Relations between Riyadh and Washington have deteriorated sharply as the Saudis have lost faith in American commitments to stand by their friends.The Saudi leadership also believes they have seen this American movie before. Jimmy Carter threw the Shah under the bus in 1978 and we got the Islamic Republic of Iran. George Bush toppled Saddam in 2003 and we got a Shia government in Iraq. The princes think America is naïve at best, untrustworthy at worst. Saudi looking east for help to all-weather friend Pakistan and allies in China. Prince Bandar, former ambassador in Washington, reportedly visited Islamabad to ask the Pakistanis for troops to help ensure internal stability in the kingdom and the Gulf States if needed. He invoked an understanding that dates back to the 1980s when then-Pakistani dictator Zia ul Huq provided over 10,000 Pakistani troops to protect the country after the Iranian revolution. Bandar also has been in Beijing to promote more trade and to ensure the Chinese communist stand with their Saudi friends. Bandar was the deal-maker in the Saudi-Chinese intermediate range missile sale in the 1980s that provided Riyadh with its now aging missile force.
Press reports have speculated that China has approached the Saudis with offers to sell modern missile systems. The 600-km range CSS-6 and 1800-km range CSS-5 solid-fueled missiles have been mentioned.
Saudi Arabia is examining the prospect of raising the level of its strategic relations with Pakistan. The Saudis have accelerated talks with Islamabad for the purchase of Pakistani weapons as well as joint military and strategic projects. Riyad also seeks to exploit Pakistani's expertise in missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have already developed an array of defense and military relations. But the discussions in Riyad to expand strategic ties reflect the kingdom's concerns over its deteriorating relations with the United States.