Saudi Arabia will shift away from US over Iran, Syria
posted at 12:20 pm on October 22, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — especially when the actions get repeated over and over again. Thanks to the Barack Obama bluff-and-fold strategy on Syria and their new eagerness to pursue diplomatic relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia is looking to distance itself from the US:
Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the United States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.
It was not immediately clear if Prince Bandar’s reported statements had the full backing of King Abdullah.
“The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,” the source close to Saudi policy said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.”
This isn’t necessarily all bad, but it’s not very good, either. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran want to export radical and aggressive versions of Islam, and the Saudis have been supporting the extremist Sunni networks in Syria aligned with al-Qaeda in order to fight its proxy war against Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. However, Saudi Arabia has been far more accommodating on other Western priorities than Iran has been or ever will be, and they have led the other Sunni Arab states into a sort of uneasily friendly relationship with the West. If the Saudis change directions, that might make our position in the region a lot more complicated, and without any significant benefit to the US for the change in direction.