Saudi Arabia was once considered America's No. 1 friend and ally in the Arab world. Since President Joe Biden came to power, however, US-Saudi relations have rapidly deteriorated.
The recent OPEC+ decision to cut oil production and the Biden administration's subsequent verbal attack on Saudi Arabia have seen the crisis between Washington and Riyadh reach new heights, with many Saudis launching unprecedented criticism of the Biden administration and its foreign policies.
The Saudis believe that the Biden administration's hostility towards Saudi Arabia is the result of the influence of far-left US politicians who have infiltrated the Democratic Party.
The Saudis, in addition, are warning that the Biden administration is acting against America's interests in the Middle East by alienating and insulting Saudi Arabia and other traditional allies of the US in the Arab world. According to Saudi author Mohammed Al-Saed:
"Biden and many Washington policy veterans have succumbed to the whims of immigrant, left-wing extremists who are leading America at home to a deep division that has reached its traditional [Arab] allies... This is the America of Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and many others who infiltrated the bases of the Democratic Party during the past years. They are the children of immigrants who came to America carrying the grudges of their fathers and grandfathers. They never got rid of their hostility toward the Arabs."
These members of Congress, he implied, either do not know or are conveniently "forgetting" that Iran has been at least as brutal to Americans as Saudi Arabia has.
While the gruesome murder of Osama bin Laden's good friend, Jamal Khashoggi -- whose dream was to "establish an Islamic state anywhere" -- cannot be ignored, Iran's regime has created a list of hostile acts against the US at least as long.
The Iranian regime, after all, began its revolution in 1979 by storming the US embassy in Tehran, seizing 66 Americans and holding them hostage for 444 days, until the inauguration of US President Ronald Reagan. In 1983, Iran blew up the US Marines barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Americans, and wounding countless others. In 1984, the US officially declared Iran a "State Sponsor of Terrorism". In 2018, Iran was ordered by a US Federal Court to pay $7 billion for "for direct and material aid and support" for its role in the 9/11 attacks on the US.
More recently, Iran has been attacking US ships (here, here and here) and sending out hit squads to murder senior US officials and others, on American soil.
Iran also initiated a nearly decade-long war in Yemen through one of its many proxy terrorist militias, the Houthis. After US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations on February 12, 2021, just days into the current administration, the Houthis returned the favor by launching drones and missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
This simplified list does not even include that Iran is presently supplying Russia with kamikaze drones and trainers as well as missiles to use against the civilians of Ukraine. Just suppose for an instant that Iran possessed nuclear weapons instead?
The list also does not include Iran's attempted attack on a major rally in Europe; Iran's blowing up a cultural center in Argentina, or especially the Iran's brutality to its own people, who once again are risking their lives to rid themselves of their crushing regime.
Iran already controls four Middle Eastern countries in addition to its own -- Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq -- as well as countless terrorist proxies, including Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Since 1979, the Iranian regime has repeated its plan of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." And now the Biden administration still wishes it could "reward" Iran with legitimized nuclear weapons, the ballistic missiles to deliver them, and a trillion dollars? How can anyone see that as "fair"?
Yet Biden has threatened there will be "consequences" for Saudi Arabia because it declined to help the US enrich and empower its most openly bellicose enemy. How could it? Had Biden offered to drop the new Iran deal, the Saudi answer might well have been different.
Al-Saed wrote that many of these immigrants are responsible for the "misinformation and unrealistic perceptions" that are being cooked up against Saudi Arabia in the US government and Congress.
"The big question that is being asked today: Is Saudi Arabia challenging America? Certainly not... Riyadh does not abandon its allies and friends. Saudi Arabia is not in the process of challenging the US, a country that has been its partner for more than 80 years. Saudi Arabia is just defending its interests and security, which is under threat from Washington's new allies in Iran."
The Saudi commentator argued that the Biden administration and the Democrats have taken a "principled position and a decision to fall into the arms of Tehran and abandon a friendly country."
"America would not have been this great without its partnership with Riyadh. The Saudi-American relationship was not always serene, and it was often punctuated by differences in viewpoints. Despite the differences, the two nations maintained much decency and respect in front of the media and public opinion. The US, however, was the one who got involved in a poisonous political propaganda campaign against Saudi Arabia. Washington is no longer able to separate between extremist ideological feelings and the political, security and economic relationship with a partner."
Prominent Saudi political analyst Dr. Ibrahim Al-Nahhas wrote the Biden administration was damaging America's relations with its historical friends and allies while sending "positive messages" to America's fiercest enemies and haters.
"An observer of US foreign policy during the past short period notices a major shift and an escalating change in its political discourse, international dealings, intellectual orientations, and historical alliances... They [the Biden administration] are going against their greatest allies and historical friends while causing happiness to their fiercest enemies and all those who hate America."
Al-Nahhas added that the US, under the Biden administration, is going through an "abnormal" situation.
"It is actively seeking to destroy the great alliances and international relations it has built since the end of World War II. At the same time, it indirectly contributes to encouraging and bringing its enemies together. This is indeed an abnormal situation because it doesn't make sense for a country the size and stature of the US to seek to destroy its global standing and create enemies that compete with it for the leadership of the international community."
Adnan Kamel Salah, a veteran Saudi author, expressed deep disappointment with Biden and his administration for damaging US relations with Saudi Arabia. He also expressed hope that America will come to its senses.
"Personally, I was optimistic when America elected Joe Biden as president, especially given his long and wide political experience. We expected that US politics to enter a stage of balance and middle ground. But we were surprised that Biden is not the actual president as a group of left-wing extremists surrounded him under the auspices of a few billionaires who adopted [former US President] Barack Obama and made him the godfather of the American extreme Left."
The Biden administration's handling of the Russia-Ukraine war, Salah suggested, "confirms the confusion the administration is experiencing in its internal and foreign policy."
Salah denounced the "left-wing American media and members of Congress" who keep attacking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, notwithstanding his "huge popularity" in Saudi Arabia and its neighboring countries.
"Saudi Arabia's policy is based on preserving its interests, including with America," he stressed. "But Saudi Arabia does not accept any dictates. If the left-wing American media and members of Congress are targeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, they must acknowledge that he is very popular in Saudi Arabia, especially among young people who are the majority of the Saudi population. The world should know that this man will be the leader of this country for the next tens of years. They have to deal with him and accept his position in the hearts of his people."
Saudi journalist Khalid Al-Owigan wrote that the Biden administration is the "biggest loser" in the crisis it has created with Saudi Arabia, and that that the Biden administration's policy toward Saudi Arabia has become a source of global sarcasm. This attitude, he added, "relied on a largely turbulent American political mood that is ignorant of the principles of the relationship with other countries."
"Personally, I would not be surprised by the Joe Biden administration's desire for a truce with Iran while dealing with America's historical friends with political ignorance, confusion, and instability. What Biden and his administration need to understand is that the Saudis do not care about losing faith in allies. Instead, they care much more in the importance of their country."
Tarik Al-Hamid, former editor-in-chief of the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab newspaper, wrote that the Biden administration has preferred to attack Saudi Arabia than deal with the use of Iranian drones by the Russians in Ukraine.
"For weeks, the Ukrainians have been complaining and warning about the danger of the Iranian drones that the Russians are using in the war in Ukraine... However, the US administration prefers to talk about the reducing of the OPEC+ oil production and absurdly criticizes Saudi Arabia."
Al-Hamid said that the Europeans have also chosen to ignore the threats about the Iranian drones and plans to acquire nuclear weapons.
"The Biden administration and the Europeans did not move to put an end to the expanding Iranian terrorism. Instead, they talked about how to find better alternatives to communicate with the Iranians. Were it not for American and European leniency, especially since the era of Barack Obama, who tried with all naivety to rehabilitate the Iranian regime, Iran would not have interfered in the internal affairs of Europe and four Arab countries (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen). I say the naivety of Obama's policies because he just admitted that he erred when he didn't support the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 and instead extended a hand to Iran's terrorists."
Since Barack Obama admitted erring in his failure to support Iran's protestors in 2009, however, has US policy changed? Apart from painfully feeble lip-service to the protestors in Iran, Biden and his administration, through their inaction, appear still to be totally committed to their initial alliance with Russia and Iran.
The escalating crisis between the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia bodes badly for the future of relations between the US and the Arab world.
Many Arabs who are observing the US turn
s its back on one of its most important allies in the Arab world undoubtedly have the impression that the Americans can no longer be trusted. Biden and his administration, it appears, would rather align themselves with the mullahs in Iran and the new "Russian-Iranian Axis of Evil," than strengthen their ties with America's longstanding partners, the Arabs in the Gulf.
The winners: Russia and Iran.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.