons not all of which have been stated but based on what has happened up to now one can make intelligent guesses:
1) Establish the Saudi Arabian appetite for more arms sales following the massive deal that was concluded last year
2) Reaffirm support for the Petrodollar
3) Ensure that oil prices keep going up by means of restricted oil production
4) Maintain the flow of money into the hands of Islamic jihadists in Syria, to Turkey and via them to ISIS and other groups loyal to them
5) Ensure that Saudi Arabia is bearing down on the Houthis in Yemen