The King of Bahrain has apparently blown off Barack Hussein Obama’s invitation to a regional security summit meeting in Washington DC to attend a horse show with Queen Elizabeth in London.
Politico According to Reuters, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa has elected to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which begins Wednesday, at Windsor Castle outside London.
Obama had invited the leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations — Bahrain, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — to discuss regional security and other issues at a Camp David summit this week.
But Saudi King Salman announced Sunday that he would send a surrogate instead of attending himself, joining the leaders of the UAE and Oman, who have cited health concerns in their decisions not to attend. The Bahraini king’s decision not to attend was reported earlier this week, though his trip to the United Kingdom was first announced Wednesday.
Analysts have pointed to a growing rift between the Obama administration and the Gulf’s Sunni states over the emerging nuclear deal with Iran as a chief reason for the snub, though the Saudi king, as well as his Bahraini counterpart, have denied such assertions.
Bahrain’s official news agency reported that the country’s foreign minister identified the horse show and subsequent meeting with the queen as “a longstanding prior engagement” that necessitated the king’s absence from the Camp David summit.
Looks like watching the Royal Windsor Horse Show pony steeplechase race is far more preferable to meeting with Obama.