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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Obama Arrives In Saudi Arabia To "Reassure" His Close Ally That Nothing Has Changed

President Obama with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef,
center, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in May 2015

As the WSJ reports, Obama arrived today in the Saudi kingdom for a brief trip "meant to provide reassurances to Gulf allies and to bolster his own foreign-policy legacy."

With just nine months left in office, Mr. Obama is aiming to steady what have become rocky relationships in the region and to tackle issues ranging from the fight against Islamic State to addressing Iranian aggression, along with easing tensions between Tehran and Saudi Arabia. But in Riyadh, the president will find frustrated allies who already have begun to look ahead to the next administration.

Obama plans to spend about 28 hours in the Saudi capital, holding talks with King Salman Wednesday afternoon and attending a Thursday summit hosted by leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. This trip, perhaps the last to Riyadh during Mr. Obama’s presidency, serves as a bookend for an administration that once sought a “new beginning” for the U.S. and the Islamic world, but now is confronting the prospect of a tense conclusion to this chapter.

Of course, the main reason for the simmering Saudi tensions has been the thawing of US relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's self-proclaimed biggest regional threat.

Meanwhile, from the NYT, here are some pointers on what Obama should not do during his visit: sell even more weapons to the belligerent kingdom in exchange for goodwill that only lasts as long as the status quo is not threatened.

Credit to Zero Hedge

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