American Elephants


A Visit to Saudi Arabia by The Elephant's Child

96379-004-BADCACC3President Obama will pass up on the planned side trip to take Michelle to see the Taj Mahal during his three-day visit to India, in order to visit Saudi Arabia, where he will ‘pay respects’ to the family of the late King Abdullah, and meet with the new King Salman.

The Taj Mahal has been virtually ‘locked down’ this week as U.S. security teams prepared the fabled mausoleum for the president’s visit, now cancelled. Vice President Biden had been scheduled to make the trip to Saudi Arabia, but it  was cancelled when it was realized that Biden and Obama would cross paths as the president left the region and the vice president arrived.

It has been widely reported in the press that King Abdullah detested President Obama, and his successors follow his priorities. King Salman is not in good health, and Crown Prince Migrin may stand in when needed, and the younger generation Mohammed has been named Deputy Crown Prince so the line of succession is clear. King Abdullah had an excellent relationship with George W. Bush, and he visited the Bushes at  the Crawford Ranch.

Mr. Obama is reported to be taking a “gift” to the Saudis with a plan to close off 12 million acres of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to any potential drilling by declaring it to be “Wilderness.” That is based on the assumption, popular in the press, that the reason the Saudis have continued to pump oil in the wake of the declining price of oil, is their attempt to force frackers out of the market.

Looking clearly at the state of the Middle East, it seems far more likely that they are hoping to cause problems for the Iranian economy which needs a higher price for oil to break even. It does not help that Obama is releasing Iran’s assets held in this country to Iran in the supposition that  will be more persuasive in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons than busting their economy. Strategy is not exactly one of the strong points of the Obama administration. And there doesn’t seem to be anybody there with a clear understanding of the Middle East.


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Oh, goody. Obama is going to try to “repair” the relationship with the House of Saud. Good luck. The Saudi royal family doesn’t like Obama anyway, and I’m sure that Obama’s legendary skills at diplomacy will do nothing but cement that opinion. Salman will be polite, correct, and courteous to the Obama’s, but that will be about it. The Saud family isn’t going to change their plans at the request of THIS president.

Oh, and let’s not forget about India. They are quite touchy about the respect shown to their national shrines and holy places, and if they had closed it off for a week ahead of time, they are not going to appreciate Obama deciding not to go at the last minute. Obama would have been better served by just adding another day to his trip. He will have annoyed the Indian government, and he’ll probably find some way to to aggravate the Saudi’s.

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Comment by Lon Mead




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