25-09-2018 02:01 AM Jerusalem Timing

US, Saudi under More Strain than Any Time since 1973: Report

US, Saudi under More Strain than Any Time since 1973: Report

US President Barack Obama is in Riyadh this week for talks with Saudi officials. However, many see that there are signs of real strain between the two countries.

US President Barack Obama is in Riyadh this week for talks with Saudi officials. However, many see that there are signs of real strain between the two countries.

BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, wonders if the ties between Riyadh and Washington are in terminal decline. Obama and King Salman

“Their list of grumbles and frustrations grows ever longer and is unlikely to be resolved by this important yet fleetingly brief presidential visit,” Gardner said in his report on Wednesday.

He said that the two countries have different views towards several issues in the region and the world.

“In short, the relationship is not broken - Saudi Arabia and the US still need each other - but their alliance is probably under more strain now than at any time since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Here are some of the bones of contention.”

The BBC correspondent said that the US Congress is currently contemplating a bill that could hold Saudi interests legally liable for the 9/11 attacks of 2001. In response, the Saudi government has reportedly threatened to liquidate between $750bn and $1tn of US assets.

Gardner said that the Saudis feel surrounded. They fear that thanks to the disastrous US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the Iranians are now the controlling power in three Arab capitals: Baghdad, Beirut and Damascus.

The Saudis are deeply suspicious of the recently brokered deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

They also worry that Washington is laying the foundations for eventually transferring its major strategic alliance in the Gulf from Saudi Arabia to Iran.

This topic is likely to dominate much of President Obama's talks on Wednesday and Thursday, the writer added.

Meanwhile, Gardner said that there are other issues of disagreement between US and Saudi, like the crises in Syria and Yemen, in addition to oil prices and human rights.

“None of these issues is likely to be laid to rest this week to the complete satisfaction of both parties. Washington and Riyadh will remain partners, and the multi-billion dollar defense alliance will endure,” the writer said, adding: “but there is now a degree of mutual mistrust.”