It was expected that U.S. President Barack Obama would cut short his state visit to India upon news of the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to attend his funeral. The United States and Saudi Arabia have a long-standing relationship. Each sees the other as a critical partner in efforts to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s massive oil reserves give it a power and influence that extends far beyond that region.

Yet despite its longevity and the convergence of the two countries’ interests, there are ever-present tensions in the bilateral relationship that have grown in recent years and will only get larger. Managing those tensions is a necessity for both governments, but business as usual cannot continue.

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