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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Analysis: Biden walks closely politically and diplomatically in Saudi Arabia

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If the President leaves without securing a substantial injection of crude oil into the global market, he is at risk more political damage at home, where Americans are venting their frustration with high gas prices for him. But if successful, he will further anger human rights advocates, who accuse him of abandoning American principles for short-term political gain. In either case, Biden must find a way to justify his opening to the Crown Prince, the capricious and repressive de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, who is blamed by US intelligence for ordering the assassination. murdered and dismembered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a resident of the United States and Saudi Arabia. dissidents.

After all, Biden has made the promotion of democracy central to his foreign policy agenda while bin Salman presided over the execution of political prisoners, launching a devastating war in Yemen, killed thousands of civilians and was accused of imprisoning the Lebanese prime minister. minister in another regional power game.

“The reason I came to Saudi Arabia … was to advance the interest of the United States … in such a way that I think we have an opportunity to reassert what I think we were wrong with when walk away: our influence in the Middle East,” Biden said on Thursday.

The president looks likely to be traveling to Saudi Arabia for a regional conference alongside leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. . He’s looking for a way recent progress cement in a partnership between some of these countries and Israel, where he has been for the past few days. He also wants to build support for his motivation to use diplomacy to revive a 2015 nuclear deal before Tehran enriches enough uranium for a nuclear bomb – a diplomatic process that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are skeptical of.

And Biden is keen on reasserting American leadership as its major powers, Russia and China, seek new strides in the region. So the President’s statement, that it’s now in the interests of the United States to re-establish relations with Saudi Arabia after the 2018 Khashoggi affair kills seriously strained relationships, is indeed valid – though he drew enthusiasm from progressives in his party for doing so.

Balancing action

With his visit, the President, who has vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “forerunner” on the campaign trail in 2020, is undergoing a ritual common to commanders-in-chief, who people sometimes have to dilute their political interests for a broader strategic goal.

“How do we balance our interest in the free flow of oil at a fair price with our values,” asked former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk on “Amanpour” on CNN. International this week, encapsulating Biden’s dilemma.

“Somehow, the President has to go upstream. We need Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to bring prices down because that is having a terrible impact on inflation. On the other hand, we need to take a stance. clearly against the line (Mohammed bin Salman) sometimes treats some of his people.”

The bad aspect of this trip is that there is no way for Biden to accomplish his goals without highlighting bin Salman, who is the dominant figure in the Saudi royal family and will use the visit of a President President of the United States to reinvigorate itself globally and send a message to other man-ruled nations that there is no lasting price for acting in a way that offends American values. As a result, he may not feel particularly compelled to make wide-ranging concessions.

The White House first confirmed Later on Thursday, Biden will meet the Crown Prince without King Salman, who will depart after about 30 minutes of the bilateral meeting, scheduled for his health. The administration’s shifting positions on whether Biden has interacted with the crown prince in recent weeks appear to have sparked further controversy over the visit. In retrospect, an earlier announcement and a strong statement of what the President was going to do and say might have eased some of the political pressure.

However, Biden argued in the Washington Post recently that a broader aspiration to use his trip to promote regional stability is important because it can prevent conflicts that bring military America had to fight and die in the Middle East for decades. Biden – whose worldview is shaped by his own experience and that of his late son Beau, who served in Iraq – has made avoiding new foreign wars a central focus of his presidency. mine. This is also one reason why he is committed to trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal, which could lead to a fateful decision on whether he can use force to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. multiply or not.

Why does the US have an alliance with Saudi Arabia?

The question of balancing U.S. principles and certain national interests will emerge sooner or later for Biden in relation to Saudi Arabia as it is a frequent theme in the United States’ relations with the United States. kingdom for more than half a century. For example, Saudi Arabia has long been an important strategic ally of the United States, but its tolerance of radical Wahabi Islam has created a stream of extremism, in which terrorism development and eventually led to events such as the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Clutching fists instead of shaking hands: Biden tries to 'minimize contact' in Israel and Saudi Arabia
That is why some foreign policy observers have questioned whether there is a need for a complete rethinking of the favorable marriage between Washington and Riyadh and the idea that the two powers actually have interests. common or not. This is not a concern during the term of the trading president of Donald Trump, who bluntly explained that he did not cut ties over Khashoggi’s murder, because Saudi Arabia bought a lot of US-made weapons. But with the exception of long-term U.S. foreign policy certainties aside, Presidents have long struggled with the proper balance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. But they have always been drawn back to the kingdom because of the vital importance of the free flow of oil to the US economy, living standards, and their own political survival.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on Thursday that the question about Will Biden shake bin Salman’s hand? irrelevant. Instead, the Saudis need to show their commitment to changing their behavior on human rights and demonstrate their allegiance to Washington, he said.

“The question for me, (is) why would the President of the United States make an emergency visit to convince the Saudis to choose their ally, the United States?” Murphy asked.

“I think the whole decision of the United States, across many administrations, was to look the other way when the Saudis cut down political opponents, when they bombed civilians inside Yemen, when they executed prisoners. political cause, that’s when the chips are down. , we won’t have to make an emergency visit for the Saudis to choose the United States.”

Why did Biden meet the oppressor and not the oppressed?

The trip comes at a politically dangerous time for Biden, with his approval ratings falling amid soaring inflation and, after a period of record gasoline prices, having corrected slightly in recent days. From a purely political perspective, the scene of a President linking up with oil-producing nations to lower prices back to the United States might be welcomed by some voters. But if his visit doesn’t lead to a significant increase in output from the Gulf states, or if the move doesn’t bring down gas prices, it has helped inflation. the highest level in more than 40 years was 9.1% last month, the President will face accusations that he has abused the prestige of his presidency and trashed his principles on human rights to no avail.

And one concern for the administration is that there is no guarantee that more oil on the market will permanently lower the price of gas – driving the war in Ukraine so high – permanently. This is because one of the problems in the industry is the scarcity of refining capacity due to the pandemic – a sudden crude overflow situation that could actually be worse.

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A trip to the region that doesn’t yield a clear victory for the President could add to the perception of a president who is losing his way – even if Biden’s foreign policy, especially his resurgence, alliance of Western nations during the Cold War to confront Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, was largely successful.

The brutal murder of Khashoggi has become a metaphor for broader US concerns about human rights in Saudi Arabia, including the fate of political prisoners, summary executions, treatment of women and contempt for civilian life in Yemen.

The president appeared annoyed during a news conference in Israel on Thursday when he was pressed about whether he would raise the case of the Washington Post journalist while he was with bin Salman.

“I’ve always upheld human rights. I’ve always upheld human rights, but my position on Khashoggi was too clear. If someone doesn’t understand that in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else, they do. hasn’t been around for a while,” Biden said.

Lina al-Hathloul, a Saudi pro-democracy activist, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday that it would be a “betrayal” if Biden did not raise concerns in the United States about his human rights record. Saudi Arabic. Human rights groups have called on Biden to meet with dissidents while he is in Saudi Arabia, a step several previous presidents have taken when doing business with authoritarian regimes. So far there has been no notification from the White House of any such contact

“Why does he meet with the oppressor but not with the oppressed?” she asked.

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I am passionate about journalism and using new technology to spread news. I am also interested in politics and economics, and I am always looking for ways to make a difference in the world. I am the CEO of Janaseva News, and I am 24 years old.

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