The Russian p.o.v.
Back at the Times, a news analysis piece by David Sanger revealed this nugget on the decades-old US-Saudi relationship: “The United States has usually looked the other way or issued carefully calibrated warnings in human rights reports as the Saudi royal family cracked down on dissent and free speech and allowed its elite to fund Islamic extremists. In return, Saudi Arabia became America’s most dependable filling station, a regular supplier of intelligence, and a valuable counterweight to Iran.”
Hold it right there. The United States, we are told, has allowed the Saudi elite to “fund Islamic terrorists” in a tawdry trade-off for self-interests, principally the supply of oil. This is something that much of the world has long suspected, but now the two main newspapers of the US are openly saying it.
While the Obama administration did not publicly condemn the Saudi execution of Sheikh Nimr, it was reported that senior officials were angry at the House of Saud for ignoring back-channel advice to rescind the death sentence.
That the New York Times and the Washington Post are now calling into question the relationship with the kingdom shows that there is a top-level debate within the American political establishment about the bilateral relationship.
What is motivating Washington’s growing impatience with the Saudis is that the regional instability is jeopardizing US diplomatic efforts to launch a political process in Syria, whereby the Obama administration is trying to engineer its long-held goal of achieving regime change in the Arab country. The political talks are due to begin later this month in Geneva and involve the participation of Russia and Iran, as well as the Saudis.