The US Secretary of State is visiting Saudi Arabia from June 6-8. Decline in oil production, sanctions against Russia and differences on regional issues, disagreements are numerous between Washington and Riyadh.
As disagreements grow between Riyadh and Washington, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is visiting Saudi Arabia until June 8.
The American diplomat notably met the strong man of the kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman, with whom he spoke for 1 hour and 40 minutes. According to Reuters, which quoted a Biden government official, the conversation between the two men was “frank and open.” They discussed regional issues, such as the Sudanese crisis, the Yemeni question or negotiations with Israel with a view to normalization.
Russian-Saudi agreement on black gold
This visit comes in a context of normalization with Iran and a new drop in oil production, in addition to a broader OPEC+ agreement to limit supply and thus increase the price of a barrel. The price of Brent is today 76 dollars a barrel, against 140 in March 2022. This reduction, supported by Russia, is a new snub for Washington, which sees its Saudi ally increasingly distancing itself from his interests.
Last April, OPEC had also decided on a new reduction, against the advice of the White House. The American authorities had reacted to the surprise production cuts by judging that they were “not opportune”, given the rise in interest rates and galloping inflation in consumer countries. The Saudi will to cut production is rightly perceived as the end of an era, that of unconditional alignment with the Pentagon’s agenda.
Moreover, an article from Wall Street Journal published on April 3, claimed that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had recently told his associates that he was “no longer interested in pleasing the United States”. A posture that is also part of a geopolitical change.
The head of the CIA in Riyadh
The conflict in Ukraine revealed this US-Saudi estrangement. On several occasions, Washington expected Riyadh to follow suit on the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Nothing happened, and the monarchy confined itself to the role of mediator for the release of prisoners of war. The end of the marginalization of Mohammed ben Salmane following the affair of the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Western flattery with the many trips to the kingdom have not changed anything. The strongman of Saudi Arabia adopts a kind of realpolitik that responds to the economic and security interests of his country.
Faced with growing Saudi political independence, CIA director Williams Burns went on the sly to Riyadh last April to meet with Mohammed bin Salman. He would have told him of his “frustration” concerning the recent warming of relations with Damascus and Tehran as well as the agreement with China and Russia.
In the face of declining oil production, its neutrality towards the conflict in Ukraine, patching up with former enemies and its growing interest in joining the BRICS, Saudi Arabia is embracing a pragmatic policy according to the situation, even if it means moving away from his former ally and protector. It will take more than a visit from Anthony Blinken to reverse the trend.
RT All Fr Trans