When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah held talks with Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 4, his main concern wasn’t U.S. policy toward Iran’s nuclear program or Syria’s war as the visitors had expected: it was Egypt.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to send $3 billion of military aid to Lebanon’s army is the latest sign of an increasingly assertive foreign policy that seeks to buy regional influence and counter Iranian power.
Saudi Arabia’s proxy war against Bashar al-Assad is popular among a mostly Sunni Muslim public enraged by the killings of their co-religionists in Syria. Among the kingdom’s Shiite minority, many worry that the anger will eventually be directed toward them.
The package arrived at Cindy Lohman’s home in Great Mills, Maryland, just two weeks after she learned that her son, Ryan, a 24-year-old Army sergeant, had been killed by a bomb in Afghanistan. It was a thick, 9-inch-by- 12-inch envelope from Prudential Financial Inc ., which handles life insurance for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Lieutenant Talal al-Hajri guides his four-by-four slowly around the perimeter of the world’s biggest oil plant in the eastern deserts of Saudi Arabia. Motion detectors mounted over multiple tiers of fencing will capture any movement, he says, “even a bird.”
China’s Wen Jiabao must balance his country’s need for Iranian crude with its budding energy partnership with Saudi Arabia on his first visit to the Gulf kingdom, a U.S.-based specialist in Middle East security said.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.