Many of us, including myself, were unhappy with the tumultuous relationship between the Obama administration and the Saudi elites. Except Saudi Arabia, behind closed doors, has never liked us. I’m looking back and thinking now – I’m not as upset. I’m not convinced a Saudi Arabia with broad powers in the Middle East is what we want.
The red line drama was terrible for relations with the Saudis. However, they did, after all, come back around. They’re every bit as much reliant on us as we are on them. No, indeed, it might be a good thing. In some ways, it’s ironic that Obama has just vetoed the bill that would allow Americans to draw lawsuit against the kingdom. I wonder how he felt about it.
Are the Saudis our friends? The real Saudis, not just the elites who only in part are sympathetic. Because those who control the country, or have a high level of influence are the religious clerics. In his final words before other royalty, the late Saudi King chastised his senior religious clerics for not outright rebutting ISIL. They did not and have not. I think I understand why, ISIL’s use of Islamic law and code, exploited or not, has some standing with them. It must be because they’ve covered one of their eyes to it. It might be national pride – because so many extremist foreign fighters are Saudis. It might also be some sympathy. Most importantly, it might be because these hardliners desire ISIL as a tool to thwart Iran, and the Shia, in general.
Interestingly, I had always heard that Obama was someone who favored the Gulf Sunni states over the Shia regime. In his defense, I don’t know if anyone publicly prefers the Iranians. Regardless of those rumors Obama was snubbed by the Saudis and our relationship is not as strong as it has been in the past. Obama is clearly distrustful of the Saudis and has become increasingly weary of their role in the Middle Eastern neighborhood. But Obama’s stance with the Saudis is reflective of our society as a whole. We’ve become increasingly aware of their role in the uptick of terrorism and loss of American life in conflicts abroad. They’re aren’t directly involved or can be proved to be complicit. The average American probably harbors a suspicion that they’re one of the heads of the snake. The other head, Iran.