The United States has become concerned over what officials describe as a chill in its relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East Newline has confirmed the Saudi regime has been dismayed by President Barack Obama’s decision to seek a reconciliation with Iran, and Saudi leaders have sent a series of warnings saying this would directly harm U.S. allies in the Gulf.

“The Saudis are beginning to back away from us and consider other strategic alliances,” an official said.

President Barack Obama plans to visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday during his three-day trip to Egypt, Germany and France. Officials said the president added Riyadh to his itinerary amid warnings that Saudi leaders were becoming increasingly frustrated with the U.S. policy of reconciliation with Iran.

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The Saudi royal family was not comforted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit earlier this month, officials said. They said Mr. Gates, despite his promises of additional U.S. weapons and training, was treated coolly by King Abdullah and his aides.

“The president believes it’s an important opportunity to discuss important business, like Middle East peace, but it’s not born out of anything specific,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Mr. Gibbs said the president would discuss U.S. policy toward Iran during his visit to Riyadh and particularly its nuclear program. The spokesman said the president would also seek Saudi support for U.S. efforts to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

The surprise Saudi visit stemmed from the cancellation of a summit between Egypt and the United States later this month.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, citing the death of his grandson, decided to cancel his trip to Washington in coordination with Saudi King Abdullah.

“There are a few Arab states who are very anxious over our policy toward Iran and have dismissed U.S. promises to compensate by additional weapons and an accelerated Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” the official said.

President Obama was apparently persuaded to visit Riyadh before his scheduled address to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday, in order to personally assure King Abdullah said Saudi interests would not be harmed by a U.S. reconciliation with Tehran. Saudi influence in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as the kingdom’s role as the world’s leading supplier of crude oil and weapons importer, would remain stable.

Saudi Oil Industry Again Target Of Al-Qaida Terrorists

Al-Qaida appears to have renewed its campaign against Saudi Arabia’s energy industry.

Al-Qaida has resumed its campaign of tracking and striking Westerners in the Saudi kingdom. They said the focus once again appears to be the Western expatriate community in and around the Eastern Province, which contains the bulk of the Saudi crude oil reserves.

On Tuesday, al-Qaida was believed to have attacked a bus full of Western workers in Jubail. Three British nationals came under gunfire in the nighttime ambush.

“None of the passengers was harmed,” Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said.

Maj. Gen. al-Turki said the attackers targeted a bus that contained five foreigners in the industrial region of Jubail. He said the bus contained three British passengers, a Pakistani, a Saudi and a Syrian.

This marked the first attack on foreigners in Saudi Arabia since 2007, when three French expatriates were shot dead during a desert trip. Al-Qaida was also said to have been responsible for the killings.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

1 COMMENT

  1. The time may come when the Vaticans plans backfire and the Sons of Abraham re unite to fight another day as one, too save us all.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.