U.S. President Joe Biden admits that his government will have to let go of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman for “diplomatic reasons”.
Long has passed since one of the most heinous sanctioned assassinations against a U.S. journalist in Turkey and yet it appears that the ramifications are still bound to follow. This time however it is not just the Saudis who are facing the repercussions.
U.S. President Joe Biden justified his decision not to mete out any justice for the killing of former Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by saying that acting against Saudi Royal Family and more specifically the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin-Salman (MBS) would have potentially devastating consequences for U.S diplomatic core and the sway it needs to hold over the allies in the Middle-East.
Speaking with ABC News correspondent yesterday, Biden discussed his decision in detail so as to why not pursue any legal or diplomatic action against the Saudi crown prince for his involvement in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi despite the overwhelming evidence verified by numerous intelligence agencies throughout the country pertaining to the role MBS played in the whole fiasco. “We’ve never gone to an acting head of a state, punished him and ostracized that person when we have an alliance with that country”.
Though officially not a treaty-based ally of the United States, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always been one of the most important foreign policy targets of the U.S different administrations for two principal reasons: One being the country’s vital importance for securing the fossil fuel energy transfer and two acting as a bulwark against the growing Iranian influence within the region following the 1979 Revolution by capitalising on the ideological differences between the Sunni iteration of Islam practised by Arab nations and Shia practised by Iranian government and a majority of population in countries like Iraq.
The ascension of Donald Trump to the Oval Office has been hailed as a major turning point for the relations between the two entities as a third player and a major U.S. ally, the State of Israel, entered the scene. Unlike the previous administrations, Trump’s White House aggressively pursued the policy of normalization of relations between the Arab States and their ancient archenemy Israel. President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, himself an ultra-orthodox Jew, tackled this endeavour with the blessings of Saudi Royal Family which were perceived as the pseudo-patriarchs of Arab monarchies if not the Arab world.
The so-called “Abraham Accords” were effectively kicked off when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) along with Bahrain announced their intentions to join the process under the framework provided by the Trump’s administration. Although Saudi Arabia never officially expressed his support for the peace process, it was common knowledge that the relations between Saudi Arabia and the State of Israel has been kept under the wraps for quite some time and that other Arab states such as UAE and Bahrain would never agree to the proposal unless nudged by the Saudi Arabia and at its head, the crown prince MBS.
With the coming of Joe Biden the equation changed drastically as the former VP himself was a part of Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s rival in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Though still mulling over the prospect of renegotiating the deal, Biden had previously promised to make the Saudi Royal Family “a pariah” possibly so as to have leverage for keeping the Saudis in check should they decide to sabotage his government’s efforts in reigniting the deal with Iran.
Though it appears that both the Abraham Accords and the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action are caught in a deadlock, Biden’s administration still tries to navigate a common ground between its interests and policies. For that to happen, the American government seems to be willing to admit that values, on which they emphasized for years, can be sacrificed for the “greater good” of the country. As to why having relations with a criminal family must be considered vital for a hegemon like the U.S., no one in the administration seems to have an answer for now.