"Burns also suggested that Obama would stress to the Saudis on his second visit to the kingdom as president — and the first in five years — that the United States understands their concerns about a “range of dangerous Iranian behavior that threatens our interests and those of our friends in the region” beyond the nuclear issue. Burns acknowledged that Syria is at the heart of those concerns and hinted, without being specific, that the Obama administration is looking for new ways to end the stalemate between the opposition and Bashar al-Assad's regime. Two rounds of talks in Geneva have not been successful, Burns said, and there is “zero evidence of seriousness” on the part of Syrian government representatives in negotiating a political transition that results in Assad’s removal. The veteran US diplomat, who served as ambassador to Russia from 2005-2008 and is scheduled to represent the US at the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics later this week, urged Russia to “use all the influence it can bring” on the Syrian government to agree to a political transition." Al Monitor
That is the Prince of Wales. This seems reminiscent of an old episode of "Yes, Minister." You remember. It is the one in which the Whitehall crowd get dressed up in Arabian fancy dress to kiss Gulfie buttocks over some arms deal, or perhaps because it is an old habit acquired in Christmas pantomime. Obama would look great in Saudi wedding garments. Perhaps POTUS will bow to his king once again. In all the time that I spent with Arabs and Arab armies, I never wore their clothes, never. The sole exception was that I wore a shamagh (red and white head cloth or kuffiyah) when with the Jordanian Army. It kept my ears from becoming something that looked like toast. I always made it clear that I was their American friend, and not a supplicant for anything.
That is the great flaw in the approach outlined by Burns. The Saudis will interpret such a position as an admission of weakness and will react by demanding acceptance of their policy positions in regard to Syria and Iran.
In the ME the zero sum game rules all. Someone wins and someone loses. The possibility of win-win outcomes is largely discounted as an amusing Western idea. Even those who fully grasp the concept of equality of outcomes do not act that way in business or government.
Saudi Arabia will demand forceful action to remove the present Syrian government. They want this because they think they can pick the winners among the Sunni contestants for power. They are wrong,
I, too, was wrong, Obama is the head R2Per. pl