Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Great Relations

Another failure in Middle East diplomacy:

Despite the Bush Administration's plan to provide $20 billion worth of advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's latest visit there to reiterate common purpose on Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, relations between Washington and Riyadh are troubled. The two countries still share the same goals, but the Saudis are hanging tough on issues where they believe the current U.S. Administration, with only 18 months left in office, is pursuing policies that are unlikely to achieve those shared goals. Even the show of unity Wednesday between Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and Secretary Rice could not hide the differences: The Saudis vowed only to "consider" opening full diplomatic
relations with the Iraqi government, for example, and while they backed the Bush
Administration's plan to hold a Middle East peace conference in the fall, the Saudis declined to indicate that they would attend such an event, and made clear their participation would come only when Israel was ready to discuss the "final status" issues that it wants deferred.

I guess $20 billion in weapons doesn't buy much anymore.

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