Fundamentals of Saudi–US relations won’t be transformed into variables

March 02, 2021
Dr. Ali Al-Khoshaiban

THE historic Saudi-American relationship was not decided by the current administration in the United States. These strategic ties came into a reality when two of the world’s great men King Abdulaziz and President Franklin Roosevelt met in 1945 aboard the ship USS Quincy. That meeting witnessed the laying down of basic rules for a strategic relationship that is impossible to be compromised for strategic reasons concerning not only the two countries but also for the international stability and safeguarding of the global system.

The political status of the Saudi leadership is not tested in the new unacceptable report in all its details, whether at the international or popular level, as the Saudi society shows unflinching loyalty to the institution of governance in Saudi Arabia led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, who made through his achievements, a prominent political stature that qualified him for his political standing at the international, regional and popular levels.

Historical facts have established that the constants in US-Saudi relations will not turn into moving variables. Both Saudi Arabia and the United States, throughout their long history of relationship, went through many political turns, and perhaps the oil crisis in the year 1973 was the best example which showed that the solid relationship will not go with basic constants to be transformed into variants simply because of the reliance of the current US administration on an intelligence report, in whose formulation linguistically inaccurate terms were used to achieve its goal in terms of meaning.

All these terms, as stated in the intelligence report, used words lacking meaning in both the Arabic and English languages, and these include suppose, we feel, we believe, we expect, we think, it’s possible, assess, highly unlikely, probably, suggests, claimed publicly, and we judge.
Before we get into the important question behind this report and the timing chosen for its publication, it is important to point out that the Kingdom, in fact, was more transparent and honest than this report, as it published its judicial data in the case of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi through official channels and published it to the world without hesitation.

The Kingdom also allowed international bodies to attend the court sessions and issued official statements and explained the reasons for the heinous crime that Saudi Arabia rejects, as it follows a path that conflicts with Saudi values, its political history and Islamic values.
The direct response to this report came from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which affirmed that “the Kingdom’s government categorically rejects the abusive and incorrect conclusions contained in the report about the Kingdom’s leadership and cannot be accepted in any way.”

The ministry confirmed in its official statement that “it is truly regrettable that such a report and its incorrect and unjustified conclusions were issued at a time when the Kingdom condemned this heinous crime and its leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such an unfortunate incident would not be repeated in the future. Similarly the Kingdom rejected any matter that would prejudice its leadership, sovereignty and independence of its judiciary.”

The important question revolves around the dimensions that push the current US administration to risk strategic relations with the most important among its allies in the Middle East. At a time when the US officials themselves are exerting efforts to further strengthen the depth of this relationship, publishing of such an intelligence report, of which the credibility is not sure, offends a strategic ally surrounded by international powers of China and Russia, which are competing with the US. This is a probabilistic report in its language more than something else, discussing the killing of a Saudi citizen, which Saudi Arabia admitted and held accountable those who perpetrated it in an independent judicial context.

It seems that such a course of action came from the part of the Biden administration — and that is at the expense of a strategic ally — in the context of its coup against former President Trump to search for a political identity when the US is facing the emergence of an ideological disparity that appears to blatantly challenge the American principles established by the founding fathers.

The US report will not go beyond the field of soft warfare as well as an attempt to reach the use of tools and arts of power over the American public opinion in the first place by the current administration, by reviving specific pages from the previous Trump period, and trying to destroy its strategic achievements in favor of the current administration and creating new interpretations of how President Biden wants to bring the US back to the world stage.

On the other hand, the American administration is aware of the danger of compromising the strategic alliances that have contributed to the building of America and consolidated its strategic interests since World War II. Therefore, we have witnessed attempts to confirm this relationship between allies, which comes amid a turbulent international arena that predicts the rise of strong competitors of the US at the global level.

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