Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is questioning US President Joe Biden's mental state and mocking privately his tendency for slip-ups and sometimes not entirely successful improvisations, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its electronic version, citing unnamed "individuals in the Saudi government."
As it noted, the kingdom's 37-year-old crown prince also tells advisers that Biden, who turns 80 in November, did not impress him back when he was vice president of the United States. Biden held that post in the administration of US President Barack Obama from 2009-2017. In addition, according to the newspaper, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud does not hide the fact that he much preferred the interaction with the previous American leader, Republican Donald Trump, over working with Democrat Biden.
The article expresses the view that the "unspoken pact between the United States and Saudi Arabia," which has survived "15 presidents and seven kings," is now "falling apart under two leaders who dislike and distrust each other." "The animosity between Mr. Biden and Prince Mohammed has exacerbated tensions" between Washington and Riyadh, a situation likely to worsen, the paper wrote. "There is basically no trust and absolutely no mutual respect between the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United States right now," Aaron David Miller, one of Washington's most authoritative experts on the Middle East, who has long served in the diplomatic arena under both Democratic and Republican administrations and in recent years has worked at the Carnegie Endowment, told The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told the newspaper that Riyadh's interests at this stage are not at all limited to "energy and defense." "It might have been 50 years ago. But it is certainly not the case today," the minister pointed out. "Our economic agenda is critical to our survival," said the Saudi foreign minister. He denied, according to the article, that the crown prince was speaking disparagingly about Biden in a small circle.
Reaction in Washington
Commenting at a regular briefing for reporters on The Wall Street Journal article, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the newspaper's account ludicrous. "I'm not going to comment on these kinds of ludicrous statements," she said. The White House spokesperson added that Biden has "made it clear" since taking office that Washington "needs to review the relationship with Saudi Arabia." "We intend to continue that review. As soon as there is something that we are willing to share [with the public], we will share it. We view the decisions made recently by OPEC+ as something that [the countries in the association] have sided with Russia," Jean-Pierre said. She said OPEC+ decisions would "hurt many economies around the world."
OPEC+ member countries agreed at a face-to-face meeting in Vienna on October 5 to cut oil production by 2 million bpd starting in November, and extended the deal until the end of 2023. From the US government's perspective, the OPEC+ decision demonstrates that Saudi Arabia is aligning its energy policy with Russia. Biden spoke in favor of reviewing relations between Washington and Riyadh in this regard. The kingdom's authorities strongly disagreed. The head of the Saudi MFA stressed that the OPEC+ decision had no political motives and was "exclusively of an economic nature."
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: official website of the President of the Russian Federation
Based on materials from TASS