Τετάρτη, 20 Απριλίου 2016

Obama Arrives in Saudi Arabia for Gulf Summit

20-4-16




U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Riyadh Wednesday for the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit, where leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates and will discuss counterterrorism, regional stability, and Iran (AP). The meeting comes a day after Obama said his administration would support declassifying congressional documents about possible Saudi involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks (NYT). The nuclear deal with Iran and diverging strategies in Syria are also expected to come up in discussions with Saudi King Salman. Obama is joined by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry and will travel afterward to Germany and the United Kingdom (Al Jazeera).



ANALYSIS

"Obama comes armed with no real new U.S. Middle East policy, apart from the latest developments in the Iran nuclear deal—which is not anything the Tehran-phobic Saudis want to talk about. Obama, who recently expressed his pique over U.S. allies he called 'free riders,' plainly is not eager to get any more embroiled in the region than he already is; he has expressed a vague desire that Iran and Saudi Arabia should 'share the neighborhood' without saying how he hopes that will be accomplished. And after much investment, the administration seems disinclined to resume its peacemaking efforts between Israel and the Palestinian entity. America has no desire for nation-building even among nations it helped to destroy such as Iraq and Libya," writes CFR's Ray Takeyh in Politico Magazine.

"Accumulated US-Saudi irritations go back over a decade to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein under George Bush, the rise of Iraq's Shias and the abandonment of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the early days of the Arab spring. Obama's vacillation on Syria, in Saudi eyes empowering Bashar al-Assad's Iranian ally, angered King Abdullah. But under the more assertive King Salman and his ambitious son, the deputy crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman,tempers have frayed even more, especially over Iran, the Saudi-led war in Yemen – despite US support – the rise of al-Qaida there, and what are seen in Washington as the kingdom's half-hearted efforts against Isis," write Ian Black and David Smith in the Guardian.

"President Obama will have plenty of sticky issues to deal with on his visit this week to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Turmoil in Syria, the fight against the Islamic State, the Iran nuclear deal, regional politics — all of these are important. But there's another, equally important piece of business Mr. Obama should put on the agenda: He should urge Saudi King Salman to free imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi," writes theWashington Post's editorial board.



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