Biden leaves the Middle East, where he tried to reassert American influence

Biden leaves the Middle East, where he tried to reassert American influence

In a speech delivered on Saturday to an audience of Arab leaders, Joe Biden promised that his country “would not turn away” from the Middle East by leaving “a vacuum that could be filled by China, Russia or Iran”.

US President Joe Biden attends the Jeddah Summit on Security and Development (CCG+3) in Saudi Arabia, July 16, 2022. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

US President Joe Biden concluded his first tour of the Middle East on Saturday after a highly controversial visit to Saudi Arabia, where he tried to reassert the influence of the United States, but which will remain above all the image of his meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as “MBS”.

The 79-year-old American president began his tour of the region on Wednesday with a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories before traveling to Saudi Arabia to attend a summit bringing together the six members of the Council in Jeddah (west). Gulf Cooperation States (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain), as well as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

In a speech delivered on Saturday to an audience of Arab leaders, Joe Biden promised that his country “would not turn away” from the Middle East by leaving “a vacuum that could be filled by China, Russia or Iran”.

Criticized for his visit to the Gulf monarchy accused of serious human rights violations, he affirmed that “the future would belong to the countries (…) whose citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisals”. “Integration, interconnection. These are the underlying themes of our meeting,” he said.
“Tragedy for Saudi Arabia”

The Biden administration says it wants to promote a new “vision” for the Middle East, based on dialogue and economic and military cooperation.

Against the backdrop of the normalization processes between Israel and certain Arab countries, in which Washington would also like to embark Saudi Arabia, Joe Biden hailed Riyadh’s “historic” decision to open its airspace to “all carriers” , including Israelis.

But shortly after his departure, the Saudis sought to temper an announcement that “has nothing to do with diplomatic ties” with the Jewish state, according to the Saudi foreign minister.

For Prince Faisal ben Farhane, it is only a question of “ensuring a connection between the different countries of the world” and it is “in no way a prelude to any step” towards normalization.

In a transparent allusion to Tehran, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is soon to visit, Joe Biden also promised that the United States would not “tolerate one country trying to dominate another in the region through reinforcement military, incursion, and/or threats.”
Check

The trip, however, remains marked by the image of the president exchanging a fist “check” with MBS, accused by American intelligence of being the sponsor of Biden has on his hands “the blood” of the victims of the Saudi regime, denounces the fiancée by Khashoggi. Joe Biden had also promised to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” country.

The American president assured Friday that he had mentioned this affair “at the very beginning” of his meeting with the crown prince, in fact at the helm of the rich monarchy, ensuring that he had been “could not be clearer”.

According to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, interviewed by CNN, MBS “explained on Friday (to Mr. Biden) that this was a tragedy for Saudi Arabia”.

He told him that “those responsible had been investigated, faced justice and were now paying for the crime,” Adel al-Jubeir added, indicating that for the kingdom he was was a closed case.

Several major American newspapers featured the photo of the greeting between Joe Biden and MBS, while activists accused the American president of reneging on a few barrels of oil.
“All I can”

The increase in the gallon of gasoline is a considerable issue a few months before the midterm elections in the United States. “I am doing everything possible to increase production for the United States,” Joe Biden said on Friday, claiming to have had fruitful discussions with the Saudis, the concrete results of which will be seen “in a few weeks”.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have concluded 18 cooperation agreements in a wide variety of fields (space, finance, energy, health), according to a press release from the Gulf monarchy.

The American president, who has multiplied bilateral contacts, has also “solemnly” invited his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, to visit the United States, after icy relations in recent months.

The United States has also pledged $1 billion in support for “short- and long-term” food security in the Middle East and North Africa. And Washington has reached an agreement with Jordan to provide the country with financial assistance of 1.45 billion per year, from 2023 until 2029.

 

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