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U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia this week, to attend the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, comes at a time when relations between the two countries have rarely been worse.Obama would be wise to mend the bilateral relationship.If Iran does as Obama hopes, the U.S. will be able to reduce its military presence in the Gulf.As America's shadow has receded, Saudi Arabia and Iran have become more aggressive, even irresponsible, in pursuing their interests.Saudi Arabia's behavior has changed even more dramatically in response to its perceived abandonment by the U.S. The kingdom's leadership has become convinced that the Obama administration no longer has its back, calling into question a decades-old relationship in which America guaranteed Saudi Arabia's security in exchange for economic and political support. U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan offered similar guarantees, and Obama would be reiterating and strengthening this commitment while taking into account Iran's potential use of non-state actors.Saudi Arabia and Iran may one day find a way to share the Middle East, but only if the U.S. is there to act as an umpire.
A dangerous watershed for the region
Religious violence in the Arab world is likely to get worse
Saudi Arabia and Israel have very different concerns about Iran
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