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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Saudi Welcomes Assad, Sends Strong Signal to US 

The return of Riyadh’s impact was already evident during Biden’s visit

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

SAUDI ARABIA: When Syria was remanded to the Arab League last week, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman served as the master of ceremonies and provided a direct message to Washington about who governs the region.

It capped a turnabout in the prince’s fortunes decidedly brought on by geopolitical realities when he rapturously greeted President Bashar al-Assad at the Arab summit with kissed cheeks and a warm embrace. This defied US resistance to Syria’s re-entry into the fold.

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As a result of the United States’ saving Saudi Arabia from an invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1990, which also monitors Iranian military defence. military involvement in the Gulf and supplies Riyadh with the vast bulk of its weapons.

However, MbS is pursuing his own provincial policy with less evident subservience to being involved in the conflicting views of his most powerful ally, as Washington seems to be less and less sensitive to Riyadh’s worries.

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The return of Riyadh’s impact was already evident during US President Joe Biden’s July 2016 visit: the American president left vacant while the prince took great pride in a formal announcement of US assistance for Saudi security.

In the meantime, it was clear that Saudi Arabia was shifting its reliance away from the US when China successfully negotiated a peace deal between Riyadh and its important regional rival Iran this year after years of antagonism.

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Abdulaziz al-Sager, Chairman of the Gulf Research Centre at the summit, stated, “This is a strong signal to America that we’re reshaping and redrawing our relations without you,” adding, “He is not getting what he wants from the other side.”

In an oil-dependent world consumed by the disagreement in Ukraine, the prince, also known as MbS, seeks to restore Saudi Arabia’s stance as a regional power. He does this by using his position at the head of an enormous energy company.

The prince, who was ostracized by Western nations following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in 2018, has now emerged as a player that Washington cannot neglect or denounce but instead must deal with on a quid pro quo basis.

Also Read: Middle East and India Connectivity: Ajit Doval Meets US, UAE NSAs in Saudi Arabia


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