Skip to main content

US, Saudi drifting apart despite Obama visit

The core pillars that sustained the US-Saudi alliance for decades are crumbling, as changing geopolitical, energy and regional dynamics strain relations.
U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) is escorted from Marine One to Air Force One as he departs Saudi Arabia to return to Washington March 29, 2014. Obama sought to reassure Saudi King Abdullah on Friday that he would support moderate Syrian rebels and reject a bad nuclear deal with Iran, during a visit designed to allay the kingdom's concerns that its decades-old U.S. alliance had frayed.      REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3J2HK

Nothing new came from US President Barack Obama’s visit to Riyadh on March 28, except a few additional photographs of the leaders of both countries and a modest dispelling of some contentious issues. Other matters were left to be treated at another juncture, as former Saudi diplomat Abdullah al-Shammari told Al-Monitor.

On the day Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia, Al-Riyadh newspaper published an editorial by Yousef Alkowaileet titled “Divorce or New Relations with America?” The article discussed the reasons behind the tensions that existed between the two countries, including Washington’s negotiations with Tehran. Alkowaileet alluded to the latter by criticizing Obama’s good-faith gestures toward Iran, reminding him that the Saudis know their region’s history very well.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.