Oil Prices Threaten US-Saudi Relations

Washington loses leverage as Beijing gains clout with Riyadh
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2008 6:46 AM CDT
King Abdullah Of Saudi Arabia Meets Chinese President Hu Jintao. Relations between their two countries are solidifying as US-Saudi relations sour.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The weakening dollar and rising oil prices are marring more than just the American economy: It’s also eroding the long-standing friendly relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, the Los Angeles Times reports. A bleak economic outlook has cost the US clout with its oil-producing ally. “There’s certainly a perception that the power equation has changed,” said an oil analyst.

The oil-rich nation feels disillusioned by the US-led Iraq war and Washington’s perceived weak commitment to the Palestinians, and is ignoring American exhortations to increase oil production to keep prices lower. China is beginning to step in as a huge oil consumer and ally, and a “relationship is clearly developing rapidly,” noted another analyst, adding that Beijing may soon have greater leverage than Washington.