20 February 2016   Leave a comment

As noted in earlier posts, the traditional alliances in the Middle East are under great strain.  The longest running alliance, the US-Saudi alliance, has been around since US President Franklin Roosevelt met with King Ibn Saud during World War II.  But that alliance is now beginning to be questioned seriously.  The US feels less bound to Saudi Arabia as the balance of power in the world petroleum industry has shuffled around in recent years.  But it is the mistrust that appears to be growing over the intentions of the new King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, which seems to be underlying the US questioning.

Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud

The European Union and British Prime Minister David Cameron reached an agreement that apparently met Cameron’s demands for change.  But Cameron returned to Britain only to find that members of his own party did not believe that the concessions were sufficient.  A national referendum is scheduled to be held on 23 June and his colleagues will campaign against continued British membership in the Union.  Cameron now finds himself backed into an untenable position and the referendum could easily go against him.

Another traditional ally of the US, Thailand, is exploring the possibility of widening its relationship with other powers, notably Russia.  The cooling of US-Thai relations began after the military coup that took place in May of 2014.  After the coup, the US restricted the sale of weapons to Thailand in an effort to urge the Thai military to return civilian power.  The Thai move complicates the US effort to rally southeast Asian countries to hold a harder line against Chinese influence.

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Posted February 21, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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