CIA director says US felt “blindsided” by Saudi Arabia reconciliation with Iran – Middle East Monitor

The director of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is revealed to have expressed displeasure at Saudi Arabia’s recent reconciliation with Iran, during an unannounced visit to the kingdom this week.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the matter, CIA director Bill Burns told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit that the US felt “blindsided” by the kingdom’s rapprochement with Iran and its ally Syria.

Riyadh and Tehran last month agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties – after around eight years of severed relations – in a deal brokered by China, which many in the international community saw as a blow to US hegemony in the Middle East and the world more broadly.

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There have also been indications that Saudi Arabia is preparing to normalise relations with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, which would also put it at odds with a key American foreign policy stance in the region.

The CIA Director and the US government’s main concern, according to the report, was that Washington was frustrated at being left out of regional developments and felt side-lined as a result.

The paper also reported that a US official confirmed that Burns primarily discussed cooperation on intelligence and counterterrorism with Saudi officials.

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