The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has recently declared that he is done pleasing the United States. This statement has raised many questions about the future of Saudi-US relations, the Middle East's political dynamics, and the global balance of power. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this statement, its implications for Saudi Arabia and the US, and the broader geopolitical context that shapes these developments.
Who is Mohammed bin Salman?
Before delving into the reasons behind the Saudi Crown Prince's statement, let us briefly introduce him. Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, is the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and the heir apparent to the Saudi throne. He rose to power in 2017 after his father, King Salman, removed his cousin as Crown Prince and appointed him in his place. Since then, MBS has launched ambitious economic and social reforms, such as Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the Saudi economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues. However, his tenure has also been marked by controversies, such as the crackdown on dissent, the war in Yemen, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Why did MBS make this statement?
MBS made his statement during an interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, in which he discussed various issues related to Saudi-US relations. He expressed frustration with the US's policies towards Saudi Arabia, particularly its stance on Iran and its support for Israel. He accused the US of abandoning its allies and appeasing its enemies, which he described as a "wrong approach." He also criticized the US for not doing enough to counter Iran's influence in the region, and for failing to prevent the Houthi rebels in Yemen from launching missile attacks against Saudi Arabia.
MBS's statement reflects his growing assertiveness in foreign policy, as well as his perception that the US is no longer a reliable partner for Saudi Arabia. He may also be trying to signal to the US that he is willing to pursue his own agenda, regardless of US interests or demands. Some analysts see his statement as a way to test the Biden administration's response and gauge its commitment to the Saudi-US alliance.
What are the implications of this statement?
MBS's statement has several implications for Saudi Arabia and the US, as well as for the broader Middle East and global politics.
Firstly, it could strain the already fragile relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US. The two countries have been close allies for decades, based on mutual security interests, oil cooperation, and strategic partnerships. However, their ties have been strained in recent years, partly due to the Khashoggi case and the US's changing energy landscape. MBS's statement could exacerbate this trend, as it sends a message that Saudi Arabia is no longer willing to blindly follow US policy and is prepared to take a more independent stance. This could create tensions and disagreements between the two countries on issues such as Iran, Israel, and regional conflicts.
Middle East dynamics
Secondly, it could affect the balance of power in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the US have traditionally been seen as pillars of the regional order, along with Israel and Iran. If their relationship deteriorates further, this could create a power vacuum that other actors, such as Russia, China, or Turkey, could exploit. It could also embolden Iran to pursue its regional ambitions, such as supporting its proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. This could lead to more instability, conflicts, and human suffering in the region.
Thirdly, it could have implications for global politics, especially in the context of the emerging multipolar world order. The US has
been the dominant global power for decades, but its position is being challenged by rising powers such as China and Russia. Saudi Arabia, as a key player in the Middle East and a major oil producer, has strategic importance for many countries, including the US, China, and Russia. If MBS's statement signals a shift in Saudi Arabia's foreign policy towards a more independent and assertive stance, this could have ripple effects in global politics, such as changes in energy markets, security alliances, and trade relations.
MBS's statement that he is done pleasing the United States has stirred controversy and speculation about its motives and implications. It reflects his growing assertiveness in foreign policy, as well as his perception that the US is no longer a reliable partner for Saudi Arabia. It could strain the Saudi-US relationship, affect the balance of power in the Middle East, and have global implications. The future of Saudi-US relations is uncertain, and it will depend on many factors, such as regional conflicts, energy markets, human rights, and geopolitical dynamics.
What is the Saudi-US alliance based on? The Saudi-US alliance is based on mutual security interests, oil cooperation, and strategic partnerships.
What is Vision 2030? Vision 2030 is a plan launched by Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the Saudi economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues.
Why is the US's stance on Iran controversial? The US's stance on Iran is controversial because it has imposed sanctions on Iran and pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, while Iran has continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
What is the Khashoggi case? The Khashoggi case refers to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, which was widely condemned by the international community.
What are the implications of the Saudi-US alliance for global politics? The Saudi-US alliance has implications for global politics, such as energy markets, security alliances, and trade relations, and it is being challenged by rising powers such as China and Russia.