The White House Monday pushed back hard on the notion that Saudi King Salman’s abrupt cancellation of his participation in a meeting and summit with President Obama this week is a “snub,” insisting that other high level Saudis who will be in attendance – including the crown prince – ensure the “right” people will be on hand.
“There has been some speculation that this change in travel plans was an attempt to send a message to the United States,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “If so, that message was not received,” Earnest said, noting the Saudis themselves have said travel plans were changed for the king to monitor the situation in Yemen.
As if there are no other who could do that.
The summit was arranged so Obama can try to convince Gulf leaders that the Iran deal is a great thing for world peace, which all the Gulf leaders know it’s not.
“We’re confident we will have the right people around the table to attend the meetings at Camp David,” Earnest said.
Well, don’t believe it. I’m sure the White House is furious. When was the last time you heard of an ally sending the second string to meet with the president of the United States? Can you imagine the reaction overseas if Obama suddenly cancelled a trip and sent Biden?
Other Gulf leaders are also sending deputies, although most because the top dogs are too sick to attend.
This is a message, even if denied, that Saudi Arabia is unhappy with the arrangement being struck with Iran, as are other Gulf states. It will force Saudi Arabia to develop its own nuclear weapons. And that’s not an arms race they want to have with Iran, or that they can win.