Nearly a year and a half after Saudi-US relations reached what can be described as “rock bottom,” Joe Biden, who pledged during his election campaign to turn the kingdom into a “pariah” country, is making an official visit at the invitation of King Salman.
The visit, which was expected to take place in late June, was postponed due to controversies and disagreements within the Democratic administration. It was finally decided and scheduled for July 13-16, in a tour that begins in Israel and ends in Saudi Arabia.
The new US administration is pursuing a policy completely different from Trump’s policy towards Saudi Arabia, in line with the democratic ideology of the ruling party in America, which is dominated by democratic values.
Democratic thought tends to reduce the US military presence in the Middle East and tends to return to the negotiating table over Iran’s nuclear file on the one hand.
This explains the discrepancy in the views between the two authorities, between the “democratic” American viewpoint and the Saudi viewpoint, each of which has aspirations that correspond to its interests, which include regional and international developments.
The differences between the two countries widened after the United States resumed negotiations on the Iranian nuclear agreement in Vienna, which were halted during the era of Donald Trump, in addition to its suspension of arms deals belonging to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and its intention to agree to remove the name of Ansar Allah movement “Houthis” from the list of terrorist groups.
Several reasons led to Saudi Arabia’s dissatisfaction with the new foreign policy of the United States, which it saw as inconsistent with its interests and strategy.
The US-Saudi relations witnessed cases of severe stagnation and tension at several political turning points, such as the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the attacks of September 11, 2001, and despite the tremors suffered by the coalition, it remained coherent until the beginning of 2011.
At the beginning of 2011, the differences between them resurfaced again as a result of the two sides’ differing interpretations of regional events and changes, especially what was known at the time as the “Arab Spring revolutions.”
But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its oil and food repercussions on Europe and the world, America tried to ask Saudi Arabia to raise its oil production capacity to supply Europe and America, which was rejected by the Saudi side, and the first result was the rise in global oil prices and the Kingdom’s abstention from voting against Russia by placing more sanctions on her.
Accordingly, we can reformulate the objectives of the visit with several points, most notably:
Protecting and sustaining the petrodollar, and slowing down the development path of Saudi-Chinese and Saudi-Russian relations.
Increasing Saudi oil production, as an attempt to restrict global oil prices.
Protecting Israel from changes.