In what could prove to have devastating impact on America's energy infrastructure and the overall US economy, Saudi Arabia's leadership is reported to have said that it is “so unhappy with the Obama administration for the way it pushed out President Mubarak of Egypt” that it is actively seeking better economic ties with America's most significant competitors, China and Russia.
Reporting on the challenges facing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates across the broader Middle East region, NBC's "Nightly News" said that Mr. Gates is experiencing very tough questions throughout his regional tour.
"And a lot of those questions presumably will come from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,” Tom Brokaw reported on Wednesday, according to CNS News
. “I was told on the way in here that the Saudis are so unhappy with the Obama administration for the way it pushed out President Mubarak of Egypt that it sent high level emissaries to China and Russia to tell those two countries that Saudi Arabia now is prepared to do more business with them.”
The unrest sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East and the demands for reform and democracy in the countries most affected by the popular uprisings have put Arab monarchies and dictatorships on notice. Most US allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, do not offer representative government and have not instituted any meaningful reforms for their respective populations.
Protests raging in Yemen and Bahrain, and the uneasy prospect of more organized popular demands emerging in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, reflect environments where key American allies are seeing their governments under siege and crumbling.
Voice of America reported
on Wednesday that Gulf State mediators have asked Yemen's president to resign. Meanwhile, Bahrain's leadership has further cracked down on protesters
there, according to The New York Times
However, Saudi Arabia's concerns emanate from the manner in which Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was removed from power. Mubarak had been an American ally for decades and yet the Obama administration, in the eyes of Saudi criticism, turned its back on the Egyptian government when reformist protests spilled into the streets.
Mr. Gates met with the Saudi king on Wednesday, and the Associated Press reported
that the purpose of the meeting was to smooth relations with the uneasy and oil-rich ally, noting that "this was Gates' third trip to the area in the past month."
Saudi Arabia is ranked third among crude oil imports to the US, representing over a million barrels of oil per day, according to the US Energy Information Administration