According to the Guardian's Julian Borger, the ruling family in Saudi Arabia is keeping its distance from President Joe Biden and his administration when it comes to mitigating the damage Russia is inflicting on Ukraine because they're hoping for the return of Donald Trump.
Noting that Mohammed bin Salman, the "kingdom’s de facto ruler," reportedly refused to take a call from Biden and that the kingdom handed over $2 billion to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner's fledgling investment fund, Borger suggested the Saudis would prefer dealing with the former president and his inner circle.
"Prince Mohammed shows signs of betting on the return to office of Trump in 2024, and the resumption of the Trump administration’s cosy relationship with Riyadh," Borger wrote before quoting Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA official.
“It boils down to something very simple. The Saudis – meaning Mohammed bin Salman – have chosen Trump over Biden, and they’re sticking to their bet," he explained before adding, "It’s not an unreasonable proposition. Trump gave them everything they wanted: complete support in Yemen, support over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, whatever they wanted in terms of access in the United States.”
John Jenkins, a former UK ambassador to the Saudis, concurred.
"I suspect [the crown prince] is betting on the Republicans winning big in the midterms and then regaining the presidency – with or without Trump," he said. "He probably thinks Biden is politically weak and he can therefore afford to spite him. That sends a signal not just to the Dems but also to the Republican party. And – judging by the debate raging in DC policy circles on these matters – it’s working.”
According to Riedel, he doesn't see anything changing soon.
“I don’t see it changing very much. The Saudis have chosen to go with Putin and the oil production level they want, and the world economy is adjusting to that,” he explained. “I don’t think there’s much room for manoeuvre for Biden either … I think there are powerful forces against that.”
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