Middle East

Biden needs to use visits to rebuild relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, says author Karen Eliot House

New York City: According to US journalist and media executive Karen Elliott House, when US President Joe Biden visits Saudi Arabia, he needs to be aware of the major social changes underway in the kingdom.

Author of the 2012 book “About Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines, and the Future,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and a former Dow Jones International. I am also the president. It traces the long relationship with the kingdom, the evolution of the kingdom from the early 1970s to the present.

“It’s crazy how much it has changed for women and young people,” Haus told Arab News prior to Biden’s visit that the transformation of the kingdom has been “amazing” in the last decade alone in terms of personal rights. Added.

“The best thing President Biden can do for himself and the country is, frankly, to take a walk on Riyadh Boulevard. Anything that exposes him to what is actually happening in the country,” she said. Looking back on his economic and social reforms, he said. ..

“All these men, women and children had a relaxing and enjoyable time, rather than having a woman sitting in one place of the house and a man in another. Young people were separated and isolated. They are sitting together, working on computers, and talking at Starbucks, just as they are here (USA). “

She is broadly pessimistic about the possibility that the U.S. President will change her negative attitude towards the Kingdom, but she takes advantage of the opportunity Biden has provided, at least through a meeting with Saudi leaders, to create a historical relationship between the two countries. I hope to readjust and rebuild.

Biden arrived in the kingdom on Friday for a meeting with Saudi leaders and other Arab leaders. Observers expect oil production issues to be at the top of the agenda given the surge in global energy prices as a result of the war in Ukraine and the resulting western ban on oil and gas in Russia. is doing.

Other oil producers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East were reluctant to increase production at the request of Washington. Therefore, a tour of this region of Biden is widely regarded as a fascinating attack that helps to repair a tense relationship with the kingdom.

“I personally don’t expect much to come from it, because I believe it’s done for the wrong reason,” House said.

“Biden comes in for selfish reasons, acts for his own personal gain, and secures oil to help lower prices when his real agenda is not to relieve the country’s pain. Trying to improve his sinking condition by doing something to do.

“I’m not saying he’s really enjoying the suffering America, but his main goal is to help himself, not the country, so in my view it’s mostly It’s a promotional trip, not a policy trip. “

Karen Elliton House is the author of the 2012 book “About Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines, and Future.” (Included)

Despite her doubts about the president’s intentions, Haus said, “The United States and Saudi Arabia contain and deter Iran when it is reported that Tehran has enough fissile material for nuclear weapons. We believe it is very important to rebuild security cooperation for this purpose. The nuclear agreement (more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan) continues to decline. “

She added: “I believe that the Iranians are doing very bad things in this area and have every intention to manufacture nuclear weapons, so we absolutely want to rebuild a relationship that benefits us. You should work hard, and if something happens there, it will be a potential disaster not only for Saudi Arabia but for the whole world (not just).

“Yes, we need to worry about global security, but especially in the Middle East and South China Sea, unless we are ready to work with a country like Saudi Arabia (the young Saudi generation of the Crown Prince)). Mohammed bin Salman is much more eager to work with Russia and China.

“Their parents were anti-communists and didn’t want to do that much. But that’s a different idea now in Saudi Arabia. They slap Saudi Arabia and expect to salute when needed. Can’t be. “

The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia was not always like this. A close bond was created between the two countries after US President Franklin D. Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz (known in the west as Ibn Saud) on the US cruiser USS Quincy on the Suez Canal on Valentine’s Day 1945. ..

The two leaders are said to have made a strong impression on each other. Ibn Saud famously said that he and FDR were a kind of “twin”. They were both about the same age, heads of state with great responsibility, peasants of the heart, and suffered from poor health.

Despite their differences in the future of Palestine, the friendly atmosphere during the meeting on Great Bitter Lake laid the foundation for decades of bilateral relations despite conflicts and disasters. rice field.

Indeed, the personal relationship between successive US presidents and Saudi monarchs was an important determinant in setting both the tone and substance of the relationship between the two countries.


In the decades immediately following World War II, the United States and Saudi Arabia formed a close alliance against the growing communism and support for stable oil prices and the security of oil fields and shipping routes.

Countries stood side by side against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and during the war to expel the army of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991.

Nevertheless, the relationship has faced many challenges along the way. During the oil embargo in 1973, and in 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York put us in serious tension.

“At that time, Americans knew Saudi Arabia very well, but Saudi Arabia wasn’t so in most cases and was angry,” House said. “But in both cases, the US government worked very hard and quietly to keep the relationship as good as possible, despite the anger of the people. And, of course, now. it’s not.”

During the 2020 presidential election campaign, Biden vows to make Saudi Arabia a “Pariah state” in Washington and internationally, cutting off support for an Iran-backed coalition to restore legality in the Yemeni war with the Houthi. I swore that.

He also broke his personal connection with Saudi heir Prince Mohammed after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Kingdom Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. In September 2020, the Saudi prosecutor’s office passed the final judgment of eight people convicted of murder. Five of them were imprisoned for 20 years, one for 10 years, and two for seven years.

“President Biden himself has personally led a cheering squad for Saudi Arabia, but I don’t think the public is as disturbed by Saudi Arabia as he is,” Haus said.

“This is a big difference between the ups and downs of the past. They were two big downs (oil embargo and 9/11). But this big dip is much worse, not what Saudi Arabia is supposed to have done. The president blamed the crown prince primarily for his blame, and then chose to tar the whole country. “

The author is surrounded by an extended family of Saudi Arabia in the Phifa Mountains of Jazan, a remote part of Saudi Arabia adjacent to Yemen. (Provided by Karen Eliot House Blog)

She considers Biden’s snubbing of the Crown Prince an insult to all Saudis.

“If the King of Saudi Arabia refuses to speak to President Biden, I think it will insult many Americans at some level,” she said. “Conversely, it’s even bigger because (Saudi Arabia) recognizes its leadership more than Americans.

“So I think it’s insulting the people of Saudi Arabia that the president doesn’t talk to the crown prince who runs the country every day.”

Haus believes Biden was keen to blame Saudi Arabia as a means of loving himself to progressive members of the House of Representatives.

“Personally, I think it’s part of his efforts to appeal to progressives, those who are deeply against Saudi Arabia,” she said.

“He courts them more than reflects his own innate or acquired views. It’s like many other things he’s doing. He’s ever been a senator or vice president. Much more progressive and supportive of abortion. “

Haus is in a good position to talk about changes in Saudi Arabia’s thinking and has carefully monitored the evolution of the country during his frequent visits to Saudi Arabia. In particular, she believes that Biden’s decision to bring the Crown Prince to the forefront of national affairs is the moment that defines a wise era.

Saudi Arabia said, “Like the former Soviet Union, older people are at risk of weakening leaders one after another, and then stopping a bit of how they change themselves as their brothers grow older. Did you run out of lines? “House said.

“And the great news is that King Salman did it. He brought a young leader. And whatever people think of this young leader, he is very confident and very determined. There is a vision, and most importantly, there is also time to do it, which even the former Saudi leader, King Abdullah, did not have. “

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2123141/saudi-arabia Biden needs to use visits to rebuild relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, says author Karen Eliot House

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