A cold shoulder: Can Saudi monarch afford US enmity?
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2016-04-24 04:41:55

A cold shoulder: Can Saudi monarch afford US enmity?



The US President Barack Obama faced a cold reception in Saudi Arabia, report the western media outlets. The Guardian notes that the Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud did not personally meet the US president at the airport. Instead, he sent a small delegation of governmental officials to the airport headed by the governor Riyadh. He only greeted Obama in Erga palace, where they had a bilateral meeting, though he had personally greeted other lower ranking politicians from the countries of Persian Gulf on the runway. In addition, Obama’s visit did not get a special attention of the local television. The arrival of Obama was aired on Saudi television. At the same time were shown footage in which the monarch personally welcomed at the airport the other participants of the upcoming Thursday in Riyadh, the summit of the cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, reports The New York Times. In addition, Saudi Arabia’s king met Obama at the Palace dry handshake instead of a hug, as it was during the visit of President George W. Bush. At issue is a bill making its way through Congress that would allow American citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for losses suffered during 9/11, and growing pressure on the Obama administration to authorise the release of 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report that have never been made public, purportedly because they contain details of possible links between the hijackers and the Saudi regime. More dramatically, the kingdom has warned that if the bill is passed, it will consider withdrawing its investments in the United States, said to total $750 billion, with more funds parked in US treasury bills. Global financial markets have shrugged off that threat so far, which could send a shockwave through the global economy, if carried out by the Saudis. But the weak position of the Saudi regime’s fiscal health means it will suffer at least as much as the US economy — that fact considerably dilutes the probability of the threat being carried out. Likewise the legislation under consideration in the US Congress that would allow US citizens to sue the Saudi regime for the 9/11 attacks is audacious, to say the least, and could open a Pandora’s box if reciprocated by other countries. The only reasonable step in this whole affair would be the one that calls for releasing the 28 classified pages of the 9/11 commission report. If it is true that these pages contain information that may implicate the Saudi government in the attacks, then this needs to be known by the rest of the world, which has suffered the consequences of 9/11 as well. If not true, the matter needs to be laid to rest. The growing tensions between the two countries are unlikely to go away soon, especially since they are driven in large part by Saudi fears of a growing thaw in ties between Iran and America. For Pakistan it would be a good idea to not wade too deep into the belligerence engulfing the Middle East, and to stay out of the rivalry evident between important players in the region.


Categories:   World ،
Tags:   Obama ، Saudia ، US ، Aziz al Saud ،
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