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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora