Is Saudi Arabia really a crucial strategic ally for the U.S.?

While President Trump has wavered between dismissiveness and criticism in his comments on the killing of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on one statement he has remained firm and consistent: Saudi Arabia is a crucial strategically.

And as such, he argues, any punishment of Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in killing Khashoggi should be limited.

But how much of an ally on behalf of U.S. interests is the repressive desert kingdom? The two countries have had a long if often fraught relationship in the more than 80 years since the United States, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, recognized the kingdom shortly after the Saud royal family formed it atop vast oil reserves.