News / Middle East

Saudi Officials Piqued at US Middle East Policies

Saudi Officials Piqued at US Middle East Policiesi
October 24, 2013 6:04 PM
The U.S. has downplayed recent tensions with Saudi Arabia, but some in the region say the problems may not be easily pushed aside. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.
Saudi Officials Piqued at US Middle East Policies
Elizabeth Arrott
The U.S. has downplayed recent tensions with Saudi Arabia, but some in the region say the problems may not be easily pushed aside.

The normally staid kingdom has rebuffed a seat on the U.N. Security Council, hinted it might go it alone on Syria, and most surprisingly, made clear its anger at long-time ally the United States.

Saudi editor and author Jamal Khashoggi, speaking to VOA via Skype, said, “What Saudi Arabia is probably worried about is that America is only interested in the nuclear issue with Iran, Israeli security, and they will leave to us the mess that we have in the Middle East to sort out ourselves.”

The “mess” in the wake of the Arab Spring is extensive. Saudi officials were furious over the U.S. reversal on strikes against Syria's government, an ally of Saudi rival Iran. Frustration grew over Washington's handling of Egypt. America's top diplomat called the ouster of an elected president "restoring democracy," but then Washington cut aid.

Political analyst Mustafa Labbad said U.S. Mideast policy lately is seen largely as a series of missteps. "You have to have a sophisticated plan as a super power. If you don't have it - so, you wouldn't achieve anything,” he said.

Hovering over all is the sectarian struggle between Sunnis and Shi'ites - roughly translated in Saudi leaders' eyes as Saudi Arabia versus Iran. U.S overtures to Tehran, in hopes of curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions, do not help.

Washington has downplayed the idea of a U.S-Saudi rift, but former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli said America needs to reassure its Middle East allies.

“We are neglecting them at our peril, because we need them. I think we are taking them a little bit for granted, frankly. And that includes Saudi Arabia," said Ereli.

Key strategic interests continue to bind the United States and Saudi Arabia - anti-terrorism and oil among the top issues. Many think those will outlast the current tensions. There may be a more fundamental change afoot, however, according to Khashoggi.

“What is happening in the Middle East is a rebirth, something similar to what happened in 1918 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. And it really needs stable, strong countries to manage that rebirth,” he said.

Those countries, he hopes, will be Saudi Arabia, with Sunni partners, such as Turkey. The question is whether or not Iran envisions a Shi'ite version of that scenario. Analysts believe it likely does.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Charles Mayson from: NZ
October 24, 2013 5:16 PM
The USA's incestuous relationship with the Tent Kingdom of the Saudis is long overdue in coming to an end. it always was one of the utmost cynicism and motivated by growing needs for oil and energy. But now this dependency is eroding and the price of it has been the explosion of Sunni Terrorism, with the USA as a primary target on Sept 11 and so many countries around the world. The quicker the USA and it allies sever this immoral and counterproductive relationship, the better. Le the uncivilised tent people wallow in their obscene material weath and be starved of any moral worth. It's what they deserve and it's been a long time coming.A national shower in antiseptic would cleanse America too.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs