US-Saudi relations reach 'breaking point' - WSJ
The Wall Street Journal says the latest meeting between Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and US national security advisor Jake Sullivan did not go too well, with MBS shouting at Sullivan.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in September, which was their first meeting, in shorts at his seaside palace, and the prince shouted at Sullivan when he brought up the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
US officials have reported that the relationship between Washington and Riyadh has hit its lowest point in decades, especially after President Biden said Saudi should be treated as a pariah over various human rights issues, including Khashoggi's murder.
Political rifts have deepened between the two countries in light of the war in Ukraine, according to both US and Saudi officials.
Washington requested that Saudi pump more oil to mitigate the rising oil prices and undermine Russia's economy, but Riyadh did not comply, conducting business as usual.
Bin Salman has been very vocal about wanting to be recognized as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and future king by Biden, though the Democrat is yet to meet or speak with the prince, as his administration's policy has been clear since day one: the Saudi King is Biden's counterpart. Biden has also gone as far as telling US citizens to blame surging gas prices on low Saudi oil output, the WSJ reported.
Still, MBS has stressed several times that Riyadh agreed with the Biden administration on 90% of issues, revealing that the two sides are cooperating to find common ground on their disagreements.
Saudi officials have underlined that it was a risk for the US for Saudi to align more closely with China and Russia, or at least remain neutral on issues pivotal for Washington, following the same doctrine it has been following on Ukraine.
At a certain point, the Biden administration stopped asking Saudi to pump more oil, only asking Riyadh not to do anything that would hurt the West's efforts in Ukraine, a senior US official told the WSJ.
The Saudis have been retaliating against the US, cutting short a high-level military delegation to Washington last summer and calling off a visit by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that had been scheduled for last fall. A planned visit set for last month by State Secretary Antony Blinken was also canceled, with US officials claiming there had been scheduling conflicts.
US officials have tried several times to mend relations with Saudi, and White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk has spearheaded several attempts to do so, but with Biden opposing broad concessions to Riyadh, very little progress has been made on the issue.
Saudi Arabia has also rejected a request made by McGurk in February to release former Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef and his uncle, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz.