US-Saudi relationship worsening

US President Barack Obama (R) poses for photographs along with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015. ©AFP

Is America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in trouble?  Reports claim Riyadh has refused the Pentagon’s offer of combat ships to modernize its fleet in the Persian Gulf. 

Is this because of cooling relations with Washington, or because the kingdom’s economy is suffering from falling oil prices and the high cost of its long-lasting aggression against their neighbor, Yemen? A former US diplomat says the declining relationship began well before Obama came to power, and added that the US-Saudi relationship has always been about self-interest, not values.  

The low oil price has also caused a major budget deficit and financial problems as the Saudi Arabian population continues to grow.  Some believe this is a significant reason behind Riyadh’s resistance to purchasing US warships. What factors have damaged Saudi-American relations?  What is the impact of American admissions of self-interest on its dealings with Riyadh? And how serious is Saudi Arabia’s economic crisis?  

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