It is dangerous that Saudi Arabia and the US are continuing to disagree so profoundly on the basics of their mutual foreign policy interests. The two states are very different, but have managed to find mutual commonalities for more than 60 years. It will be to the benefit of all if their alliance can be restored to the working partnership that has existed for so long, although that may need some adjustment on the part of America.
The whole Arab world has had to endure America’s blind support for Israel and its Zionist policies. However, new concerns were triggered by the revelation of secret US talks with the Iranians over the latter’s controversial nuclear programme, which could see America relax sanctions without addressing Iranian political interference across the region.
In addition, the West has refused to intervene in Syria for some years and refused again after the Bashar Al Assad government’s use of gas despite America’s public “red line”. The Saudis are convinced that the collapse of Syria and the rise of its Islamist militias could have been avoided had the West been willing to intervene to support the secular opposition and the Saudis see the spread of violence from the Syrian civil war as a major threat to the entire region.
Therefore, when a senior Saudi diplomat describes the West’s policies in Iran and Syria as a “dangerous gamble” and says that Saudi Arabia is willing to act on its own to safeguard the security of the region, it is important that the Americans take note. Prince Mohammad Bin Nawaf Bin Abdul Aziz is the Saudi Ambassador to Britain and he used the New York Times to outline his concerns at the West’s random choices of whether it should join in or ignore events in the Arab world. His measured critique of western policies follows many recent statements by senior Saudi ministers and thinkers and he is not alone in arguing that “Al Qaida’s activities in Syria are a symptom of the international community’s failure to intervene. They should not become a justification for inaction”.