Obama ‘Obligatory’ Visit to Saudi Arabia Designed to Accomplish Nothing

© AFP 2023 / YURI GRIPAS Saudi King Salman talks to the media during a meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on September 4, 2015
Saudi King Salman talks to the media during a meeting with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on September 4, 2015 - Sputnik International
President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia did not yield any tangible results because the White House saw little upside in pushing an ambitious agenda in Riyadh with time running out on the president’s term, experts told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Obama and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country leaders held a Summit in Riyadh where they discussed issues like the Iran nuclear agreement and security cooperation, among others.

"I don’t think Obama was necessarily there to accomplish anything, at least nothing tangible," geopolitical analyst and StopImperialism.org editor Eric Draitser told Sputnik on Thursday. "Obama was there to pay the obligatory visit… to a staunch US ally."

The trip, Draitser noted, was largely designed to pay homage to Saudi Arabia, one of the principal outposts in the Middle East within the US-led global system.

The White House, Draitser added, had nothing to gain by raising contentious issues like the Iran deal with Saudi Arabia that might lead to a public relations disaster and stain Obama’s legacy.

"The Saudis are still steaming over Obama’s move toward normalizing relations with Iran as far as removing the sanctions and allowing Iran access to capital markets," Draitser noted.

The Iran nuclear agreement is one of Obama’s few foreign policy achievements and the president is loath to jeopardize the feat by riling up the Saudis, especially in light of the fact Obama's policies in Syria and Libya have been abject failures.

US President Barack Obama walks toward Marine One upon his arrival at King Khalid International Airport for a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2016. - Sputnik International
Failing Relationship: Saudis Showed Obama Their ‘Deep Distrust’
The Saudis, Draitser continued, have zero motivation to change their position vis-a-vis the Iran nuclear agreement because they are waiting for Obama to exit and hoping Hillary Clinton will take over the White House.

"Hillary Clinton’s loyalties are not even in question here — she is unabashedly pro-Saudi," Draitser claimed. "[The Saudis] are banking on a Hillary Clinton presidency in January of 2017, and that they will be able to make whatever moves they can to undermine the Iran deal, at that time."

Middle East Institute analyst Thomas Lippman told Sputnik that he did not see any visible accomplishments emanating from Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

"I still can't figure out why Obama went there in the first place," Lippman admitted.

Some of Riyadh’s hurt feelings might have been assuaged, he added, but he did not see "a meeting of the minds on the issues" between Obama and the Saudis.

According to a communique issued after Thursday’s summit in Saudi Arabia, the United States and GCC agreed to conduct joint military drills in 2017 and enhance cooperation on counterterrorism training.

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