The Arab Spring is causing tensions in one of the Middle East's most enduring alliances - between the United States and Saudi Arabia. And the cracks are beginning to show over Syria, Egypt and Iran.So much so that the Saudi Foreign Minister delivered a message;
...when Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, did not make his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly recently, it was seen as a diplomatic slight, aimed not only at the UN Security Council's failure to take action over Syria, but also at one of Saudi Arabia's oldest allies: the United States.You not only have to go to war with the army you have, but to war by other means with the allies you make;
...the Saudi are increasingly coming to believe that the US is going soft and not doing enough to help the Arab world. Stoking Saudi suspicion is the recent charm offensive undertaken by the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who began making conciliatory gestures to the US over Iran's nuclear program at the United Nations last month, culminating in this Tuesday's nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva.
With Saudi Arabia backing the rebels in Syria, and Iran helping to prop up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, the longstanding rivalry between the regional powers has found a violent flashpoint. The Saudi kingdom was therefore dismayed to see the US welcoming - albeit cautiously - the new moderate tone coming from Tehran.
"The Saudis' worst nightmare would be the administration striking a grand bargain with Iran," former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan told Reuters. Such a deal could, for example, see Washington willing to tolerate Iran's influence in Syria in exchange for inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.Or, the promise of inspections.