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Perle: Saudis' Sending Underling Has 'Political Reverberations'

By    |   Monday, 11 May 2015 06:31 PM

Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense, says Saudi Arabia is well aware it is kicking up a political storm with its king declining to attend President Barack Obama's summit at Camp David.

"The administration is denying it has any political significance, but in fact the Saudis knew when they made the decision to send [an underling] … it would have political reverberations," Perle said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I believe it reflects deep concerns on the part of the Saudis about how effectively the president is dealing with the Iranian regime and the Iranian threat."

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced late on Sunday that newly installed King Salman would not be attending.

Instead, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, will lead the Saudi delegation. The king's son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will also attend.

Perle, who is also former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and now serves as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, called the king's cancellation "unusual" for an event at that level.

"If the head of the state or the king is involved and he cancels at the last minute or declines to come at the last minute, that is bound to be seen as a signal, and so it's very rare," Perle said.

Obama had planned to meet Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat. The king took power in January after his brother King Abdullah died.

The New York Times described the king's decision not to attend as an apparent signal of his displeasure with the United States over Iran, a regional enemy of Saudi Arabia.

The Associated Press, however, reported that the White House did not take Salman's decision to skip the summit as a sign of any substantial disagreement with the United States.

The U.S. now has the framework of a deal in place to limit Iran's nuclear capability — a deal that critics say Iran will never abide by.

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Former assistant secretary of defense Richard Perle says Saudi Arabia is well aware it is kicking up a political storm with its king declining to attend President Barack Obama's summit at Camp David.
Richard Perle, Saudi, King, not coming, political, repercussions, Iran deal
Monday, 11 May 2015 06:31 PM
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