Saudi Arab

Saudi abuses, war crimes unchecked as Biden’s empty threats only made MBS more arrogant: Think tank

The US will never penalize its Saudi client for anything, and there are never any practical consequences for the kingdom’s war crimes and abuses, says an American think tank.

Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia pressured the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC Plus) alliance in October to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day, the US administration is dropping its threats against the kingdom, Responsible Statecraft said in an article.

“The White House’s anger over the cut had already cooled shortly after the midterm elections, and since then the administration has been only too quick to cater to Saudi requests,” it added.

The article also explained that the US administration even lobbied against the new Yemen war powers resolution which could have ended Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition’s devastating war in Yemen.

“Under [US president Joe] Biden, the US not only doesn’t use its leverage to pressure Saudi Arabia to change its behavior, but it also applies pressure on members of Congress to satisfy the Saudis,” it said, adding that, “the US reliably gives in to Saudi pressure and does nothing to respond even when their government acts directly against US interests.”

It further criticized the US’s increasing military cooperation with Saudi Arabia, saying that the US must correct its “overinvestment of resources in the Middle East” and scale back its “military involvement in the region.”

“The US should be looking for ways to reduce and ultimately end the military assistance it provides to the Saudis, including arms sales. This is important for the US so that it is no longer aiding and abetting Saudi crimes,” it said.

The think tank noted that empty threats of punishment have only made the crown prince even more arrogant and contemptuous of the US as our officials hasten to “reassure” him every time he undermines American interests.

“This is likely to make the crown prince more reckless in the future, and it will become even more difficult to rein in his abuses.”

The article also said that Biden’s last summer visit to Riyadh has signaled that Saudi Arabia can “act with impunity,” and the climb-down in the last few months has confirmed that the US will never penalize its Saudi client for anything.

“The Saudi government can rest assured that it has nothing to fear from Congress or the Biden administration. No matter what anyone in Washington may say against the Saudi government’s many abuses and war crimes, there are never any practical consequences,” it added.

It stated that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has learned over the course of both the Trump and Biden administrations that he can ride out any backlash because he can count on reliable US backing no matter how many dissidents he kills and no matter how many civilians his forces and proxies kill in Yemen.

The article described Saudi Arabia as “a security dependent and a liability” and the Saudi-led war on Yemen as a “destabilizing disgrace.”

It also termed the Saudi-US relationship “a mockery of Biden’s democracy and human rights rhetoric.”

“The US-Saudi relationship is indeed transactional, but in these transactions, the US is always left empty-handed and burdened with additional commitments. A transaction in which only one party benefits is usually called a scam, and that is how the relationship with Riyadh should be viewed,” it added.


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