In a serious rebuff to U.S. diplomacy, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has refused to receive Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the eve of a critical regional summit on the future of the war-ravaged country, Iraqi and other Arab officials said yesterday.
The Saudi leader’s decision reflects the growing tensions between the oil-rich regional giants, the deepening skepticism among Sunni leaders in the Middle East about Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, and Arab concern about the prospects of U.S. success in Iraq, the sources said. The Saudi snub also indicates that the Maliki government faces a creeping regional isolation unless it takes long-delayed actions, Arab officials warn.
For the United States, the Saudi cold shoulder undermines hopes of healing regional tensions between Sunni- and Shiite-dominated governments and producing a new spirit of cooperation on Iraq at the summit, to be held Thursday and Friday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the sources warn.
You blew it, Abdullah, you’ll never get to first base again.
Hat-tip to Attaturk.