This trip, at least in this form, would not have happened had it not been for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden himself admits it indirectly in a Washington Post article. This comes in the context of Friday’s visit to Riyadh, where he hopes to get commitments from the Saudis to increase oil production. The Turkish media mentions up to 2.5 million tons of extra deliveries per day. This would reduce the shortage of this commodity in world markets. This is the #1 goal of the entire Biden effort.
Conversation with a pariah
It feels like a trip to Canossa after Biden’s previous statements as a presidential candidate that Saudi Arabia is killing children and innocent people in Yemen and being a pariah as a state. While Biden did not directly address the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashukji at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his criticism of the kingdom was placed in this context. Especially since the crime commissioner was Prince Mohamed bin Salman, known as MBS, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.
The war in Ukraine is also changing the Middle East
In the Washington Post, Biden recalled that it was during his presidency that the US services report on Hashukji was released and sanctions were imposed on those involved in the assassination. This deteriorated relations with Riyadh to such an extent that MBS did not receive a call from the US president several months ago. Riyadh has even hinted that it was interested in acquiring Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defense systems. This is the past. “My intention was never to cut ties with Riyadh, but to refocus them,” Biden said today, recalling that Saudi Arabia has been a strategic partner for the United States for 80 years.
– After the global repercussions of the war in Ukraine, Biden fundamentally changed course, which will be duly appreciated in Riyadh. Also across the region, where the visit is seen as an effort to increase security in the face of Iran’s growing threat, said Icchak Klein of Israeli conservative think tank Kohelet Policy Forum. However, he says there is a fundamental contradiction in US policy toward the Middle East: an attempt to revive the Trump-announced Iran nuclear deal, while joining the Middle East coalition against the ayatollahs.
Together against Iran
The latest rounds of negotiations on the nuclear deal have yielded nothing but Tehran’s acceleration of its nuclear program, which will be able to produce its first nuclear payload in just months. This is a dream for politicians in Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as in other countries in the region. Hence Friday’s summit that Biden attended in Jeddah with the leaders of the six Arab Gulf states as well as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. It is not just about the Iranian nuclear program, but about the direct involvement of Iranian forces in armed conflict in the region, from Syria to Yemen.
Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia on Friday as the first US president directly from Israel
– The armed conflict with Iran is treated by the Saudis as a highly probable development of events and hence the undisguised satisfaction with the policy change of the Biden administration – said Prof. Ilter Turan of Istanbul Bilgi University. He recalled that Riyadh cares about good relations with Moscow, which facilitates the cooperation of both countries in the framework of OPEC. Among other things, and in order to keep oil prices high, the Saudis did not succumb to pressure from the West to increase the oil supply to world markets. On the other hand, the prospect of war with Iran prompts Riyadh to accept the US offer of new cooperation. The Saudis have long been seeking supplies of US offensive weapons currently under the embargo. Reuters says it would be abolished on condition that the war in Yemen ends. – Riyadh is waiting for the right excuse to withdraw from Yemen, and it is possible that it will happen soon – says Prof. Turaan.
However, Biden’s real success in Riyadh would be in getting the Saudis to increase their oil supply. According to experts, the Aramco group is able to quickly increase production of the current 10.5 million barrels per day by at least one million. This oil could go to Europe.
Institute for Media Monitoring, NOM Report
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Biden will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Friday as the first US president directly from Israel, a symbol of the frigid relationship between Arab countries and the Jewish state. The visit to Israel itself is somewhat ritualistic, despite the new US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is reflected in the recovery of US funding for UNRWA, the UN agency created to assist Palestinian refugees at a cost of $500 million. annual. Donald Trump has suspended aid as a means of putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to accept America’s peace plan in favor of Israel. Biden has no such ambitions.