SAUDI ARABIA: After attending the Republic Day celebration in India, Obama, with his 30 member delegation team will now fly to Saudi Arabia to meet the new king of Saudi Arabia, King Salman. Obama’s team includes top officials and Republic foreign policy veterans.
Obama will arrive in Riyahad at around 3:25PM (1225 GMT) and will stay there for only four hours. The trip is totally unscheduled one and was made by cutting short Obama’s India trip. Obama was to stay in India for 3 days which was shortened to one day. He did not visit the monument of love, Taj Mahal. According to critics, apart from officially paying the respect to the death of King Abdullah, Obama’s visit is actually to strengthen the relations of US with Saudi alliance that extends beyond oil interests to regional security. Obama’s visit is also important as Washington is struggling with still more worsening strife in the Middle East and Saudi Arab is among the few steady partners of US in a campaign against Islamic States militants.
“Whatever the final communique says, the subjects most likely to be discussed … are Syria, Iran, ISIS, and oil prices,” wrote Simon Henderson, an expert on U.S.-Saudi relations at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The most interesting question for President Obama will be whether King Salman and his team of advisers have an order of priority that differs from King Abdullah`s.”
According to White House, Republican elder statesmen James Baker, secretary of state in the George H.W. Bush administration, and Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Ford and H.W. Bush will be joining Obama in Saudi Arab.
Despite the alliance between the US and Saudi has been a cornerstone of US’s middle east policy, Riyadh has made very clear that it is impatient with failure of Obama’s administration to do more to oust Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and also its anxiety to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.