Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah: In Iraq “blood flows between brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation & hateful sectarism."
When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah opened the Arab Summit in Riyadh this week, speaking about Iraq as a land where “blood flows between brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation and hateful sectarianism,” he offended many policymakers in Washington. But the statement was only one signal among many that, in the face of explosive conflicts that the Bush administration has caused or failed to contain, the king is out to assert Saudi Arabia’s role as an independent leader in the region. The goals—to stabilize Iraq, build an Arab-Israeli peace and contain the growing influence of Iran—are the same as Washington’s. But the means to those ends are very different.