President Barack Obama was in damage control mode in Riyadh this week, while headlines in the United States warned of potential economic retaliation should Congress pass a bill that would allow Saudi government officials to be held responsible in U.S. courts for any role they played in the attacks of 9/11. According to the White House though, the president's meeting yesterday with King Salman "really cleared the air." Maybe so, but with oil prices plummeting, regional upheaval at a high, and the president's own critical comments still fresh, fundamental disagreements remain. One member of the Saudi royal family told reporters that "a recalibration" of the U.S.-Saudi relationship was in order. An increasing number of people in Washington agree.
Today, the Intelligence Project and the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution hosted U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) for a discussion on the U.S.-Saudi alliance with Senior Fellows Bruce Riedel and Tamara Cofman Wittes. Senator Murphy is one of those calling for a recalibration, recently urging a more rigorous approach to cooperation with Riyadh that balances U.S. counterterrorism interests, strategic imperatives, and human rights concerns.
See the full event agenda here or watch below: