Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to humiliate Biden as part of a global power play

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President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
President Joe Biden (behind) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (entrance) arrive for a family image in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 16, 2022.

  • Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are worsening. 
  • Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman wants to assert himself internationally. 
  • He humiliated the Biden administration by cancelling a secret oil deal. 

This week, a diplomat spat between the US and Saudi Arabia degenerated into petty name-calling, a public sign of the dire state of relations between the two worldwide places.

The commerce, fueled by a dispute over oil manufacturing, is a extra blow to an alliance which for a few years has been marked by predictability: The US provides arms and security to the Saudis, and constructive elements a key strategic companion in a unstable space in return.

It is a change pushed by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is deliberately snubbing the US in an strive to chart a further unbiased path, an skilled suggested Insider.

Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, talked about: “With Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, Saudi Arabia is very determined to assert its autonomy from the US.

“The administration in Riyadh has been sending many indicators to Washington that the Kingdom will pursue its private nationwide pursuits as perceived by Saudi officers, which includes deepening cooperation with Beijing and Moscow.”

Specifically, this has taken the form of Saudi Arabia joining Russia other oil-rich nations to announce a steep cut in production.

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This was the exact opposite of requests from the Biden administration to increase oil production, in the hope of lower prices that would help tame US inflation and deprive Russia of revenue.

Per a report in The New York Times, US officials thought they had secured a deal with Saudi Arabia and were blindsided when their plan fell apart.

The result has been humiliation for President Joe Biden, who has sought to build an international coalition against Russia and to build bridges with the Saudis.

Biden risked the wrath of critics in his own party to visit the crown prince in Jeddah in July, embarrassingly walking back a campaign pledge to render Saudi Arabia a “pariah”.

“Let’s be clear: The Saudi switch was accomplished with the whole consciousness that it’ll undermine Biden’s political place at dwelling and abroad,” wrote former US diplomat Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy of the oil-production cut.

He noted that it came just ahead of the midterm elections, where Democratic candidates are vulnerable to criticism from Republicans over inflation. 

Cafiero, the analysts, said that Crown Prince Mohammed believes that drawing closer to Russia and China will secure more “leverage” internationally.

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The crown prince moreover shares with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin an obsession with crushing domestic opposition, and every males are “authoritarian to their core,” Cafiero said. 

It’s not just geopolitical calculation that is drawing Americans and Saudis apart, but personal antipathy between Biden and bin Salman, reports say.

The Wall Street Journal on Saturday reported that the crown prince “mocks President Biden in private, making satisfying of the 79-year-old’s gaffes and questioning his psychological acuity.” 

Biden, for his part, has taken a stand in opposition to the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered then dismembered throughout the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 by brokers, an operation US intelligence has talked about was ordered straight by Crown Prince Mohammed.

Former President Trump stands with his son Eric and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, left, a governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Former President Trump stands alongside along with his son Eric and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, left, a governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

On the campaign trail in 2020, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the murder in rhetoric calculated to appeal to the Democratic base — but which caused fury in Riyadh.

“Bin Salman and others in Saudi Arabia took a tremendous amount of offense to that rhetoric. Such unfavorable sentiments have educated Saudi officers’ perspective on Biden’s presidency,” said Cafiero. 

Crown Prince Mohammed has done little to conceal that he would prefer former President Donald Trump to be in the White House, Cafiero said, assessing that the crown prince preferred his transactional style.

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The Saudis recently funded a high-profile golf tournament at Trump’s resorts, where he has been an enthusiastic attendee.

Trump offered at best minimal pushback over the Khashoggi killing, which happened during his presidency.

His hardline stance against Iran, Saudi Arabia’s key regional foe, also aligned with Saudi interests, unlike Biden’s policy of seeking to revive the nuclear dear which the Obama White House struck with Iran.

Despite the cooling of the relationship under Biden, the US and Saudis have much to lose from a deterioration of the alliance, Cafiero said.

The Saudis are still reliant on US weapons and security guarantees, while the US wants the Saudis to stabilize oil markets and keep prices low at home. 

“Washington and Riyadh have many shared pursuits that are set to protect the partnership alive, [but] the bilateral relationship has flip into a lot a lot much less nice,” concluded Cafiero. 

Read the distinctive article on Business Insider

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