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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Has Obama lost the Saudis, too? -- By Edward Lozansky, The Washington Times

** FILE ** Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz (right), who died on Saturday, June 16, 2012, and his brother Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz attend a welcoming ceremony for Gulf Arab leaders as they arrive in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for a Gulf Cooperation Council summit on Monday, May 14, 2012. Prince Salman has been named crown prince. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)In a visit to Moscow last July, Saudi emissary Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of Saudi intelligence, reportedly offered Russian President Vladimir Putin certain incentives if Moscow would abandon its support for the Assad government in Syria and accept its overthrow by Islamic fundamentalists supported by Saudi Arabia.

Part of Prince Bandar's purported proposition was seedy but not unheard-of in diplomatic history — an offer to grant Russian companies privileged access to Saudi oil resources and additional Saudi cooperation with Russia on energy policy. There was a more sinister element, though, more suited to a gangster movie: If Russia accommodated Saudi ambitions in Syria, Saudi Arabia could guarantee that radical Islamist terrorists would not attack the Sochi Olympics next year.

However unsavory the reported deal may be, it would not be without precedent. For more than half a century, the desert oil kingdom has oriented its international affairs around one special relationship, its bargain with the United States to supply the nation and its allies with unrestricted supplies of oil in return for guarantees of its security without undue criticism for its starkly undemocratic monarchy and human rights abuses. The special relationship has survived several major crises, notably the 1973 Saudi oil embargo and the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on America, orchestrated largely by Saudi nationals. There are signs that the U.S.-Saudi marriage of convenience may not be so convenient anymore, at least for Riyadh.

Several weeks ago, Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council after having lobbied for the seat for two years. According to both Saudi and American sources, it was an expression of dissatisfaction with the Obama administration and opposition to the recent Russia-brokered deal to prevent U.S. airstrikes against Syria.

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