STIFFED….Jim Hoagland reports today that Saudi Arabia has pulled out of a planned state dinner at the White House scheduled for April 17. The purported reason is that “it is not convenient,” which, unsurprisingly, administration officials find somewhat unconvincing. Hoagland then goes on to note that our good friend King Abdullah of Jordan has also decided he can’t make a state visit this year. Scheduling conflicts?

Hoagland manages to spin an entire column out of this, which just goes to show that he’s a much older pro than I am. But pro or not, 800 words later he really doesn’t have an explanation for this. Are the Saudis mad at us? Is there internal disarray among the princes? Do they just figure their intra-Arab negotiating position is better if they stay away from us for a while? He doesn’t know. Neither do I.

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