Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Blinken's visit to Riyadh: Searching for a lifeline for the American economy

Wednesday 07/June/2023 - 09:01 PM
The Reference
Ahmed Adel


The visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from June 6-8 raises many questions about its goals and results, while observers have attributed the visit to an attempt to save the US economy.

The US State Department announced that the visit comes with the aim of holding talks with Saudi officials on a number of issues related to Middle East security, in addition to discussing economic, political and security cooperation with the Kingdom.

In an official statement, the US State Department said that Blinken would arrive in Saudi Arabia at a critical time, in light of the flaring security situation in Sudan, and Saudi Arabia entering the crisis line as a result of its adoption of mediation between the conflicting parties.

On the second day of his official visit to Saudi Arabia, Blinken attended the meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.


Saudi-American relations after Biden

Saudi-American relations have recently been in a state of apathy, especially after Joe Biden was elected as president of the United States and after the OPEC decision to cut oil production by about two million barrels per day, which led to Washington’s anger with the Kingdom, at a time when Saudi Arabia ignored that anger, stressing that the aim of the decision is purely economic to stabilize prices.

Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia came as the Kingdom began to pursue a new diplomatic approach based on zeroing in on problems, which recently culminated in the signing of a historic agreement with regional rival Iran, ending seven years of rupture, which worried the United States and Israel. Riyadh also played a prominent role in the return of Syria to the Arab embrace, which is something that Washington objected to.

Since signing a historic agreement with Iran, Riyadh has led efforts that would redraw the scene in the Middle East, while it continues its efforts to end the war in Yemen, where it has already entered into negotiations with the Houthi rebels. Therefore, the Yemeni crisis is expected to be on the agenda of the US Secretary of State's visit to the Kingdom.

Earlier, John Kirby, national security spokesman at the White House, confirmed that Riyadh is still a strategic partner for Washington even if the two sides do not agree on all issues, explaining that the two countries are working to address common security challenges.


Sensitive timing

Mohamed Rabie al-Daihi, a researcher in international relations, said that the visit comes at a very sensitive time, where Riyadh is witnessing a state of political openness to various international and regional powers, in addition to Washington's fears of a high debt ceiling, which may lead to a state of chaos in the American system, in addition to the Saudi reconciliation with Iran, which was achieved through Chinese efforts.

Daihi confirmed in an exclusive statement to the Reference that there is no doubt that Blinken's visit came with the aim of improving relations with the Arab Gulf states, which are now seeking to build international and regional alliances that worry Washington.

Blinken's visit to Riyadh also comes in an attempt to reach economic agreements that may contribute to saving the flagging US economy, Daihi added.