When President Biden took office, his administration's policy was to treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" nation.
But several developments over the last two years may have changed that view, writes Richard Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Among them, the price of oil and the threat of Iran. With President Biden's visit to the Middle East in the coming weeks, we may see that change in policy up close.
Higher energy prices are fueling inflation, which has emerged as the greatest economic and political challenge facing the Biden administration. Suddenly, Saudi Arabia, the rare oil producer with the ability to increase output relatively quickly, is a much-needed partner again.
What could ultimately prove to be the most important reason, though, is Iran. The US and Saudi Arabia find themselves sharing mounting concern over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, as well as its support for violent groups in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon. It is a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Close cooperation between the Kingdom and the US will be essential if, as seems increasingly likely, diplomatic efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran fail – or fail to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear breakout with little or no notice.
Read more at CFR
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