An Old Alliance Faces New Pressures as Obama Heads to Saudi Arabia

April 18, 2016 12:16 AM

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In the 70 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the alliance at the end of World War II, the Saudis have primarily looked to the United States to help ensure its security in an often unstable region. They want the United States to have their back, especially in a potential conflict with Iran, their longstanding regional rival.

That has meant, for the most part, military equipment: The United States has helped Saudi Arabia, a Sunni-dominated state, to obtain weapons to deter Iran, a mostly Shiite country. More recently, the Saudis have sought intelligence assistance and training, and the United States has given the Saudis ...

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