Those options include purchasing weapons from other providers including India, Russia, and South Korea as well as establishing a joint front with Israel, in a kind of Middle East NATO that would help to combat the region’s multiple challenges.
While Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally received his phone call from US President Joe Biden on Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s leaders are still waiting for their turn.
The catch is that it might not be coming any time soon. Washington has already stated that it will not place a call to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and that President Biden will adhere to a “peer-to-peer” policy, talking to his father, King Salman, instead.
A Bad Start
For Ahmed Al Ibrahim, a Riyadh-based political analyst, the attitude of the new administration in Washington is a “bad start” and he says the elites of Saudi Arabia are “alarmed” at the course relations are taking.
“The intelligence and defence establishment in Washington understands the importance of having Saudi Arabia as America’s ally”, said Al Ibrahim, referring to the phone call between Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and MBS several days ago where he reiterated his country’s commitment to regional security.
It is not really clear what’s behind that decision to “downgrade” those ties. Part of the reason could be Saudi activities in Yemen against the Houthi rebels that Washington no longer regards as a terrorist group. Or it could be the alleged violations of human rights in…