August 11, 2022

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New American Relations with Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden’s Middle East agenda is narrow, a historic journey marked by lights and shadows. On the sidelines of yesterday’s meeting in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known in the international media as MBS), Biden claimed that he had informed Mohammed bin Salman that he held him responsible for the journalist’s death. Washington Post and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who were killed and dismembered in 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. “I said clearly – the President of the United States explained to reporters – what I was thinking then and what I am thinking today.” When asked about bin Salman’s response, Biden replied: “He said he was not responsible and that he took action against those responsible.”

This exchange is not intended to end the hottest case on this first visit as President to the Arab region. Attacks on Biden in the United States will intensify after more news reports. A Saudi source, carried by the TV channel Al Arabiya He says that bin Salman, referring to the abuses committed by the US military in the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison, described the killing of journalists as an “unfortunate mistake” that will not be repeated “, before asking Biden to “impose it by force”. “The values ​​of your country.

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To defend himself against accusations describing him as the instigator of the journalist Khashoggi’s murder, the prince-designate has been telling Biden that journalists like Khashoggi have also been killed elsewhere, and Saudi Arabia is asking among other things “what the US and others have done” Countries highlight the killing of a reporter Al-Jazeera, Shirin Abu Akleh in the West Bank, probably by a bullet fired by the Israeli army last May. Khashoggi’s murder against the hereditary Saudi prince was an “accident” that could happen anywhere else in the world.

Biden’s political agenda

But there are many issues on the agenda of the US president visiting the region that has now ended up in the crosshairs of China and Russia due to its rich oil fields. Joe Biden is relaunching US leadership in the region by concluding his first visit as president in this crucial region of the world in Saudi Arabia, after a layover in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The US President will announce the allocation of $1 billion in food security assistance in the Middle East and North Africa region. The announcement, along with a $3 billion aid package for the next two years for infrastructure projects, is expected today during the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Jeddah. In addition to its members – Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – Iraq, Jordan and Egypt are also participating in the summit.

The Egyptian plan for peace in the region

The country, led by Egyptian President Abdel-Sisi, launched a detailed five-point plan to solve the Middle East crisis presented at the meeting in Jeddah. From the formation of the Palestinian state to assigning more power to women, and from recognizing the national state to granting more freedoms, and putting an end to the “civil wars that drained the resources of the countries of the region.”

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“Our country needs a tangible contribution to confront the current challenges,” Sisi said, calling for greater efforts in the region to reach a “final solution to the peace process without retreating and changing the course.” Sisi presented, as an absolute priority, the establishment of a Palestinian state that “opens prospects for peace and stability in the region.”

Then the Egyptian president insisted that “respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference should govern the relations between the various Arab states.” Sisi then called for a spirit of “cooperation to confront crises related to food and energy.” Al-Sisi added that in the region, “there is no place for militias and their supporters to provide money and weapons,” stressing that “Arab governments will protect their security and interests by all means and in any case.”

Change in the position of President of the United States

Biden, who invited UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the United States, said the United States would remain an active and committed partner in the Middle East, and urged leaders gathered at an Arab summit to see human rights as a powerful force for economic and social activism. they change.

He explained to the Gulf Cooperation Council that “the United States is investing to build a positive future in the region in partnership with all of you,” explaining a “new framework agreement for the Middle East” in five points, which includes support for development. Economic and military security and democratic freedoms. This is in exchange for greater integration with Israel in an anti-Iranian function, an increase in oil production to reduce the expensive gasoline caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and participation in a Western infrastructure plan as an alternative to China’s new Silk Road (there will already be a $3 billion commitment). It was almost an attempt to “reset the situation”, after years of tensions and misunderstandings still somewhat in the background.

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During the 2020 election campaign, the US president promised that he would make the Saudi regime an international “pariah.” But Biden’s position has proven unsustainable: Saudi Arabia is one of the major oil exporters. And because of the Russian war in Ukraine, crude oil is also needed for the enemies.