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US-Saudi Relations on the Brink

Check out this July 1 article from The Atlantic (full article at the link).

For now, the Saudis are banking on the Trump administration’s allegiance. Yet they acknowledge, or at the very least pay lip service to, their precarious position.

“We in [Saudi Arabia] recognize that the relationship has come under strain recently, but we are working hard on restoring it to what it once was. We realize it’s going to take some time, but we see it as a marathon not a sprint,” a senior Saudi official wrote to us recently on the condition of anonymity to discuss the issue. That’s far from the mea culpa U.S. lawmakers are demanding.

In May, the administration invoked emergency powers to bypass Congress and sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, a show of support that nevertheless reflected the administration’s awareness that it would not have been able to get lawmakers to approve the arms sales. The Senate responded by passing several measures to try to prevent the sales—moves remarkable not just for their bipartisan backing, but also for the fact that they came amid heightened tensions with Iran, which Trump cited as grounds for the emergency transactions.

In April, Trump vetoed a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military intervention against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. He had to take that step because seven Republicans in the Senate and 16 in the House of Representatives had joined nearly every Democrat in both chambers to support the legislation.