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JERUSALEM, Israel – President Biden will depart on Friday on the first direct flight from the Jewish state to Saudi Arabia to attend an energy summit in the kingdom, the world’s largest exporter of oil, to a meeting that will also be attended by the Gulf states.
Biden noted that one of the reasons for his journey was to re-establish American influence in the region.
“There are so many questions at stake that I would like to make it clear that we can continue to lead the region and not create a void, a void filled by China and or Russia against the interests of both Israel and the United States. many other countries, “Biden said.
The bid’s goal in Jeddah, according to Middle East experts, is interviewed by Fox News Digital to reduce the prices of gasoline pumps for US consumers. In return for a drop in fuel costs, the Gulf nations want the world’s most powerful military to deter the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons and halting their terrorist activities in the region.
NO LONGER ‘PARIAH’ STATE, AS BIDEN SEEKS HELP FROM SAUDISE, WHICH GAS PRICES STOKE
After then-candidate Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” nation during the 2020 election campaign, he will face an uphill battle to repair the tattered ties between the kingdom and the United States.
“It is unclear whether Saudi Arabia will pump more oil, because these decisions are mostly driven by their energy policy leaders’ assessments of global market dynamics and what is good for their country’s economic and strategic interests,” Brian Katulis, senior fellow and Vice President. of politics at the Middle East Institute in Washington, told Fox News Digital.
The Biden team would like to see prices fall and it has asked Saudi Arabia to add more tenders, but the decision depends mostly on their own decisions based on the assessment of the global market and less on requests from the US or any other individual country. “
Earlier this year, the Saudis famously rejected a request from Biden to speak by telephone amid rising oil prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Daniel Pipes, president of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, was more optimistic about Biden’s chances of success.
“If they are persuaded enough, given enough in return, probably yes,” Pipes told Fox News Digital when asked if Riyadh would pump more oil to help push gas prices down.
The Saudis want “protection against Iran, respect for the changes that are underway [the reforms in the Kingdom]a favorable market for its oil sales, “Pipes added.
In return, the United States wants “oil and friendly relations,” the prominent Middle East historian added.
Pipes noted the importance of the ties between the two countries.
“A relationship dating back to 1945 is now in doubt. Will the US government indefinitely make a single atrocity the center of its policy? Will the Saudi monarchy turn against China? In all likelihood, things will go back to something. as their old usually, but it needs to be confirmed positively as it does not happen by itself, Pipes says.
WHITE HOUSE DECLASSIFIES KHASHOGGI REPORT DEBTED BY SAUDI CROWN PRINCE
The atrocity he referred to was the Saudi assassination attempt in October 2018 on Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist and American resident, inside the Kingdom Consulate in Istanbul.
The Iranian regime, and its quest to build nuclear weapons, is, according to Western governments and Israel, the elephant in the space of security threats to the Saudis.
“Iran is the mainstay of Saudi Arabia’s relations with the outside world, including Washington,” Pipes said. “Tehran not only threatens Riyadh at the security level, but it challenges the Saudi demand for Umma’s leadership [Islamic community]. “
Katulis added: “Iran is Saudi Arabia’s biggest security issue and Saudi leaders would like to hear what Biden’s plan B is because Biden’s plan A on Iran has not met the stated goals. But it may take some time to develop, as Biden The team is reluctant to let go of their original plans for Iran. “
Bid A’s plan is to bring Tehran back in line with the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, the formal name of Iran’s nuclear deal, which imposes sanctions on the theocratic state in exchange for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.
Nuclear negotiations between the Iranian regime and world powers continue, but so far without much success. The Israelis, Saudi Arabia and other US allies in the Middle East consider the Biden approach to be deeply flawed because it injected over $ 100 billion into sanctions on the Iranian regime and its war chest. The funds will be used for Tehran’s nuclear program, its sponsorship of terrorism and its ballistic missile programs, Iran experts have long argued.
BIDEN HANDS HAND WITH PREVIOUS ISRAELI PM, BEGINS POLITICS “NO HANDS” ONLY BEFORE SAUDI MEETING
Katulis added: “Saudi leaders would also like to see stronger US commitments to regional security and a clearer plan for a long-term US strategy for the region.”
As for Saudi Arabia’s efforts under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, known under his initials MBS, to reform the ultra-Orthodox religious state, observers note significant progress.
“The modernization process continues step by step. It is far from complete, but with each passing year, Saudi Arabia finds less of an eccentricity, more of a normal country,” Pipes said.
“Inside the kingdom, the social and economic reforms that are hugely popular with the next generation of Saudis continue to move forward in important ways, and the old ways of thinking, based on a conservative interpretation of Islam, are being pushed further. out on the sidelines. ” said Katulis.
“Yet Saudi Arabia remains an absolute monarchy that is intolerant of a diversity of views and it still takes worrying steps to stifle dissent. It has a lot of work to do to respect fundamental human rights and freedoms, including religious freedom.”
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On Thursday, Biden was again asked about Khashoggi and whether he would take up the subject with the Saudis.
“My views on Khashoggi have been absolutely, positively clear, and I have never been quiet about talking about human rights,” Biden said.
Observers say a sign of whether Friday and Saturday’s meetings with the Saudis are successful will be to see the prices at the gas stations on Main Street next week.