Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman has screamed its irritation with President Barack Obama’s eagerness to cooperate with Iran on its nuclear program by snubbing a U.S. summit and sending his crown prince instead.
The monarchy explained in its sudden announcement that King Salman won’t attend the planned meeting at Camp David because he is too busy with the crisis in Yemen.
The official version is the king cannot attend “due to the timing of the summit, the scheduled humanitarian cease-fire in Yemen and the opening of the King Salman Center for Humanitarian Aid.”
Two days earlier, the White House played up the expected meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman as a venue “to build on their close consultations.”
Since King Salman ascended to the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, there have been drastic shifts in Riyadh’s attitude in public. It has been more open about its opposition to how President Obama and the rest of the P5+1 is making a deal with Iran on its nuclear development as an end in itself instead of a means to putting an end to the threat of a nuclear Iran.
It also is scared stiff of Iran’s open desire to take over the entire Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the same page. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Washington to preach his gospel against trusting Iran, and President Obama refused to meet him since the speech was two weeks before the general elections in Israel.
Obama was looking forward to meeting King Salman as another opportunity to show how he can continue on a one-way street with Iran while bringing along a passenger who is going the other way.
King Salman, like Prime Minister Netanyahu, is not playing Obama’s political posturing.
There are some analysts who are insisting that the king’s absence from the summit is not a “snub” Obama and that the crisis in Yemen is more urgent.
But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with King Salman on Thursday and said, “I’ll see you next week.” Kerry also was with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Juber when the cease-fire in Yemen was announced.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia sent signals that it was not certain King Salman would arrive, and the kingdom confirmed the king’s absence on Saturday.
The Obama is spinning that it is business as usual with Saudi Arabia and the relationship is as strong as it has been in quite some time, just like it always assures Netanyahu of Washington’s “unbreakable bond” with Israel while it walks with Iran towards a nuclear weapon.
The Washington Post quoted a State Dept. source as saying:
They did not mean it as a snub. They were not trying to send a message.”
The newspaper also quoted Johns Hopkins International Studies lecturer Jean-Francois Seznec as saying, “I do not think this is a snub. I think on the other hand that it is a proof that the Saudis want substantive talks.”
Okay. It’s not a snub. In diplomatic language, it is “a message we aren’t happy with Obama.”
In other words, a snub. Or if not that, a spit in the face.
Or as was said by Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The king’s decision suggests that, despite all of this, he thinks he has better things to do with his time.”
In other words, a snub to get the message across to President Obama that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not alone.
So who’s coming to the party at Camp David besides the crown prince of Saudi Arabia?
There are five other Gulf States besides Saudi Arabia, and only two of them are sending a king. Two Gulf monarchs are not in good health. The third is from Kuwait, but its king, like King Salman, is sending his crown prince.
Salman’s absence could be seen as a snub to Obama’s administration, said Jon Alterman,
In one of the understatements of the year, Bloomberg News quoted Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva, as saying that “after six years of empty promises, hesitation, and indecisiveness” by Obama, the Gulf States have a “very deep lack of trust” in his administration.
Hosni Mubarak learned what it means to have friends like President Obama, who panted after the Muslim Brotherhood before turning his back on the political party that he finally realized is a terrorist organization.
Netanyahu knows exactly how mixed-up Obama is when he equates Israeli security interests with America’s.
Saudi Arabia knows how much Washington can be trusted to stand by a decision to bomb Syria because of its use of chemical weapons.
Yes. Obama stepped back by stating that the Assad regime gave up its chemical weapons, which does not exactly explain evidence that surfaced last week of a chemical weapons attack on rebel strongholds.