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Contrite Saudis suck up to Biden

“Saudi Arabia is extending an olive branch to the Biden administration,” Foreign Policy magazine says, noting that, “On Feb. 10, the kingdom released women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul after 1,001 days in prison …. Earlier this year, Riyadh released other political prisoners while announcing judicial reforms and revisions to state-approved schoolbooks that promoted martyrdom and anti-Semitism.”

Why? Because, “In Washington, Democratic control … has put the kingdom in a precarious position. … As a candidate, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah,’ knocked the crown prince as someone with ‘little social redeeming value,’ and vowed to reassess the bilateral relationship.”

Mohammed bin Salman

Last month, the Biden administration signaled it will release an intelligence report that is expected to say Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Adnan Kashoggi, a Saudi expatriate, journalist, and bin Salman critic.

While Saudi Arabia is nominally ruled by 85-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the 35-year-old crown prince is widely viewed as the real power behind the throne — and effectively a brutal dictator.

America and the Saudis share strategic interests, Foreign Policy says, but can only “pursue them together” if “Saudi Arabia curbs its human rights outrages.” The kingdom, by releasing prisoners and announcing judicial reforms, appears to be responding to U.S. pressure. But the rifts are still deep, and bin Salman is still a bad guy. Biden plans to bypass him and work directly with the king.

Read the full article here.

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