U.S.-Saudi ties will be re-evaluated under Biden


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a close ally of President Donald Trump. Source: NBC News

According to some analysts, Biden has pledged to "reassess" the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. They are less likely to have such a privileged and personal relationship with the Biden administration than it has had with Trump’s.


According to NBC News, when President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia in 2017, “he was showered with pageantry and flanked by a herd of horsemen carrying Saudi and American flags”.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed are close to Trump.

Saudi Arabia was especially slow in publicly congratulating Biden on his projected presidential victory, in comparison to when Trump won his presidency. This is most likely due to the fact that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and also, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, are close Trump allies.


The relationship between Trump and Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had grown especially close during the Trump administration. Since the very start of his presidency, Trump placed Saudi Arabia at the heart of his Middle East policy. Trump backed Saudi Arabia’s stance against Iran and encouraged its purchase of U.S.-made weapons.


Trump continued to stand by Saudi Arabia, even when the CIA came to the conclusion that the crown prince ordered the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, in Istanbul in October 2018. (Source: NBC News).


According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding security relationship, as Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales (FMS) customer.


The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have quite a strong economic relationship. The United States is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is one of the United States’ largest trading partners in the Middle East. With Saudi Arabia being especially oil-rich, it is the second leading source of imported oil for the United States, providing just under one million barrels per day of oil to the U.S. market.


President Barack Obama, and his Vice President Biden, was consistently uncomfortable about Saudi Arabia's conduct of the war against Yemen's Houthi rebels. By the time he left office, the air war had been going for almost two years.


According to BBC News, “There was little military success while inflicting enormous damage on civilians and the country's infrastructure.”


President Obama had cut back on US military and intelligence aid to the Saudi war machine. However, the Trump administration reversed that move and ended up giving Saudia Arabia a free hand in Yemen.


Biden recently told the Council on Foreign Relations that he would "end U.S. support for the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen and order a reassessment of our relationship with Saudi Arabia".


Pressure from the incoming Biden administration on the Saudis to settle this conflict is likely to increase.


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