Angry Over Syria, Saudis Back Away From US

Intelligence chief wants more aggressive approach against Assad
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2013 4:19 PM CDT
Angry Over Syria, Saudis Back Away From US
In this 2008 photo, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan is seen at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Following his country's decision to reject a UN Security Council seat, Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is edging away from the US specifically: Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud told European officials that his country will reduce its secret work with the CIA on training Syrian rebels, reports the Wall Street Journal. He also called the Security Council rejection "a message for the US, not the UN." Saudi Arabia had wanted the US to bomb Syria, and its leaders haven't been happy with the White House's moves toward warmer relations with Iran President Hasan Rouhani.

The Saudis have had other frustrations. When they sought US Navy protection for Saudi oil during a potential attack on Syria, the US said it couldn't promise full-scale defense; and the US never gave the Saudis a list of possible military targets in Syria, despite a Saudi request. "The Saudis are very upset. They don't know where the Americans want to go," a European official says. It's not entirely clear whether the Saudi king supports the prince's position, reports NBC News. Still, it quotes an anonymous source calling the Saudi shift away from the US a "major one." (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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