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Obama tackles ISIS, Iran with new Saudi king

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Published on January 30, 2015 with No Comments

Michelle’s uncovered head causes a stir

Joining President Barack Obama Mrs. Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing a colorful long jacket with sleeves over a bright blue blouse and long black pants – but no headscarf.

Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab. But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.

US President Barack Obama led a heavyweight delegation to Saudi Arabia to meet new King Salman and discussed the two countries’ ongoing fight against the Islamic State group. The leaders also tackled the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme and human rights in the conservative kingdom.Riyadh has been part of the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes against ISIS since last year and is a long-time regional ally of Washington.

Members of the 29-member bipartisan US delegation, which included former Bush-era officials, said they wanted to show support for the US-Saudi relationship. “I believe it is important that we demonstrate to the Saudis the importance that they represent to us,” said James Baker, secretary of state during the first Gulf War against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. “This is an extraordinarily critical and sensitive time in the Middle East when everything seems to be falling apart. And the kingdom in some way is becoming an island of stability,” said Baker. The Americans arrived for a four-hour stop from India, where Obama cut short a state visit following the death Friday of Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah. Saudi television showed Salman, 79, welcoming Obama and his wife Michelle at the bottom of a red-carpeted ramp before a military band played the US and Saudi national anthems.
In contrast to Saudi women, required to dress head-to-toe in black, Mrs Obama wore dark slacks and a blue top with her hair uncovered. Crown Prince Moqren and Mohammed bin Nayef, the powerful interior minister who is second in line to the throne, were among those greeting the Americans.

 

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