Commentary (IP) - Saudi Arabia will host US President Joe Biden in July.

Iran PressCommentary: U.S. President Joe Biden will kick off his trip to the western Asian region on July 13 and end it in Saudi Arabia on July 16, while Riyadh-Washington ties have changed largely compared to before. Saudi Arabia, which enjoyed broad freedom of action in its domestic and foreign policy during Donald Trump's term, faced Biden's criticism now.

The criticism mainly focused on the extensive violation of human rights by Saudi Arabia, in which Mohammed bin Salman played a key role. However, the criticisms lowered with the beginning of 2022, and the main reason for Biden's shift in tone against the Saudi government, including crown Prince bin Salman was the Russian-Ukrainian war. The conflict increased the global price of oil.  

Saudi Arabia has so far resisted the West's demand to increase oil production, yet Biden's very shift in tone towards Saud Arabia shows that Riyadh has managed again to utilize oil as a tool in its foreign policy, even in relations with the U.S. 

Although Biden says his visit to Riyadh is not for the sake of oil, as he said on June 12 that the trip revolved around significant issues, it seems that what is driving Biden to Riyadh is the oil. 

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Furthermore, the trip is of much importance to Saudi Arabia. Muhammad bin Salman needs the support of Washington to acquire the kingdom seat. Reaching power and survival of the rulers in the Persian Gulf littoral states requires U.S.' support. 

On the threshold of taking the throne in the Trump era, Bin Salman found his situation in danger since Biden's administration adopted the support for bin Salman's rivals. Therefore, Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia and his meeting with Mohammed bin Salman meant to him that the danger went away. 

Still, Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia, despite all criticisms, is indicative of Riyadh's important place in West Asia's developments and the foreign policy of the world's powers. And that means Riyadh's exploiting Biden's trip. Dalia Dassa Kaye wrote in Foreign Affairs:

"President Joe Biden began his term determined to reverse his predecessor's habit of cozying up to dictators, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia. In February 2021, Biden pinned the blame for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on MBS, declassifying a U.S. intelligence report that tied the assassination directly to him. Over a year later, however, it appears that the president plans to travel to Saudi Arabia in the first Middle East visit of his presidency.

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For those who saw Biden as a champion of human rights, it is a grave disappointment: rewarding MBS with a handshake and photo op on the crown prince's home turf would amount to an admission that autocrats can get away with murdering their opponents, so long as they keep the oil flowing." 

She noted: "If he follows through on his plans to visit Riyadh, Biden will be making a bad deal: exchanging near-certain reputational damage for the mere possibility of modest triumphs; It is a visit that should never have been planned."

If Biden's visit to Riyadh does not fulfill his objectives in supplying energy for the U.S., it will be another fiasco in his foreign policy. 

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