News / Middle East

Saudi-US Rift Causes Severe Diplomatic Strain

Saudi-US Rift Causes Severe Diplomatic Straini
X
October 28, 2013 9:25 PM
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States are causing a severe strain on what has been a rock-solid relationship. As VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports, Saudi officials are expressing anger and concern over America’s evolving policies in the Middle East.
Meredith Buel
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States are causing a severe strain on what has been a rock-solid relationship. Saudi officials are expressing anger and concern over America’s evolving policies in the Middle East.

Saudi government officials are fuming over U.S. policy regarding the bloody Syrian civil war.

In Egypt, the Saudis are supporting the military-backed government.

While the United States is suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid following the coup which ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  

But mostly the Saudis are worried about the military strength of arch-rival Iran.

And a possible thaw in relations between Washington and Tehran over the country’s controversial nuclear program.

Clifford May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

“The signs are that the Saudis are angry, that they are exasperated, that they are frustrated and I think if you had to come down to a one line reason why, it is because the U.S. is not showing leadership in the Middle East at this moment," said May.

Riyadh is unhappy the U.S. has not been more aggressive in arming the Syrian rebels.

And the Saudis complained about the White House decision to embrace an agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weaponw - rather than launch a cruise missile strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who now appears to be in a stronger position.

“I don’t see any obstacles to being nominated to run in the next elections," said Assad.

Riyadh even rejected a seat on the U.N. Security Council, citing its lack of success in resolving conflicts in the Middle East.

Middle East analyst Hany Al-Gamal:

“It actually wants the international community to know that Saudi Arabia, as a well-off country and a significant regional power, should have a say on the issue of the Syria crisis, and no one should impose their own views on others," said  Al-Gamal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he understands the Saudis' disappointment with some of Washington’s decisions, but says the allies are working together.

“And I am convinced we are on the same page as we are proceeding forward, and I look forward to working very closely with our Saudi friends and allies," said Kerry.

Riyadh is most concerned about the Obama’s administration’s potential for warmer relations with Iran, following a highly symbolic phone call between the U.S. president and his new Iranian counterpart.

Again, Clifford May:

“The Saudis depend on U.S. leadership in that region and they see the alternative, frankly as the rise of Iran as a bully, a hegemon, eventually, maybe sooner rather than later, a nuclear-armed master of the Middle East," he said.

Analysts say it is too early to know whether Saudi Arabia’s anger with Washington is a diplomatic spat or a significant split in bilateral relations.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid