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Pressure on Saudi Arabia to face realities of ISIS, terrorism




A meeting of Gulf foreign ministers on December 7, 2015 in the Saudi capital Riyadh, a few days ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit.
A meeting of Gulf foreign ministers on December 7, 2015 in the Saudi capital Riyadh, a few days ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

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In the multi-national effort to get Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power, Saudi Arabia is a notable ally.

The powerful desert kingdom can influence other Arabian Gulf states in building the Syrian opposition or creating ceasefire zones - in an effort to undermine the so-called Islamic State violence.

However, allying with the oil-rich nation is often viewed as paradoxical to Americans. The Saudis are both victims and fomenters of extremism. And while their resources have long ensured a mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S., the required diplomacy has often tied the hands of U.S. presidents who otherwise might demand changes within the conservative Islamic country.

On AirTalk, we'll speak with Brian Katulis, a foreign policy expert with the Center for American Progress. Katulis just returned from Saudi Arabia and reports that the country is trying to expand its role in the Middle East.

Guest:

Brian Katulis,  Senior Fellow at American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. national security policy in the Middle East and South Asia; Wall Street Journal “How Saudi Arabia is expanding its role in the Middle East