Joe Biden is ready to heat up relations with Saudi Arabia

There is no shortage of symbols and political traps. Joe Biden will make his first official trip to the Middle East this summer, touring Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia, the White House announced on Tuesday. The official trip, from July 13 to 16, is above all an opportunity to assess the nature of relations between Washington and Riyadh, marred by the 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist who took refuge in the United States, Jamal Khashoggi . A crime that has made Saudi Arabia a “pariah” country, sentenced Joe Biden before the presidential election.

Since his arrival at the White House, the U.S. president has been looking for ways to approach the Saudi file and the American press has been speculating for weeks on the possibility of a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (“MBS “), which the CIA considered” permitted “to kill the enemy. The United States has promised to put human rights at the center of its foreign policy and quickly withdraw from summits organized by these countries that do not fall under the canon of democracy – as happened in December or the recent Summit. in America.

“Recalibrating Relationships”

While the meeting was unofficially announced in the White House statement, “we expect the president to see the crown prince,” a senior administration official said. U.S. policy on Saudi Arabia calls for a “recalibration of relations”, but “not a break”, he justified.

Joe Biden’s visit was prepared over several months by the State Department and, in particular, the duo formed by American adviser for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, and for energy issues, Amos Hochstein. And, in recent days, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre has been trying to recall old relations between the two countries-they date back to the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. . .

Oil prices at the highest

With oil prices fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine, boosting inflation in the United States (+ 8.6% a year in April) and politics weakening Joe Biden on the domestic scene, the context good to go back to normal. Especially since the Saudi prince himself has distanced himself from his American counterpart in recent months, giving the impression of being closer to Moscow’s interests, which are now with OPEC countries within the OPEC +alliance. .

Months of preparation for the president’s trip may have paid off: OPEC, de facto led by Riyadh, has just made a promise of goodwill by announcing at the start of June that they will extract more oil from the month of July. .

Beyond energy issues, the two countries have discussions on other topics of mutual interest, such as the war in Yemen and relations with Iran. And Joe Biden will attend a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Jeddah.

A historical symbol, the American president will travel by direct flight from Israel, the first stage of his trip, to Jeddah. The illustration of the rapprochement between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors since the signing of the Abraham Accords, in September 2020 in Washington. These agreements, signed under the leadership of Donald Trump with his son -in -law Jared Kushner at the helm, are the subject of a remarkable political consensus in the United States.

The Democratic president will thus also support Israel’s growing cooperation with its Arab neighbors. But he intended at the same time, and this time more than he had ever followed, to send signals to the Palestinian Authority and the “two -state” solution, by planning to also meet with its leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Leave a Comment