Upset at President Barack Obama's policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a 'major shift' in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria's civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.
'The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,' the source close to Saudi policy said. 'Saudi doesn't want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.'
It was not immediately clear whether the reported statements by Prince Bandar, who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington for 22 years, had the full backing of King Abdullah.
The growing breach between the United States and Saudi Arabia was also on display in Washington, where another senior Saudi prince criticized Obama's Middle East policies, accusing him of 'dithering' on Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace.The Saudis are not stupid. If they have advanced far enough to break off ties with the country that has guaranteed their existence for the past 50+ years, it is only because they have already found (or believe they have found) another guarantor. Probably China. But there could be much more to this. Part of the quid pro quo of the United States defending Saudi Arabia was that Saudi Arabia would conduct oil trades in dollars. Presumably, if the Saudis have obtained another guarantor, there would be an agreement to use that nation's currency for oil transactions, whether solely or in addition to dollars. Whatever the terms, our oil-backed currency could soon be a free-floating fiat currency in truth, with a resulting drop in value.