A prominent U.S. newspaper is reporting that U.S. President Barack Obama is planning to travel to Saudi Arabia in March in an attempt to smooth tensions with the kingdom over U.S. policy on Iran and Syria. "The Wall Street Journal," quoting Saudi officials, reported on January 31 that Obama is preparing to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. A White House spokesman declined to comment on the report.
File Photo: President Barack Obama with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and members of the Saudi delegation - White House, June 29, 2010.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The United States and Saudi Arabia have been allies since the kingdom was formed in 1932.
But relations have been tested recently by Washington's outreach to Tehran and its unwillingness to get involved militarily in Syria's civil war.
Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Muslim kingdom and a regional rival of Shi'ite Iran, an ally of Syria.
The rivalry has amplified sectarian tensions across the Middle East.
Based on reporting by Reuters and "The Wall Street Journal"
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
Saudis Should Welcome A US Move Toward Iran - Shortly after President Obama's startling telephone conversation with Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, a Saudi Arabian journalist wrote that "The phone call between Obama and Rouhani shocked the Gulf states, Jordan, Turkey, Israel, and other countries." No matter which president initiated the call, he wrote, "What is important to know is what stands behind the conversation and how deep the ties are between America and Iran." -Thomas W. Lippman 10/4/13
Iran-Contra Redux? Prince Bandar Heads Secret Saudi-CIA Effort to Aid Syrian Rebels, Topple Assad - The Wall Street Journal recently revealed new details about how Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (Saudi's former ambassador to the United States) is leading the effort to prop up the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels -Democracy Now 9/7/13 - (Part II of the interview)
... Payvand News - 02/01/14 ... --