The US and Saudi Arabia see an escalation in the bilateral relationship following a series of political challenges. Rejecting a Biden phone-call by Riyadh further intensified the recent rifts.
Saudi Crown Prince has stated that he is unconcerned about a potential misunderstanding with US president following recent developments. Mohammed Bin Salman added that Joe Biden should concentrate on securing the national interests of the United States.
“Simply, I do not care,” the Saudi de-facto ruler answered to a question about a potential misunderstanding. “We don’t have the right to lecture you in America,” he added. “The same goes the other way,” the young ruler added.
The far deep and decades-long strategic cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia has been challenged since the new US president assumed office in early last year. One of the primary causes of the rift was Saudi Arabia’s dark human rights conducts. Leading the Yemen conflict and an assassination of Washington post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, were the main instigators of the two-way conflict.
To make things worse, the Saudi Arabian crown prince, along with UAE leaders, has rejected to return a phone call with Biden in the past weeks. The United States and its European partners are attempting to control an increase in oil and gas prices. This is while the Russian war against Ukraine has provoked a 14-year record in oil prices in recent days.
“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen. It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil],” an anonymous American authority said about the failed phone-call.
Mohammad Bin Salman seems to have lost hopes in reinforcing ties with Washington under Joe Biden. In another talk, he indicated to a potential decision by Riyadh to reduce the Saudi investments in the US.
US and Saudi Arabia; Deep Rifts
It was during the early months into Biden office that the government published an investigation blaming Bin Salman for Khashoggi’s assassination. Former US administration had silenced the report results due to political and economic interests. In addition, Washington has pushed for the liberation of political detainees across the kingdom.
In his interview with The Atlantic, Bin Salman claimed that the charges against him had infringed on his personal rights. He alluded to his role in Khashoggi’s gruesome slaughter and dismemberment. The assassination of Washington Post journalist occurred in Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
“I feel that human rights law wasn’t applied to me…Article XI of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that any person is innocent until proven guilty,” Saudi crown prince claimed.
The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi tainted the Bin Salman’s reforming reputation in Western country. The West was quick in denouncing the crime in Turkey. Since then, the crown prince has sought to refocus attention on civil and policy reforms to bury up Khashoggi scandal. Biden’s move in openly publishing the report foiled the attempts and led the monarchy into a tense position.
While describing the ties between the US and Saudi Arabia as “long, historical”, MBS’ fresh remarks suggest a failure. “In the same way we have the possibility of boosting our interests, we have the possibility of reducing them,” he told the reporters.
Far from being a personal defense for a crime that actually occurred, Bin Salman’s reference to Khashoggi case is a signal to the US about future ties. Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil in world market and its policies may affect the future developments. Future of the strained ties between US and Saudi Arabia depends on many factors, including the Ukraine war.
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