by Ali AlAhmed
The U.S.-Saudi relationship defies a simple explanation. Saudi Arabia is not a natural ally to the United States, but the country has come through for America in the past on several occasions. While the Saudis have leveraged their relationship with the United States to further their own regional and global goals, they have served the U.S. interests too — primarily with the flow of cheap oil to feed the American economy since the 1940s. This is the calculus at the heart of the odd relationship.
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Ali Al-Ahmed is an expert on Saudi and Gulf political affairs at the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington.