Sunday, April 29, 2007

Opinion (Martin Indyk): The Honeymoon's Over for Bush and the Saudis

What has happened to the love affair between Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and President Bush? Two years ago, down on the Texas ranch, they were photographed walking hand in hand. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship: Bush dropped his demand for democratization in the puritanical kingdom, and Abdullah did his best to moderate oil prices. The dowry was a new U.S. arms deal for the Saudis. A second honeymoon was scheduled for this month, when Bush planned to host Abdullah for his first state visit.

So the White House was mightily perplexed when it was informed that the king's schedule didn't allow for a spring visit to Washington. Then, at an Arab League summit in Riyadh last month, Abdullah denounced the U.S. war in Iraq as an "illegitimate occupation." He also used the occasion to make up with Bush's bete noire, Bashar al-Assad, the brash Syrian president who had previously denounced the Saudi leader as "a dwarf."

Read the rest at the Washington Post