Biden abandons friend in need in Saudi Arabia

The Biden administration has pulled three Patriot missile batteries out of Saudi Arabia and is ending the permanent stationing of an aircraft carrier in the region.

According to the government, the Patriots and the carrier are needed elsewhere but it has not said where or how urgently. These steps surely expose Saudi Arabia to great danger from the Houthis in Yemen and the Saudis’ principal adversary, Iran.

The Biden administration’s steps coincide with China’s signing a long-term strategic and economic deal with Iran. 

This deal, which involves the oil and gas trade, directly undermines the remaining US sanctions on Iran and signals American allies in Europe that they better hurry back into Iran if they want any piece of Iran’s energy and trade.

Nor has the Biden administration complained about the China-Iran deal. The only comment from the administration was to note that China and the US share the same goal of opposing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Many foreign policy experts are scratching their heads as to why the Biden administration has chosen to ostracize Saudi Arabia and undermine a long-term strategic, military and economic relationship with the kingdom and other pro-American Gulf states.

One explanation is that the administration is going all out to persuade Iran that the US can be a good future partner. Iran, in this strategic perspective, is the only “real” power in the Persian Gulf. 

In this context, the only choices are to fight Iran or try to work deals with the mullahs’ regime. 

The other countries, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar are oil suppliers, but are weak militarily. Iran, by contrast, not only is strong militarily but directly and through its proxies is close to taking over Iraq, effectively controls Lebanon through Hezbollah and is a key player in Syria.

The administration has no ability to change these “facts,” so it is apparently trying something different.