US President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia was to put pressure on Riyadh to increase their oil production in order to harm Russia. However, Biden did not achieve the goal of his trip. The trip has caused tension in the region by allowing the Israeli airlines to fly over Saudi Arabian airspace, and by working to build a so called ‘New Middle Eastern NATO’ to use against Iran and its allies.
The Persian Gulf Arab states are generally cohesive, but on the topic of relations with Iran there are some divisions. For example, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman have some good communications with Iran. The US and Israel have been successful in pressuring the Persian Gulf Arab states into perceiving Iran as an enemy, rather than a neighbor, fellow Muslim society, and a valuable business partner. In my opinion, Arab states have much more in common with Iran, than with America or Israel.
There is a change in the US behavior to Saudi Arabia. The famous fist-bump between Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was very significant. It was a friendly gesture, even more so than a normal handshake for diplomatic purposes. This choice of a fist-bump put the two leaders on a friendly and personal level, which is a big departure from the former Biden accusations against MBS as a killer, and the Kingdom as a pariah state. This appears to be a re-set in the relationship between the two leaders.
In my opinion, Biden was not successful in turning Saudi Arabia away from Russia in the areas of security and defense. MBS is well aware that the US military and defenses could have done more in the attack on the Aramco oil facilities. Riyadh has not put all their defense and security ‘eggs in one basket’. They have been re-thinking sources and strategies to protect themselves. There was a recent phone call between Russian President Putin and MBS.
Trump and Biden have looked toward Saudi Arabia to further US interests. Trump wanted money from Riyadh in the form of lucrative weapons contracts, and Biden is looking for increased oil production to help him on his US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine.
Trump had made a 2016 campaign promise to US voters that he would end the ‘forever-wars’ in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He tried to pull out of Syria, but was prevented by the Pentagon. He ordered the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but had left office before it was completed by the Biden administration.
It appears that the Biden administration began without a clearly defined Middle East policy, and had left the region boiling over on its own. However, when Biden recognized the need for increased oil production to support his war in Ukraine, suddenly he changed course and decided the US belongs in the Middle East, and will keep up their never ending plans for chaos and division among the countries of the region.