Saudis feel ‘abandoned’ by US over Houthi security threats, senior royal says


A man inspects his house which was damaged by an intercepted missile following what the Saudi-led coalition called a foiled Houthi missile attack, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 28, 2021. REUTERS /Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

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DUBAI, May 2 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia feels “disappointed” by the United States in tackling security threats to the kingdom and the wider region from Yemen’s Houthi movement aligned with the Iran, said a senior official in the Saudi royal family and former intelligence chief. .

The traditionally strong ties between Riyadh and Washington have been shaken under US President Joe Biden by the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents and the ruinous war in Yemen in which a Saudi-led coalition is fighting the Houthis for seven years. .

“The Saudis view the relationship as strategic, but (feel) abandoned at a time when we thought America and Saudi Arabia should be together to address what we would consider commonality, not only irritating, but dangerous for the stability and security of the region,” Prince Turki al-Faisal said, referring to the Houthi missile and drone attacks.

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His remarks came in a video interview with the Saudi Arabian newspaper Arab News published on Monday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which rely on the US security umbrella, are chafing at what they see as a decline in US engagement in their region. The conflict in Ukraine has highlighted tensions as Gulf OPEC producers have resisted calls to help isolate Russia and pump more oil to rein in prices. Read more

“We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, and maybe right now it’s one of the lows, especially as the President of the United States, in his election campaign, has said he would make Saudi Arabia a pariah and of course he went to practice what he preached,” Prince Turki said.

The former ambassador to Washington went on to list Biden’s decision to end US support for coalition offensive operations in Yemen, not to meet with de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and “at some point” to withdraw US anti-missile systems from the kingdom, the world’s largest oil exporter.

In recent months, the United States has increased its military support for Riyadh in a bid to strengthen ties, Western diplomats said. Read more

Prince Turki does not currently hold any government post but remains influential as President of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.

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Written by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Nick Macfie

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