Creating new perspectives since 2009

NYT: Biden recognises need for MBS

July 16, 2022 at 12:12 pm

US President Joe Biden (L) meets Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 15 July 2022 [Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency]

US President Joe Biden has recognised that he needs Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s help (MBS), The New York Times reported on Thursday.

“With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affecting oil prices and Iran believed to be expanding its nuclear capabilities, Mr Biden suddenly needs Saudi Arabia’s help — and must confront the reality that the only way to get it is through Prince Mohammed,” according to an article by Ben Hubbard for The New York Times.

Hubbard reported Cinzia Bianco, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, asserting: “By the simple fact that MBS managed to hold onto his position domestically, he is the necessary interlocutor if you want to talk to Saudi Arabia.”

Meanwhile, he quoted Brian Katulis, vice president of policy at the Middle East Institute: “The US-Saudi relationship, if it were a marriage, would be in deep need of counselling.”

READ: Biden visits Saudi Arabia, announces US troops to vacateRed Sea Island

As Hubbard wrote: “Mr Biden is likely to find an assertive leader who knows he has something the United States needs and wants to receive something in return.”

Yasmine Farouk, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, urges that what Saudi needs is: “To be treated as a US partner, and today US partners talk with the US not just about security and oil but also about technology, climate and energy.”

Even if the visit goes well, such cooperation takes time to develop. But for Prince Mohammed, Farouk adds that just getting Biden to Saudi Arabia was “a triumph”.