Reuters reports: Differences between the United States and Saudi Arabia over Middle East policy persist, despite attempts to shore up their old alliance, and may prove calamitous for Syrian rebels.
Although there is evidence that some American weapons are starting to find their way to more moderate groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, disagreements over what to supply, and to whom, have hindered the fight.
Rebels lament a lack of anti-aircraft missiles to help counter Assad’s air force.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funding the rebels for years now, arguing that the war in Syria is a battle for the future of the Middle East, pitting pro-Western forces against Riyadh’s main enemy Iran and Islamist militants.
However, while the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama also blames Assad for the violence and wants him to leave power, it sees the conflict very differently.
American officials fear involvement in a messy civil war for which they see no clear military solution and which threatens to radicalize a new generation of Islamists who hate the West.
Among the rebels, the failure of the Saudis and the Americans to cooperate better stirs disillusion. Two hours of talks between Obama and Saudi King Abdullah in March appear to have done little to alter that sentiment. [Continue reading…]