Saudi Arabia is not a U.S. ally no matter how many times the president, Pompeo, and other senior administration officials affirm it. Unlike traditional allies, such as Britain, Canada, France or Australia, the Saudis don’t share fundamental American values: respect for human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. At best, they are an occasional and often reluctant, half-hearted security partner and their interests, particularly under the influence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (commonly known as MBS), only episodically align with ours.
Nor, as Trump and Pompeo have argued, can Saudi Arabia serve as the linchpin of America’s Middle East regional strategy. Indeed, the Trump administration has wildly exaggerated Saudi Arabia’s importance, inflated its capacity to play such a role and minimized the risks of our current relationship with MBS. The fact is, Saudi Arabia simply isn’t as important to the U.S. as it once was. The relationship needs to be reset and rebalanced to better protect American interests.
Here’s a close look at Secretary’s Pompeo’s dubious claims.