Biden Re-establishing Ties with Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Issue was just an Eye Wash

by Eli Mshomi

Biden’s foreign policy has once again started shifting from his earlier envisioned version when he assumed office on January 20.

The Biden administration was critical of the Saudi government for its violations of human rights in Yemen, in particular, and the Middle East in general.

Right after coming to the White House, the relations between both countries started deteriorating

However, now the ties have started mending once again, as the US and Saudi Arabia come closer to one another.

Biden Goes Back to Saudi Arabia Despite Denouncing Them Earlier

All of his presidential campaign, Joe Biden tried to distance himself from Saudi Arabia, which enjoyed warm ties with then-President Donald Trump.

The king was considered as one of the biggest allies of Donald Trump and received various endorsements from him time and time again.

But the views of Joe Biden were totally opposite. And it was depicted in his earlier policy measures as well when the Biden administration scrutinized the king for his alleged involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s case.

This resulted in the US scrapping multi-billion dollars arms deals with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

However, the same Biden who once claimed that he could not sell American values for weaponry and oil is now on the road to establish a long-lasting friendship with the country once again.

As Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, visits Saudi Arabia, the stakeholders are raising questions about the authenticity of erstwhile claims of the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, the US has already signed an agreement to provide military support services to Saudi Arabia.

The agreement, worth $500 million, is an initiation of what experts call the Democrats inclination towards the kingdom.

While the deal is yet to be approved by Congress, the legislature has little incentive to block the deal, however.

Progressives may create a hue and cry in Congress, but their voices are likely to be unheard by Republicans who also maintain a soft corner for Saudi Arabia and are likely to vote in favor of the deal.

The latest move has once again questioned Biden’s rhetoric of human rights which he often pledges to pursue in his foreign policy.

Over time, President Biden has reiterated that the human rights issues would play a pivotal role in his foreign policy.

However, the narrative is getting a crucial blow from his actions, which suggests that it was only rhetoric to win elections and nothing else.

The latest immigration episodes have also unleashed the reality of Biden’s claims voicing human rights designs.

In addition, his silence on the Israel – Palestine conflict also depicts that as long as the human rights abuse is not happening at the expense of the US regional rights, the administration has no problem with that.

Changing Balance of Power Forced Biden to Change his Stance Toward Human Rights

The recent change in the shift for the United States seems to balance the changing power structure in the region once again. Iran and the US are everlasting foes with no foreseeable ease in tensions.

However, Saudi Arabia and Iran have started bilateral negotiations in the recent past, just after President Biden decided not to continue its support to Saudi Arabia.

The solving of problems between Iran and Saudis means no civil war in the region as almost all the proxies present in the Middle East are related to these two countries in one form or another.

As Saudi Arabia needs weapons, it is likely to move away to other countries, especially China, which is already exploring new avenues for global and regional cooperation amid the emerging US alliances in the region.

The possibility of this increased manifold after the AUKUS alliance, as seeking new regional partners seems imperative for Chian now.

These events are making Biden rethink his policy regarding the Saudi, as the US will have no regional partner except Israel in the Middle East if Saudi Arabia and Iran start embracing each other, with China investing heavily in both these countries.

 

Final Thoughts

This significant paradigm shift in Middle East politics has convinced Biden to compromise on his human rights designs.

While he criticizes China for torturing Uyghurs or Russia for jailing political opposition members, he must realize that if he stands for human rights, he must set an example by standing against the abusers in the Middle East.

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