Summary: The Saudis have not liked the United States’ re-orientation of strategic interests in the Middle East – buttressed by a far greater autonomy in energy supply. Syria, Iran and perhaps even Egypt (where the Saudis are predicting some US objections ahead in light of an obvious revival of the military government, starting with the US announced ban on the sale of military equipment to Cairo) are at the heart of this re-orientation of American priorities – a shift that the Saudis might well describe as a ‘betrayal’ from what has been their historical ally in the Middle East. Obama’s decision not to intervene militarily against al- Assad was a shock to Riyadh, which has been left more isolated as a result of the Russian-American understanding on Syria’s elimination of its chemical weapons. And of course, the rift between Riyadh and Washington over Syria has only widened by the new course of relations between the U.S. and Iran. The new and odd common front between the Tehran and Washington against the proliferation of jihad in Syria may prove very difficult for the Saudis to digest.
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