Saudi Arabia, which is likely to miss out more on Joe Biden’s U.S. election victory than any other Arab country, took the time to comment after Donald Trump’s defeat. Riyadh was backed by Middle East policies and strong opposition to Iran.
Other Arab countries competed to applaud the Democrat Challenger, and the country’s real ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, remained silent for hours on the US ballot. He sent warm words to the Tanzanian president in the re-election.
Prince Mohammed’s personal relationship with Trump is crucial in the face of international criticism of Riyadh’s charter, which led to the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh’s role in the Yemen war, and the detention of women activists.
Conflicts between Biden, a major oil exporter and US arms buyer, and Saudi Arabia are likely to change these areas now.
At the Istanbul Consulate in Riyadh, the former US Vice President took more responsibility for Khashoggi’s assassination and called for an end to US support for the war in Yemen in a campaign to restore ties with the country.
“The only thing worse than Kovid-19 will be Biden-20,” said Saudi Twitter user Dr. As Tip wrote, several other Saudi users on the social media platform ignored the results in the first hours after US networks called for the Biden election.
A Saudi political source pointing to Riyadh’s historic relationship with Washington reduces the risk of a fall between the country and the United States.
But Saudi Arabia’s Ocas newspaper understands the uncertainty about how it will work for the country in the future. “The area is waiting … preparing … what will happen after Biden’s victory,” it wrote in a front-page article.
The country will not have to wait long. Neil Quilliam, an associate fellow in the UK’s think tank, said the Biden government would give an early indication of dissatisfaction with Saudi domestic and foreign policy.
The Saudi leadership is concerned that a Biden regime and the hostile Congress will conduct a thorough review of relations, including a review of defense ties, and therefore make positive voices and moves to end the Yemeni conflict.
Saudi Arabia has been an enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s “maximum pressure” on tough sanctions on its regional rival, Iran. But Biden said he would return to the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, which he discussed during Biden’s tenure as vice president during the Barack Obama administration.
Abu Sayyid, a cashier at a supermarket in Riyadh, said he hoped Biden would take a different approach. “I’m not happy about Biden’s victory, but he’s learning from Obama’s mistakes and realizing that Iran is a common enemy,” he said.
Saudi political sources said that the country has the ability to interact with any president as the US is a country of institutions and there is a lot of institutional activity going on between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
“Saudi-US relations are deep, stable and strategic, and change is unlikely with the change of a president,” he said.
Prince Mohammed was ordered to order Khashoggi’s assassination, but in 2019 it accepted personal responsibility. Eight people have been jailed in Riyadh for seven to 20 years in connection with the case.