USA President Joe Biden visits Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

by Hafsa Akram

It looks like that Biden Administration has realized that that Saudi Arabia is an important regional strategic ally of United States in Middle East.

On 15 July, Joe Biden made his first visit to Saudi Arabia as president. He met King  Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman aka MBS. And this visit took a global attention.

The visit came when amid global energy and food crises and high oil prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, unfinished negotiations over a return to the Iran nuclear agreement, a fragile truce in the war in Yemen and strains in US-Saudi relations.

USA and Saudi Arabia signed 18 agreements for joint cooperation in the fields of energy, investment, communications, space and health.

Biden affirmed US commitment to support Saudi Arabia’s security. He also welcomed KSA’s signing of Artemis Accords (which is an American-led effort to return humans to the Moon by 2025).

A Jeddah summit was held on 16 July, and was attended by Biden, leaders of the GCC countries, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

President Biden met with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Jeddah.

The US welcomed the “decision by the Arab Coordination Group (ACG), which includes 10 Arab and national specialized financial developmental institutions, to provide a minimum of $10 billion in response to food security challenges”, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA, that cited a statement by the GCC and the US following a US-Arab summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

GCC countries welcomed the US announcement of $1 billion in new near- and long-term food security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa region.

President Biden has set forth five declaratory principles  partnership, deterrence, diplomacy, integration, and values to guide U.S. engagement in the Middle East.

U.S. will not walk away from the Middle East and leave the vacuum to be filled by China, Biden assures during submit .

Biden administration tried to isolate Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in past. Speaking of fuel, it has been speculated that President Biden’s trip to the kingdom is necessitated by the need to bring down gas prices at home.

Iran’s hostility toward Saudi Arabia has several reasons. Main reason is ideological, as the Islamic Republic’s theocratic interventionist policies are threat to the Kingdom’s sovereignty and also a threat to regional stability.

It looks like that Biden Administration has realized that that Saudi Arabia is an important regional strategic ally of United States in Middle East.

Saudi Arabia sees the importance of the Biden visit in positioning themselves to demand that their security concerns be met, and the need to involve their voices in discussions related to the future of the region and major threats such as Iran..

Reviving the partnership of United States with Saudi Arabia is at the top of the United States’ economic, security and energy priorities, and strengthening security and diplomacy.

The United States is also better positioned to gain its members’ commitment to support core US interests when those are challenged by global rivals Russia and China. With his trip framed by the war in Ukraine, Biden Visits was  argued for increased oil production to lower global prices in order to toughen the bite of sanctions against Russia and make non-Russian energy supplies available to European markets.

With the crushing crises Biden faced upon taking office, the Middle East was never going to be a top priority. But halfway through his second year in office, opportunity and necessity are shaping a meaningful strategic initiative in the region that could reap benefits for US interests for many years to come.

Hafsa Akram is a Pakistan-based independent Political expert. She also writes for Midstone Centre for International Affairs.