No one loves a lame duck president. George W. Bush’s mid-January visit to Saudi Arabia was a case in point, and it failed to return the US-Saudi relationship to the status it enjoyed before September 11, 2001. Flush with oil selling for around $100 a barrel and confidently using that financial influx for massive investment in infrastructure and a preparations for an eventual post-oil economy, the Saudis have little patience for a president weakened by failure in Iraq and subverted by his own National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that seems to call the Bush administration’s judgment into question.
Has the Shiite Crescent Disappeared? Saudi Arabia and the US Alliance against Iran