A former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence and ex-ambassador to Washington, Turki al-Faisal, has warned that an American veto of Palestinian membership of the United Nations would end the ''special relationship'' between the two countries, and make the US ''toxic'' in the Arab world.
The warning comes as Washington is scrambling to avoid a scenario where it alone casts a veto in the UN Security Council against the Palestinian bid for recognition of statehood, which is expected to be formally requested next week.
Mr Faisal says in an article in The New York Times that the US will jeopardize its close ties with Saudi Arabia and further undermine its position in a changing Arab world if it again sides with Israel.
''The United States must support the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations this month or risk losing the little credibility it has in the Arab world. If it does not, American influence will decline further, Israeli security will be undermined and Iran will be empowered, increasing the chances of another war in the region,'' Mr Faisal says.
''Moreover, Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to co-operate with America in the same way it historically has. With most of the Arab world in upheaval, the 'special relationship' between Saudi Arabia and the United States would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people.'' He adds: ''Saudi leaders would be forced by domestic and regional pressures to adopt a far more independent and assertive foreign policy.''
''American support for Palestinian statehood is therefore crucial, and a veto will have profound negative consequences. In addition to causing substantial damage to American-Saudi relations and provoking uproar among Muslims worldwide, the United States would further undermine its relations with the Muslim world, empower Iran and threaten regional stability,'' Mr Faisal writes.