U.S.-Saudi rivalry intensifies

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Senior U.S. diplomats have been dropping by the royal palace in Amman almost every week this spring to convince Jordanian King Abdullah II that democratic reform is the best way to quell the protests against his rule.

But another powerful ally also has been lobbying Abdullah — and wants him to ignore the Americans.

Saudi Arabia is urging the Hashemite kingdom to stick to the kind of autocratic traditions that have kept the House of Saud secure for centuries, and Riyadh has been piling up gifts at Abdullah’s door to sell its point of view.

The Saudis last month offered Jordan a coveted opportunity to join a wealthy regional bloc called the Gulf Cooperation Council, a move that would give the impoverished kingdom new investment, jobs and security ties. To sweeten the pot, the Saudis wrote a check for $400 million in aid to Amman two weeks ago, their first assistance in years.

The quiet contest for Jordan is one sign of the rivalry that has erupted across the Middle East this year between Saudi Arabia and the United States, longtime allies that have been put on a collision course by the popular uprisings that have swept the region.

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2 thoughts on “U.S.-Saudi rivalry intensifies

  1. scottindallas

    There’s no conflict here. The Saudis and the Americans want the same thing. You might well be confusing the public image with the real one.

  2. DE Teodoru

    Really scotindallas? The Saudis want to rule the Salafis and to keep eating those perodollars. We want to go beyond oil. Under guise of NEOCON DEMOCRATIC REFORM AGENDA Bush sought to dominate any oil asset besides Saudis so he could please Israel without fear of a squeeze of the tap. But when Bush failed and Obama is just running home the Saudis are playing the Israelis’ game in hope that they will wipe out Iran. And, once the youthful Arab Spring for secular modernization unfolded, the Saudis want it stopped before it crosses their border. So an anti-Arab pro-Israel and anti-Iran Salafi regime is, above all else, a contradiction of and onto itself whose only goal is to be fat amorally fat and happy. The rest is Kool-aid illusions for lumpen Islamic idealists who want a modern future for the Arab World.

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