US President Joe Biden intentionally directed personal insults to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before his controversial visit to Saudi Arabia in the middle of next month.
Biden, in public statements, downplayed the upcoming meeting with bin Salman during his trip to the kingdom on July 15.
A few days ago, Biden told reporters, “I will not meet with bin Salman. I will attend an international meeting, in which the crown prince will be part, just as if other people were participating in the dialogues.”
The White House Secretary said: “Biden will meet more than ten leaders on this trip,” If Biden and bin Salman were to meet, it would be a “side event, not a pivotal one.”
The White House also issued a statement indicating that “Biden will meet with his counterparts from the region’s leaders” and that the US president “appreciates King Salman’s leadership for his invitation,” without mentioning the name of bin Salman in the statement.
The Foreign Policy magazine highlighted that Biden is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia despite the protests of human rights groups and several prominent figures within the Democratic Party (Biden’s party). They believe that the presidential visit will give Saudi Arabia a tacit blessing for its record of rights violations. The human.
Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute, said: “Biden’s trip is like a first-aid package for the deep wound that the US-Saudi relations are now suffering from.”
“It is clear that America must work to establish healthier relations with Saudi Arabia, but this is not possible unless the United States addresses the serious shortcomings in the core of that relationship, which is related to the United States’ disregard for Saudi support for jihadist terrorism and the spread of Wahhabism, among others. of destabilizing activities in the region.”
The report explains that Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is a reversal of his pledge to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” during his election campaign, and it clashes strongly with the moves he took early in his presidency to freeze arms sales and withdraw US support for the war in Yemen.
However, the thaw in strained relations would have occurred even before the oil price hike, with Washington secretly hosting Khalid bin Salman, the crown prince’s brother, last year.
Despite the olive branches that the White House brandishes, Washington is still disgusted by the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents (the assassination that US intelligence revealed was carried out at the order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.)
This was demonstrated recently after the announcement of the name Jamal Khashoggi on the street where the Saudi embassy is located in the United States.
The report suggested that with the US midterm elections approaching, the Biden administration has prioritized domestic economic concerns and has begun attacking domestic energy companies seeking profits in light of price pressures.
The report goes on to explain that if it is clear why Biden needs Saudi Arabia at this stage, it is not clear what is the reason why Saudi Arabia needs Biden, especially in light of the high oil prices that revive the Saudi economy and contribute to supporting the kingdom’s coffers.
This is especially evident since the Saudis, if the polls are accurate, simply have to wait for Biden to leave power.
The report notes that the second half of Biden’s presidency is more complex than the first, with Republicans likely to control the House, if not the Senate, next November.
It seems unlikely that it will be a one-way street, as Cook expects Biden to press Saudi Arabia to make commitments on two difficult issues to provide political cover in Congress: improving its human rights record and establishing more public relations with Israel.