Donald Trump is said to boast about awarding the powerful Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, as president, “You saved his ass.”
But on Friday, President Joe Biden presented the prince with an even bigger gift than Trump: an indomitable aura.
Biden visited Prince Mohammed’s hometown and immediately greeted him with a punch that made global headlines, then sat down for a meeting with the crown prince who was a former president. the king Salman. The two and their team shrugged off reporters, chanting, “President Biden, is Saudi Arabia still an untouchable country?”
Biden’s approach to the crown prince reflects the natural state of US-Saudi relations he has been seeking since 2018, when Saudi agents faced global outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and unprecedented outrage in Washington. Trump has repeatedly defended the crown prince, but public pressure forced him to halt US support for Saudi military operations in Yemen. Senators from both parties voted to condemn Crown Prince Mohammed.
Anak sent a message of complete rehabilitation as the crown prince, known as Mohammed bin Salman, came from Biden on Friday.
Biden and his allies, including nearly all top Democrats, have spent years opposing Trump’s responsibility for Mohammed bin Salman’s assassination of Khashoggi and other serious acts, such as the kidnapping of Lebanon’s prime minister and the launching of fierce internal repression. He’s reckless.” Once Biden came to power (with a majority of Democrats in both houses), the Saudis took it seriously enough to make concessions, partially release some opponents and end the brutal Yemeni agenda.
The crown prince has used trade, pressure and diplomatic ties with allies to reclaim his place on the world stage, but he has also refused to allow his most important ally, the United States.
Lawmakers, foreign policy analysts, and activists looking to improve US-Saudi relations have seen an unprecedented opportunity for progress. He believed that by being more vigilant about arms sales and other military assistance, the Biden administration could ensure Saudi Arabia’s firm commitment to respecting human rights and reduce US involvement in Middle East tensions.
But by last fall, they were already disappointed. Biden seemed to have reached the point of being willing to challenge the historic US policy of ignoring abuses by Riyadh and Saudi Arabia. This visit made it clear to the president that he does not want any major changes.