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Saudi Arabia denies Jewish journalist visa to cover Obama visit

Defense Secretary Hagel with familiar Saudi bow
Defense Secretary Hagel with familiar Saudi bow
getty photos

President Obama plans a side trip to Saudi Arabia this week after meetings in The Netherlands at the request of the Saudi King.

Meanwhile, since accepting that invitation (or demand), the Saudi government is refusing to allow the Jerusalem Post’s Washington Jewish bureau chief to cover President Barack Obama's trip to the Arab kingdom.

What will President Obama’s reaction be and how closely will the Israelis be watching with their growing skepticism of Obama’s real intentions with the Iranian nuclear crisis?

Naturally the White House Correspondents Association called the act "outrageous." Supposedly, Michael Wilner is the sole member of the Washington press corps denied a visa for the trip into Saudi Arabia.

Is this a message to the United States and its traditional ally, Israel? Are they forcing the president to show his hand on loyalty or oil?

The Post phrased the visa application to the Saudis in a "firmly worded requests.” The actual request itself was made by U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and presidential assistant Tony Blinken to Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.

“Rice and Blinken separately expressed extreme displeasure at the delay and the prospect of a denial,” the Post reported.

No official word from the president who already looked tired at his press conference yesterday.

Wilner is a Jewish American who works for the Israeli English-language newspaper. He does not hold an Israeli passport and never has lived in the country.

Why would the Saudis make such an international incident of such a trivial matter unless they are planning to talk with the president about a lot more than their oceans of oil?

The latest buzz among the press corps is the Saudis are gravely concerned about American protection from a nuclear Iran and may have plans of their own to build nuclear capability in the Kingdom.

That would lead to an arms race that has not been seen in the Middle East with the United States and Russia eyeball to eyeball on different sides.

The Cold War has been heating up now since the Syrian, Crimea and Iranian issues have turned America’s foreign policy from back burner to the oven.

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