In 2019, Joe Biden asserted that Saudi Arabia should pay a high price for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. His words were very harsh: “We are going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are”. Saudi Arabia was to become a pariah state.
Recent decisions and statements by the 46th President indicate that this will not happen. The tone is firmer, the condemnation vigorous, but we will move forward by maintaining the relationship between the United States and its turbulent ally.
For many, the Biden administration is experiencing its first failure. There was hope that the coming to power of the former vice-president would spell the end of recess for authoritarian regimes. If the manner and the tone have changed since the departure of Donald Trump, the results are not radically different.
For the moment, we are content to punish the executors of low works, but we are not attacking the top of the pyramid. The crown prince will not be seriously bothered as information and various investigations identify him as the main responsible for the assassination of Khashoggi.
Joe Biden therefore seems to favor short-term interests rather than ensuring that his country sends a powerful message to the leaders of this region who might be tempted to imitate Mohammed Ben Salman. The new US president could hardly punish another after he circumvents the problem in Saudi Arabia.
The complex relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is not at its first shake. It should be remembered that after September 11, 2001 we did not fail to note that the country had tolerated within its borders the religious current which inspired the majority of the terrorists involved in the attacks against the United States. .
Maintaining relations with such a controversial ally can only be explained by the importance of Saudi Arabia in the region. We do not want to weaken it vis-à-vis Iran and the world still needs its oil production. Its leaders are therefore entitled to very different treatment from other pariah states such as North Korea and rival Iran.
“The United States is back” likes to repeat Joe Biden. The allies rejoice and there is no lack of files to prove the will of the Americans to defend democracy and human rights, but in this case the President of the United States inflicts a black eye on his country.