News ID : 60592
Publish Date : 2021/03/01 01:13
Dual standards, preserving the link between Riyadh and Washington
BY: Yousof Seifi*

Dual standards, preserving the link between Riyadh and Washington

What links Saudi Arabia to the United States is a set of strategic factors, especially in the security and economic spheres, in which a change of government in Washington or a monarch in Riyadh does not make a significant difference.

NOURNEWS - The release of a report by US security services on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi by the new government given the role of the Saudi Crown Prince in the assassination, has once again called into question the future of relations between the two countries.

This issue, along with the announcement of policies such as a review of arms deals between the two countries, although propagandistically important to the new US administration, cannot be the source of significant changes in the White House policy towards Saudi Arabia.

The Democrats, especially Biden and his team, are rapidly seeking to consolidate their position in power these days. Their haste to quickly change some of the policies of the past and the propaganda dimension of these decisions show that the new government is engaged in a kind of Trumpisation of its policies with the aim of showing change to public opinion.

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia's strategic role in US regional policy - a role that has been interpreted as a dairy cow in the context of Trump's outspoken literature - will continue to maintain its position for Riyadh by double standards.

Officials in the new US administration and the media have reported in recent weeks that relations with the Saudi government have been strained. First, the US President's National Security Adviser announced that his country would end its six-year support for the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni war. In this regard, it was announced that the military contracts of Saudi Arabia and other members of this coalition would be reviewed.

Yemen's Ansarullah, which was added to the list of terrorist groups in the last days of the Trump administration, has been removed from the list, according to the State Department, in order to facilitate humanitarian action.

A few days ago, the Biden administration also released the report of the country's security services regarding Khashoggi's assassination to secrecy after 2 years and made it available to the media. In this report, Mohammad bin Salman is known as the perpetrator of this crime and the main unit of his bodyguards are identified as the perpetrators as well.

The US government has imposed sanctions on several Saudi nationals since the report was released. As part of the sanctions, 70 people have been banned from issuing visas and some have been ordered to have their property confiscated.

For the inexperienced Saudi Crown Prince or some observers, these developments might mark the beginning of a difficult period in relations between the two countries. This idea is also considered desirable by the White House, especially to satisfy public opinion.

However, they do not want lucrative relations with Riyadh and other Sheikhdom States in the Persian Gulf to be significantly affected by these different policies.

In addition to imposing lenient punishments, such as restricting the issuance of visas to the perpetrators of this crime, the name of the main perpetrator, Mohammed bin Salman, is not mentioned, and according to Agnes Callamard, a UN reporter, his guilt was apparently forgiven by White House officials!

The new US president has also stated that he intends to assist Riyadh in defending itself against Yemeni missile strikes, despite the cessation of military aid and the sale of advanced weapons to the Saudi coalition.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has made it clear that the move is not meant to sever ties between the two countries, and that relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States are larger than anyone else. A statement that can be analyzed to confirm Biden's policy of talking to 80-year-old King Salman instead of the young prince.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have a long history of strategic relations, dating back to King Abdul Aziz's meeting with Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 on an American ship. Abdul Aziz had by then overcome his domestic rivals with the help of Britain and was determined to develop relations with the new superpower, which would likely replace the British interventionists in the region.

The Saudi political system has  played the role of a reliable ally for foreign intervening powers in the region from the beginning, and has established these strategic relations with the United States since the middle of the last century. Relationships that, according to some analysts, are linked to the life of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the one hand, and on the other hand, guarantee effective US intervention in the Persian Gulf and global energy security.

The United States has been providing security support to the Saudi regime for many years, and the regime has generously paid for that support, while at the same time adjusting its policies to Washington's interests in the region.

 So far, Riyadh has made every effort to adapt to changes in US foreign policy. The Saudis these days, perhaps more than the Biden government, want to get rid of the Yemeni quagmire and end this war, and they have made this clear to the White House.

They have also sought to settle disputes with Qatar and to respond to calls for moderation by releasing some critics, including women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, on parole.
The absence of Mohammed bin Salman from the 70 banned Saudi nationals could be seen as a sign of a satisfactory agreement that Biden and the Saudi court may have reached.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has significant critics inside and outside the United States, who have called for a halt to security protections due to the regime's tyranny. However, support for the Saudi dynasty has continued with slight tolerance for nearly 80 years. This support was provided during the Cold War to justify countering Soviet influence as a threat to national security for the United States, and in recent decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has been replaced with the Soviet Union.

What connects Saudi Arabia to the United States is a set of strategic factors, especially in the security and economic spheres, which, as evidenced by the history of the change of government in Washington or the kings in Riyadh, do not change significantly.

Although the United States will challenge the ambitious Saudi Crown Prince on issues such as the purchase of more advanced weapons, but there will be no significant change in issues such as individual tyranny, human rights abuses and support for international terrorism as features of the Saudi regime. In such an environment, the adoption of double standards as an inevitable strategy for US foreign policy will continue and maintain its position.
* Journalist and International Relations researcher


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