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Analysis

Biden Trades His Pro-Rights Agenda for Saudi Help amid Ukraine Crisis

Sunday 22 May 2022
Biden Trades His Pro-Rights Agenda for Saudi Help amid Ukraine Crisis

Alwaght- The White House officials are reportedly making arrangements for a meeting between President Joe Biden and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and if Riyadh accepts, it would likely take place in the next few weeks. 

The meeting plans are being set while during his election campaign speeches, Biden had built a launching pad from the assassination of the vocal Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of bin Salman, for his anti-Saudi attacks and pretended that Washington would not show flexibility even to its closest allies when it comes to human rights. However, the human rights seem to have been put on the back burner at present and the American leader is yearning for a bilateral with the Saudi king-in-waiting. Biden's eagerness to meet the Saudi crown prince, many agree, demonstrates a fact: For their interests, the Americans are keen to turn a blind eye to Khashoggi blood, though once they exploited it to restore Washington's largely tarnished prestige. 

Still, there is an aspect from which we can see why Biden is seeking to talk to Prince Mohammed. Since Ukrainian war started, the Western governments have been pushing for isolation of Moscow by cutting off its energy from the global markets. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil exporter has a special place in the anti-Russian campaign of the US. 

Since the start of the Russian operation in late February, the US has tried to persuade Riyadh to increase oil production in OPEC to prevent price hikes in energy markets if Russian oil exports are cut off, but the Saudis have not agreed to this request so far for their considerations related to ties to Russia. Washington intends to appease Saudi Arabia to get the country on its side in the universal punishment of Russia. 

Besides, the increasing fuel prices in the US have been motivating Biden to rethink relations with Saudi Arabia. As fuel prices, especially gasoline, have risen sharply in the past three months, Washington is trying to meet some of its needs through Saudi Arabia and push down fuel prices. 

Last week, the Congress approved a $40 billion military aid package to Ukraine and so it needs third-party countries to share with them the costs. For the US, Saudi Arabia has always been a "milk cow", resorting to it in the time of need and injecting billions of dollars to its economy through military contracts with Riyadh. The US already knows that continuing the war in Ukraine with the aim of foisting a strategic defeat on Russia will put heavy costs on Washington. Therefore, the White House is trying to mend ties with the Arab kingdom and very likely sign multi-billion military contracts with it to make up for part of costs of helping Ukraine while there is no clear end in sight for the war. 

The chill hitting the American-Saudi relations in recent years is more about the decline of the US as a superpower than Washington's rights criticism of the Arab monarchy. The Americans themselves, particularly the Republican, admitted for times that the US does not hold the might it held for decades post-WWII and no country obeys it anymore. This disobedience of the US is also true about Saudi rulers. Overnight fleeing from Afghanistan and disgraceful defeat of Washington policies in Iraq and Syria have emboldened Arab regimes' defiance of the US policy. 

The failure of US policies and the weakening of its hegemony on the world stage will not be limited to the present time and continue in the future, making its global position weaker than before. That bin Salman does not answer Biden's phone call arrogantly indicates that the US is no longer an unchallenged superpower in the Saudi eyes, especially that Ukraine war and the US and its NATO inability to check Russia has shattered the allies' confidence in the US help in critical conditions, sending them to rethink the nature of their relations with the Americans. Therefore many analysts agree that Biden's push to reach out to bin Salman and mend ties with Riyadh is of no avail and would not help the Democratic administration to move past its problems. After all, the Saudis have concluded that they can better work with a Republican, than a Democratic, White House, and reports emerge to show that bin Salman has already invested for Trump's victory in 2024 presidential elections. 

To conclude, Biden's push for meeting bin Salman revealed the fact that the official US pro-rights furor is simply propagandistic, and the White House officials deal even with the dictators if their interests demand. 

 

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US Biden Bin Salman Help Rights Energy

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Supreme Leader meets with Iraqi PM in Tehran

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