The Saudi foreign affairs minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, has denied the report that the Crown Prince mocks President Biden as mentally challenged, stating that “These allegations made by unnamed sources are entirely false.” He also stated that “The kingdom’s leaders have also always held the deepest respect for U.S. presidents, focusing on the kingdom’s belief in the value of having a relationship that is based on mutual respect.”
In spite of this, the two heads of state have not had a positive relationship for quite some time, even before Joe Biden became Vice President. During his campaign for the presidency in 2020, Biden referred to Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” because of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he also stated that he saw “little or no social redeemable qualities in the current govt in Saudi Arabia.”
Then, after his refusal to communicate with MbS for more than a year (teleprompter issues? ), Saudi officials who were there during a meeting in Jeddah in July claimed that it was obvious that Biden did not want to be there, and that he was not interested in discussing policy.
As per David Schenker, a high-ranking State Dept official under the Trump administration who is now a colleague at The Washington Research center for Mideast Policy, a think tank, “the communications with the Biden government were so terrible for the first 2 years that one visit was totally inadequate to propel Saudi to pull away from” its oil coalition with Moscow. Schenker made these statements while serving as a senior figure under the Trump administration.
The Journal observes that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been tense for years, but the hostility between Vice President Joe Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has “deepened the friction, and it is sure to become only worse.”
During his first few weeks of office, the president decided to freeze Saudi arms sales, rolled back a last-minute decision by the Trump administration to designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization, and released the intelligence assessment on the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, that Mr. Trump had initially dismissed as unreliable. -WSJ
“Rarely has the string of broken expectations and imagined insults or humiliations been larger than they are present,” said veteran US Mideast diplomat Aaron David Miller, who works at the Carnegie Investment fund for International Peace. “Rarely has the chain of ruptured expectations and perceived slurs and embarrassments been greater than they are now.” There is almost no trust, and there is no regard for one another at all.
The United States had requested that OPEC and its allies delay the ruling until after the midterm elections; however, the Saudis directed OPEC+ in cutting production anyway, which they disclosed in a damning letter almost two weeks ago. This may be the biggest “f-you” that the Biden administration has ever received.