Opinion: Mr Biden travels to Riyadh (hat in hand)

Of course, Biden as a presidential candidate may have said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s kingdom was “rogue” for sending operatives to Turkey who killed a US-based journalist. Jamal Khashoggi, dismembering him at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, according to a US intelligence report. (The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to this report by stating that it “totally rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment … of the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contains inaccurate information and conclusions.”)
Not only that, but MBS’s helpless intervention backfired spectacularly; instead of ridding Yemen of Shiite Houthi rebelsthey are now even more entrenched in the country and today in alliance with Iranwhich supplies them with missiles and drones that have repeatedly hit Saudi Arabia as well as its close ally United Arab Emirates.
He arrested dozens Leading businessmen in Saudi Arabiaaccusing them of corruption. They were detained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, and after reportedly over $100 billion was received in the settlements from them, most of them were released in what has to be the most expensive hotel in history.
In March, the regime carried out a mass execution of 81 people, Saudi authorities said, according to Reuters. According to Human Rights WatchThe 41 men belonged to the kingdom’s Shia minority group, who are sometimes imprisoned or executed simply for taking part in the protests. (According to a Reuters report, Saudi Arabia denies allegations of human rights violations.)
But now high gas prices are contributing to the highest inflation in the United States in four decades. So Biden will go to Riyadh and meet with MBS. The Crown Prince will no doubt ensure that the footage of his meeting with the US President is widely publicized.
Every President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt made similar calculations, similar to those Biden makes for the House of Saud. Of course, Saudi monarchs can be despots. slavery was only officially abolished in the kingdom in 1962 and MBS allowed women to drive four years ago, but Saudi Arabia one of the world’s largest oil producers and has around one sixth of the world’s proven oil reserveswhich means the Saudis can open the taps and let the price of oil fall, or they can turn the taps off and the price of oil will rise.
Relations between the countries are based on common interests, and the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is not only about ensuring a stable supply of oil at a reasonable price, but also about counter-terrorism initiatives and efforts to contain Iranian influence in the region. For successive American governments, these interests have generally prevailed over any concerns about In general, the sad situation with human rights in Saudi Arabia.
This calculation for the Saudis was well described by then-President Barack Obama, who told CNN in 2015: “Sometimes we have to balance our need to talk to them about human rights issues with the pressing issues we have in terms of counterterrorism or dealing with regional stability.
As long as the US economy remains deeply tied to hydrocarbons — airplanes, for example, won’t be flying on electric batteries anytime soon — and while the Saudis are sitting on an ocean of oil, those calculations will no doubt continue. And MBS 36 is so he could rule Saudi Arabia for decades to come.
Biden is heading to the Middle East for one simple reason.
To make sure Biden doesn’t hug the crown prince in the same obsequious way that former President Donald Trump did. Trump did his first foreign visit as president of the realm and decisively approved the subsequent blockade of Saudi Arabia its neighbor Qatar, although Qatar hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East, which then played a key role in the wars against ISIS and the Taliban.
Trump also pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. a key objective of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policyeven though this deal worked, according to international inspectors as well as US intelligence agencies.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was effectively the president’s shadow secretary of state, led the administration’s flirting campaign with MBS, with whom he corresponded regularly on WhatsApp.
Kushner’s development as crown prince would have eventually brought in a handsome salary. Six months after the Trump administration left office, against the advice of its advisers, MBS-led Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $2 billion in Kushner’s stock fund, according to the data. New York Times.
However, unlike Trump/Kushner, Biden is not a complete puppet for Saudi interests. When Biden took office, his administration reversed the Trump White House’s designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, complicating relief efforts for Yemenis. hundreds of thousands of whom died disease or malnutrition due to the civil war.
During his visit to Riyadh, Biden will certainly hear his own requests to the Saudis, such as maintaining recently concluded a fragile truce in Yemen, who is now over three months old. Another request would be to encourage closer ties with Israel, which would likely not lead to any official recognition of a Jewish state, but could include confidence-building measures such as allowing aircraft flying to and from Israel are eligible for overflight in Saudi Arabian airspace.
And, of course, Biden’s main goal will be to get the Saudis to help bring down oil prices, which they have already begun to do in modest manner in May.

But MBS will also get what he wants, namely a highly publicized meeting with the President of the United States, demonstrating to the world that his kingdom is not a pariah.

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