U.S. Needs a Persian Gulf Strategy That Doesn’t Depend on Saudi Arabia

President Barack Obama with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Sept. 4, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).
President Barack Obama with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Sept. 4, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).
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For decades, American security strategy in the Persian Gulf has been built on a partnership with Saudi Arabia. But despite this relationship’s importance, it was always peculiar and tense, pairing a democratic global power with a secular approach to foreign policy on one hand with a stridently conservative authoritarian regime on the other. Given the Saudi regime’s internal repression and international support for a brand of Islam that sometimes provides an ideological gateway to violent extremism, few Americans felt any affinity for the desert kingdom. The relationship was seen as unpleasant but necessary to stabilize global oil prices and prevent […]

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