The Guardian: Saudi Arabia’s friendship with Putin is a wake-up call for the West

The newspaper The Guardian believes in an article that the relationship of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Russian President Vladimir Putin should be an important warning to reformulate the relationship between Riyadh and the West. It should also be noted that the “goals of the West” should not be traded for what they called a cheap barrel of oil.

  • The Guardian believes that bin Salman should not be allowed to have the support of Western leaders

As the saying goes, every photo tells a story, and the image of smiling Russian President Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the opening match of the men’s World Cup in June 2018 in Moscow had an early and carried clear warning. to the West.

The message, according to the British newspaper “The Guardian”, was “for those who cared to respond to it. Saudi Arabia, cherished by the British in imperial times, defended by the United States against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Iran, and his closing links to the 9/11 attacks have been forgiven” is no longer an ally of Washington and London. approved in the past.

Bin Salman made new friends. He himself arrogantly rejects Western human rights issues. At the same time, according to the paper, he is pursuing a controversial regional foreign policy in Yemen and Lebanon, and building close relations with Russia and China.

The de facto ruler of Riyadh and the 37-year-old is expected to rule the country for the next 50 years.

Only four months after he was photographed with Putin on the football field, the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul comes. Two years later, Joe Biden was elected President of the United States. During his election campaign, he described Saudi Arabia, and implicitly its crown prince, as a “pariah” after Khashoggi’s murder. As president, he froze arms sales and disseminated intelligence about Bin Salman’s involvement in the case.

“Nothing was held accountable or changed,” according to the Guardian. Moreover, Biden’s “embarrassment” visit to Riyadh in the last July of this year, and his famous grip on the crown prince, was impossible to accept. Why did Biden do this? It was a question with several possible answers and equally unsatisfying, a question that now came back to haunt him, according to the newspaper.

Biden wanted the Saudis and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to boost or at least maintain oil production. All this is in light of Russia’s use of gas and oil as weapons in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. At a minimum, Biden wanted to lower the price of gasoline for American drivers and consumers, thereby increasing the Democrats’ chances in next month’s congressional elections.

But his visit did not come to fruition. Moreover, most, if not all, of Biden’s goals were blown up last week when OPEC+, a group that includes Russia, decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day.

It seems that this move really shocked the White House, and was taken as a personal slap in the face of the president. “It was humiliating,” according to the paper. “And just as bad” for Washington, it was a stunning victory for Putin.

While the oil cut may not make much of a difference to the world price, it pits the Saudis and their colleagues against the energy-hungry United States and Europe, along with the Russians, a claim the Saudis now deny.

Anger has since risen as Democrats threaten to impose sanctions on OPEC, suspend defense and security cooperation with Riyadh, freeze arms transfers, withdraw US forces and launch a sweeping reassessment of the US-Saudi relationship that Biden promised but never implemented.

According to the newspaper, Washington has a right to be angry. While some of these measures are unlikely to be implemented, the Saudi-US relationship is longstanding and remains toxic.

Saudi Arabia’s intermittent war in Yemen, and the US and British arms sales it has facilitated, could be a good trigger for any reassessment by Washington and London.

The paper believes that Riyadh should no longer be implicitly tolerated, especially in what it saw as just cases such as the Saudi regime’s mistreatment of women, for example Salma Al-Shehab, a university student in Leeds who was jailed for 34 years was because of her tweets. . In addition, Riyadh’s use of terrorism courts against its critics, its mass executions, its chronic denial of democratic rights, and its censorship of freedom of expression and personal liberties.

According to the newspaper, it is also unacceptable the way the regime tries to wash its reputation by buying it into international sports. For example, looking for Newcastle United in the English Premier League, funding prestigious golf and boxing tournaments using its petrodollars.

And if bin Salman “really prefers Putin’s company, he and his regime must pay a heavy price”, after the support of Western leaders and countries. He should think carefully about what this means, “especially for his kingdom’s future defense against Iran’s missiles and drones,” the newspaper reported.

Most importantly, the Guardian article concluded, “the United States and Western democracies must demonstrate by their actions that the 21st century global struggle for freedom and democracy … is too important, decisive, and epic for ‘ a barrel to be exchanged cheaply. oil.”

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