It appears that two of our strongest "allies" in the war on terror aren't on speaking terms.
In a serious rebuff to U.S. diplomacy, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has refused to receive Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the eve of a critical regional summit on the future of the war-ravaged country, Iraqi and other Arab officials said yesterday.
The Saudi leader's decision reflects the growing tensions between the oil-rich regional giants, the deepening skepticism among Sunni leaders in the Middle East about Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, and Arab concern about the prospects of U.S. success in Iraq, the sources said. The Saudi snub also indicates that the Maliki government faces a creeping regional isolation unless it takes long-delayed actions, Arab officials warn.
The official reason for the Saudi decision, Iraqi officials said, is that the king's schedule is full.
Full schedule eh? Kind of sounds like what happened in Jordan last year:
President Bush 's scheduled face-to-face with al-Maliki was abruptly shelved Wednesday night, a casualty either of a reluctance to include Jordan's King Abdullah II -- as the Iraqis explained -- or, fallout from the leak of a secret White House memo that questioned the Iraqi leader's ability to govern.
Both the Saudis and the Jordanians are undoubtedly extremely dismayed by the direction of events in Iraq. They see the US bogged down battling ragtag bands of foreign jihadists and Sunni insurgents who have turned Iraq into an ungovernable failed state. They realize that the Iranians are inexorably expanding their influence in Iraq by arming and training friendly Shiite militia forces and that the Maliki government will not be a friend of theirs.
In short, they see the emerging fault lines of the new Middle East (courtesy of George W Bush) and they do not like what they see.
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