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As U.S. departs Iraq, it leaves behind allies who won't talk | McClatchy

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- More than five years have passed since Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah last received Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al Maliki. The Saudi monarch views Maliki as untrustworthy and, even worse, "an Iranian agent."

Saudi Arabia doesn't allow direct flights between its capital, Riyadh, and Baghdad, and it doesn't permit direct trade between the two countries. The kingdom is building a fence along the closed 500-mile border.

This, too, is a legacy of the U.S. invasion of Iraq as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal: a bitter enmity between two close U.S. allies, with an underlay of sectarian animosity, that the United States cannot seem to ameliorate.

It is an irony, because the U.S. first sent troops to the region in part to protect Saudi Arabia in the wake of Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Thirteen years later, however, when the U.S. invaded Iraq to topple Saddam, Saudi rulers were highly critical. And they have remained opposed to or offended by almost everything that has happened since.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:22:44 PM EST
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