Saudi Arabia — US Friend, Conflict, or Crisis?

  • US report claims that Saudi Crown Prince agreed with the Jamaal Kashoggi murder.
  • The Biden administration is expected to review the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.
  • US wil not completely severe ties with the Saudi Arabia, in order to alive giving an upper hand to Russia and China.

The Joe Biden administration is planning to review the dealings between the US and Saudi Arabia. In fact, On February 27th, Biden stated there will be a new announcement coming on Monday pertaining the US- Saudi relations, which could lead to the US-Saudi crisis.  It is unknown, if there would be sanctions laid against the Saudis.

Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov is the Head of the Chechen Republic and a former member of the Chechen independence movement. He is the son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May 2004.

The US intelligence released information this week believing that Saudi Crown Prince approved the gruesome murder of the Jamaal Kashoggi. Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government.

Furthermore, if Saudis loose the US support, the Saudis defense would be non-existent. At the same time, the US does not want to give China or Russia an upper hand. It is plausible, if US-Saudi relations deteriate, Russia and China would immediately offer an alternative options in the defense field.

The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov would facilitate the deals with Russia, as he has close ties to the Arab world, In fact, this month,  Kadyrov was in the Middle East at the trade fair.  The International Defense Exhibition and Conference  is Abu Dhabi’s first in person event, since the Coronavirus pandemic.  The biennial trade fair, the International Defense Exhibition and Conference, is Abu Dhabi’s first major in-person event since the outbreak of the virus. The UAE announced  $1.36 billion US dollars arms deals.

Moreover, the scenario could create pressure on the world markets, including the price of crude oil. Therefore, it is not in the best interest of the US to completely cut off Saudis. In fact, the US  wants to put Saudi political resources in the Middle East and other regions under control.

Joe Biden

Hence, US can’t afford any outside players to gain further  access to the Middle East. Biden administration would have to play a very  subtle diplomatic game by distancing Saudi Arabia, but not too far. In such scenario, US can still maintain the control and an upper hand.

In addition, the tensions between US and Iran continue to escalate, which is another factor for the US to maintain ties with the Saudis. This week, US President Joe Biden has advised Iran to “be careful” after a US strike on the pro-Iranian forces in Syria.  The United States carried out several airstrikes in Syria on objects that, according to Washington, belong to the forces supported by Iran. The strikes were carried out on the instructions of US President Joe Biden in response to the latest attacks on US facilities in Iraq.

The Russian Foreign Ministry  condemned the US attack and called for respect for the sovereignty and integrity of Syria. At the same time, the head of the ministry, Sergey Lavrov, said that Washington had warned Moscow about the impending strike in Syria in four or five minutes. The Pentagon claims to have properly notified Russia. Russia carried out the strikes the next day in Syria, hitting the opposite targets, The strikes seemed to be retaliatory in nature.

Overall, it is clear the US and Saudis will have certain tensions and they are necessary, but there will not be a complete breakdown in the relations. US can’t afford to alienate the Saudis, given the scenario with the Iran.

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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