Saudi Arabia was in the news recently when its young crown prince fist-bumped Joe Biden and met with the US president, despite the latter threatening to make the former a ‘pariah’ when he first came to office over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The meeting was cordial but represented a turning point in America’s role in the region, if not the world when the Saudi Prince defended himself from Biden’s opprobrium by mentioning that the US was also guilty of human rights abuses in Iraq.
The conclusion of the meeting was very small. The Saudi prince agreed in principle to increase oil production by a million barrels a day as a token to Biden but in reality, what we witnessed was a moment in history, a tipping point where America really lost its hegemony in the region and became a client state of the Saudis.
Indeed, the real event of Biden’s trip was not his own meetings in Israel or Saudi Arabia. It was a minor detail in the wings, which, for regional analysts, was big news. CNN’s Nic Robertson spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and what he told the reporter was astonishing. Briefly, he said quite candidly that the Saudis are looking for a diplomatic solution to remove the Iranian threat and were hoping that the Iranians “would reply in kind”.
The Saudi foreign minister even hinted that he didn’t agree with Biden’s promises to strike Iran if it were to acquire nuclear weapons signalling that this previous mindset of ‘how to hit Iran’ has been dismissed by the Saudis who have woken up to an old ruse by America which costs them dearly in the long run and only stokes tensions. The Saudis have moved on, and Biden’s narrative is seen for what it is: empty words from a script written by the Israelis.