Just imagine- The US President wants to talk to some other leader but simply gets ghosted? Well, it has actually happened. Biden has been trying to contact Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), for quite some time now. But they aren’t picking his calls.
MBZ and MBS not picking Biden’s calls
As per a Wall Street Journal report, Biden tried to contact MBZ and MBS for mobilising support against Russia amidst the ongoing Ukraine crisis. More importantly, Biden wants their oil, because he has banned Russian crude oil supplies in the US.
However, the Saudis and the Emiratis are miffed with the US over its flawed Middle East policy. The American response to missile attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seemed to isolate Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Also, Biden was going ahead with the Iran nuclear deal without taking Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s interests into consideration.
So, MBS and MBZ decided to settle scores with Biden. They took phone calls from Putin last week but rejected Biden’s attempts to contact them.
“Simply, I do not care,” says MBS
In fact, Saudi crown prince MBS has gone as far as warning the Biden administration against its habit of interfering in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs during an interview with The Atlantic.
MBS, who functions as the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, said that the US President should be “focusing on America’s interests.” And then came the big advice. The Saudi crown prince said, “We don’t have the right to lecture you in America. The same goes the other way.”
When asked whether the US President misunderstood things about him, he had a bluntly reply- “Simply, I do not care.”
Bullying the greatest bully
The behaviour and language of Gulf leaders towards the United States is surprisingly harsh.
What they are doing is to actually bully the greatest bully- Joe Biden. Ever since Biden came to power, he did everything under his control to undermine MBS and MBZ. He tried to side-track MBS by establishing diplomatic contact with King Salman. And then, there was all the propaganda about the Jamal Khashoggi case.
The UAE too faced Biden’s bullying. Trump had cracked the F-35 fighter aircraft deal with Abu Dhabi. But Biden started playing tough and tried to suspend the American military assistance to the UAE.
However, once crude oil prices escalated and surpassed $130 per barrel, the US was no longer in a position to bully the Saudis and Emiratis. MBS and MBZ know that Biden needs their oil and now they can play ‘hard-to-get’.
Meanwhile, Biden faces escalating inflation back home and pump prices are simply becoming a bit too much for American citizens. But he isn’t getting much support from any part of the world.
Biden even tried to replace Russian oil with Iranian oil and combat inflation. But Iran too isn’t giving any relief to him.
Tehran has been weaponising the JCPOA or the Iran nuclear deal. It is backing its ally Russia and not letting the JCPOA get through. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the “Mafia regime” of the US has created a crisis in Ukraine. Reports also show that Russia could derail the JCPOA negotiations to pile up pressure on the West. This literally places Biden at the mercy of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are in no mood to help him out.
Biden is getting snubbed from all sides, but it is MBZ and MBS who have actually given him the biggest humiliation of his career.