AS REPORTED BY THE BUSINESS INSIDER:
President Barack Obama’s summit with Arab leaders doesn’t seem to be going as planned.
First, King Salman of Saudi Arabia embarrassed the Obama administration when he backed out of the summit after the White House announced he was going to attend.
The last-minute move was widely perceived as a deliberate snub, and the Saudis offered only a vague excuse for King Salman’s absence.
Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman attended the talks in Salman’s place.
Obama then incorrectly introduced the deputy crown prince and misnamed the founder of the kingdom.
And while the summit kicked off in the US, King Salman met with princes and religious officials at his palace, including some of the most extreme clerics in the region.
Then came today’s big news: The New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries intend to match Iran’s nuclear capacity if the US reaches a deal that allows some aspects of the country’s nuclear program, including uranium enrichment and ballistic missiles research, to continue.
One unnamed Arab leader who is participating in the talks told the Times that Sunni Arab countries “can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran [a Shiite regime] is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research.”
David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of the group that publishes Foreign Policy magazine, weighed in on the implications of this, saying that Saudi Arabia’s expression of intent to match Iran’s nuclear development is a bigger blow to Obama’s summit than King Salman’s absence.
While the nuclear deal would allow international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities, many worry that Iran intends to eventually construct a nuclear weapon and would not hold up its end of the agreement.
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