Despite expressing doubts about America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama recently flew to Riyadh. Yet again he sought to "reassure" the Saudi royals about U.S. support. In fact, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia raises the question: What are allies for? If the president wants to leave his mark on American foreign policy, he should put distance between America and its most counterproductive partners. Riyadh would be a good place to start. After all, he rightly criticized the Kingdom as among the many "free riders" on U.S. security guarantees. Washington and Saudi Arabia should move to a more normal relationship. There no longer need be the pretense of intimate political friendship.
While ISIS' pedigree may owe more to Wahhabism than to other historic forms of Sunnism, Muslim scholars need to own up to the fact that their own so-called traditional representatives and institutions are complicit in the extreme repression and mass murder that has contributed to the meteoric rise of ISIS.