Sources close to intelligence officials revealed that there is a strong possibility of bomb blasts both before and during Biden’s stay in Saudi Arabia.
US President Joe Biden is going to have a trip to the Middle East this week, visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. But a few days before his arrival to the region, there are talks around regarding a potential bomb attack in Saudi Arabia that might coincide with Biden’s arrival to the Kingdom.
According to the words of reliable sources familiar with the intelligence, field operatives in Riyadh disclosed last week that there is a high possibility that the Taliban group fix a bomb in Saudi Arabia during Biden’s visit there.
The news gave rise to rumors that erupted last month about a sudden change in plan for the timing of Biden’s trip to the Middle East. It was in early June that the White House announced Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia was put off to a later time.
Speaking to NBC News, a foreign diplomat and two U.S. officials said that “the Saudi stop will no longer take place in late June and the trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel was also being pushed back.” Neither the White House nor any other person in the Biden administration gave any comment on why the visit was postponed.
To compound the puzzle, the officials further noted that the exact timing of the President’s trip remained in flux and could even change again. The Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington also refused to comment and respond to inquiries regarding the news.
Is Biden’s life in danger?
It may be too pessimistic to believe that the US President is risking his life by going to Saudi Arabia. However, it is also a fact that due to its years-long war with Yemen, Saudi Arabia has not been a 100% safe country, especially during the past couple of years.
Since the outbreak of the Saudi-led Coalition war with Yemen back in 2014, the Kingdom has been hit several times by Yemeni missiles and drones.
In addition, no one expected that last year in August and amid the hasty withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, 13 US soldiers died in a bomb blast at the Kabul airport gate. That was where American troops were searching for evacuees rushing to depart Afghanistan. “Know this. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Biden said the day after the attack.
Things can get a bit scarier for Biden if he recalls that this very scenario did actually happen for his predecessor as well. A few hours before US former president Donald Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh back in May 2017, Houthi armed forces from Yemen fired a SCUD missile at Saudi Arabia’s capital.
Although the missile caused no casualties, it landed just 20 miles away from Riyadh and less than 2 hours before Trump’s arrival. For years, the United States was one of the main providers of arms and aircraft for the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen. Biden, however, promised to help end the civil war in Yemen and ease the humanitarian crisis it has created,
Last year in February, he announced that he was ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including some arms sales. “This war has to end,” Biden said, calling it a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” But less than a year after the US president said so, he approved in November last year a $650m sale of air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia.