Saudis “have lost some of their confidence in the ability of the United States to come to their aid,” Ben-Meir, Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute, said in regard to the decline in relations between the two nations.
Riyadh was particularly displeased with Obama making it clear that “Iran is a fact of life” and a “major power,” with which Saudis must “share their neighborhood.” Ben-Meir stressed that the standoff between the two Middle East countries could only be “mitigated by peaceful means.”
The necessity for peace talks must be translated to the conflict in Yemen first, according to the analyst, as both Riyadh and Tehran are “playing the role and are engaged in the proxy war” in the embattled country.
“They need to understand that they both have roles to play and they can neither exclude one another from playing this role,” he stressed. “The role of the US is to emphasize the importance of Iran and Saudi Arabia working together.”
Regarding US legislation allowing for the Saudis to be sued in US courts for their complicity in the 9/11 attacks, Ben-Meir believes that this is a trick to distract Americans focused on the ongoing presidential elections.
In Ben-Meir’s view, this move is “not going to translate into something significant, given the environment in which we are specifically at the moment,” adding that this particular issue with the Saudis will be allayed. “But they are also interested in what the future president is going to do.”