September 30, 2023

Biden welcomes Saudi Crown Prince MBS with warm handshake at G20 summit

Title: President Biden’s Friendly Interaction with Saudi Crown Prince Raises Controversy

In a surprising turn of events, President Joe Biden welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a warm handshake and a big grin at the G20 summit held in India. This encounter marked a significant shift in their relationship, given that just 14 months ago, Biden publicly criticized the prince as an international “pariah” and accused him of human rights abuses.

The change in tone between the two leaders is particularly striking considering that, in 2021, the US intelligence community found evidence linking the crown prince to the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi’s murder and called for the kingdom to be treated as a pariah.

Interestingly, Biden and the crown prince had also exchanged a fist bump during their first meeting in 2022, indicating a potentially warmer relationship developing. However, it was during Biden’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia that his rhetoric and body language towards the crown prince began to noticeably soften. Notably, Biden requested an increase in the kingdom’s oil production during his visit – a move that raised eyebrows regarding the potential consequences for Khashoggi’s case.

President Biden’s conciliatory approach towards the crown prince has faced intense criticism, with Khashoggi’s fiancée accusing him of having blood on his hands. The decision by a federal judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed against the crown prince by Khashoggi’s fiancée further fueled the controversy. The Biden administration argued for sovereign immunity for the prince, which many perceive as a blow to justice and accountability for Khashoggi’s killing.

This unexpected change in diplomatic behavior has left observers puzzled and ignited a debate over the Biden administration’s commitment to human rights and its approach to international relations. As President Biden seeks to balance America’s interests and values, the cognitive dissonance between his promises and actions in relation to Saudi Arabia and the crown prince remain apparent.

In an ever-changing geopolitical landscape, one can only wonder about the lasting implications of this newfound friendliness between President Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As the world closely watches these developments, the consequences for human rights, justice, and the United States’ international standing are likely to be significant and far-reaching.