Biden’s visit to KSA in a perspective
PRESIDENT Joe Biden’s visit of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is being viewed as a new and unpleasant turn in the bilateral relationship of Riyadh and Washington.
From his reception at Jeddah Airport to his departure, there was hardly any euphoric moment of welcoming the President of a super power.
This happened for the first time in the history of Saudi-US relationship since Kingdom has many bilateral agreements and security related pacts with Washington.
So much so, U.S claims itself as the security guarantor of the Kingdom in particular and larger Middle East and Muslim states of North Africa in general.
An analysis of this lacklustre visit would reveal that, Saudi Arabia has finally decided to reclaim and maintain its independence, sovereignty, integrity and self-esteem in an era of globalization and inter-dependence.
Riyadh has also decided not to be exploited by any external power including great powers. This is a daring and rare step; the Kingdom has taken under the dynamics leadership of Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) under the patronage of his ailing father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
While evaluating various events and events of the visit, there are many comments and analysis from scholars and strategists of Saudi-American relations.
A class of scholars of international relations regarded this visit as retribution to what President Joe Biden has said about the Kingdome and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salam (MBS) during his election campaign and even thereafter.
President Joe Biden remarks to turn Saudi Arabia into a “pariah” and a hint to release the intelligence report of columnist Jamal Khashoggi might have displeased King and Crown Prince to raise eye brows but, it could have put MBS and Kingdom on defensive rather an upright position, demonstrated by former throughout the visit.
Even during the meeting, once Mr Biden reiterated these claims, he was refuted and countered with a clear question of what US did during invasion of Iraq and other regional states of Middle East to which Biden had no answer.
Indeed, throughout the visit Biden and his team members were found lost with week body language(s), which means they had no concrete evidence of their blames and it was just to exploit the Kingdom and especially the young MBS.
This all prove counter-productive and double edged sword for US. On the issue of human abuses and human rights violations, United States has the worst track-record, world over.
US security forces killed, wounded, raped and humiliated millions of human being during its invasions and military campaigns in various parts of the world, especially in Muslim world.
One American said, “I hated myself for Abu Ghraib abuse”. Since international media is directly and indirectly controlled by U.S and U.S backed Zionist lobby therefore exact figures of those killed during US campaigning in various parts of the world are unknown.
Nevertheless, millions of the innocent civilians, having nothing to do with wars and conflicts fell prey to US aggressions and war crimes.
Moreover, UN and its agencies and organs are being influenced by U.S, thus do not publish any report against their largest financier.
Within US, there are thousands of cases of human rights violations and racial discrimination, all documented and reported too.
Maya Angelou, an American memoirist, poet and civil rights activist writes; “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible”.
Therefore, with worst track-records of human rights, Washington cannot blame any other states for the human rights violations and abuses.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most important Muslim state, guarding the Holy Mosques.
It’s geopolitical positioning and being the largest oil producing state further makes it significant and relevant for entire world besides the Muslims.
Since US has precedence of being the revengeful and retaliation, therefore, it is always expected that, there are some fall-outs of the visit.
There is a huge presence of US forces in the Middle East with its military Headquarters of Central Command (Cent Com) in the region.
Therefore there are all the possibilities that, it indirectly tries to create instability within the Kingdom and the region.
The format could be what it was practiced during so-called Arab Spring; the infamous Arab Uprising fuelled in some of Middle Eastern and North African states whose after affects are still being felt on the regional politics.
As an immediate step, the Kingdom must reduce its dependence over US backed defence and security system, which otherwise cost it huge expenditures.
There is a need that, kingdom should initiate confidence building measures (CBMs) with all GCC and Arab states at two level; inter-state and at regional level.
Within the Kingdom the masses must be re-assured their security and protection through state apparatus.
The young and dynamic leadership of MBS could really transform the Muslim world towards a larger unity and concord by shedding away their trivial differences.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.