Ever since President Franklin Roosevelt and Saudi Arabia’s founder, King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, met in February 1945, Saudi Arabia has been one of the closest Arab allies of the US. The relationship between the two has survived long-term conflicts of interest, most notably the Palestinian issue and the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

Recently, however, Riyadh has become increasingly frustrated with differences with the US over issues relating to Saudi national security, the regional balance of power and the sectarian Sunni-Shi’a conflict. These include the 2003 occupation of Iraq and the consequent evolution of pro-Iranian Shi’a party rule there; the recent indecisiveness of the US and UN in Syria; US support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Washington’s reduction of military aid to the new regime in Cairo, which Foreign Minister Prince Sa’ud al-Faisal pledged to continue to support regardless. Most recently – and most ominously from the Saudi viewpoint – however, has been the embryonic rapprochement between Iran and the US. (CONTINUED - 717 WORDS)