August 14, 2022
US-Arab Summit

Wasted Trip

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Biden’s Middle East trip ends in failure

The United States President Joe Biden’s much publicised trip to the Middle East to meet Arab leaders ended on a low note Saturday, after he failed to reach an oil deal with the Saudis and a regional security alliance deal that will include Israel.

“The United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you—and the United States is not going anywhere,” he promised the leaders of the Arab Summit in Jeddah. Biden has focused on the summit with six Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq which Biden administration officials say was the plan to connect air defence systems with that of Israel to counter Iranian and its proxies threats from Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, said he was not aware of any discussions on a Gulf-Israeli defence alliance and that the kingdom was not involved in such talks. “Riyadh’s decision to open its airspace to all air carriers had nothing to do with establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and was not a precursor to further steps.” He told reporters at the US-Arab summit.

On the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Biden’s meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman(MBS) had drawn criticism which Biden downplayed saying he had confronted the crown prince. “The President raised the issue … And the crown prince responded that this was a painful episode for Saudi Arabia and that it was a terrible mistake,” said Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir. Those responsible for the murder were serving jail terms Al Jubier claimed. US intelligence agencies believed that MBS ordered the murder of the Saudi journalist.

MBS also pointed out US mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan which trying to impose values by force which backfired, the Saudi foreign minister told Reuters.

“It has not worked when the U.S. tried to impose values on Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, it backfired,” Jubeir quoted the crown prince as telling Biden. “Countries have different values and those values should be respected!”

As for an oil production increase to lower prices which are threatening western economies, Biden could not get a production increase from the Saudis due to OPEC+ agreements signed by Saudi Arabia, Russia and other producers. Biden hopes that production will increase August 3 when OPEC+ meets.

“I look forward to seeing what’s coming in the coming months,” Biden said as he left the region.

Source Reuters/AP

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