The United States stands to lose Saudi Arabia as an ally if it thwarts a United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood this month, a former top Saudi official said.
“Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America in the same way it historically has,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said in a New York Times opinion piece that could not have been published without official sanction. “Saudi leaders would be forced by domestic and regional pressures to adopt a far more independent and assertive foreign policy.
“Like our recent military support for Bahrain’s monarchy, which America opposed, Saudi Arabia would pursue other policies at odds with those of the United States, including opposing the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Iraq and refusing to open an embassy there despite American pressure to do so. The Saudi government might part ways with Washington in Afghanistan and Yemen as well.”
The Obama administration has said it would veto any attempt to get the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, and would attempt to head off symbolic recognition in the General Assembly. It is attempting to arrive at a formula for renewing peace talks before the votes take place.