Saudi crown prince MbS 'mocks Biden in private' and 'preferred Trump': report

Saudi crown prince MbS 'mocks Biden in private' and 'preferred Trump': report
The strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is caused by distrust between Muhammad bin Salman and Joe Biden, according to the Wall Street Journal.
2 min read
25 October, 2022
Joe Biden and Muhammad bin Salman have a strained relationship [Getty]

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is fracturing because of distrust between the leaders of the two countries, according to a Wall Street Journal report. 

US President Joe Biden and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the de-facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, do not see eye to eye and it is straining the relationship between the two allies. 

MbS, as bin Salman is known, makes fun of Biden in private and has questioned his mental acuity, according to the WSJ report which cited sources within the Saudi government. MbS has reportedly told his advisers that he preferred working with former president Donald Trump. 

Biden has repeatedly criticised the kingdom’s human rights record. While campaigning in 2020, he said that he saw "very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia," and did not talk to MbS for over a year because of his alleged role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

"Rarely has the chain of broken expectations and perceived insults and humiliations been greater than they are now," Aaron David Miller, Middle East analyst now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was quoted by the WSJ as saying. "There’s almost no trust and absolutely no mutual respect."

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Tensions have risen sharply over the past few months after Saudi Arabia has been perceived to be siding with Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Earlier this month, the Washington and Riyadh fell out over Saudi-led OPEC+’s decision to cut oil production and drive up prices despite a global wave of inflation, in a move that will likely benefit Moscow as it continues bombarding Ukraine.

Last week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden would act "methodically" in deciding how to respond to Saudi Arabia over oil output cuts, but the options include changes to US security assistance to the kingdom. 

Both nations are reportedly prepared to re-evaluate their ties, which would mark a significant change in the 80-year-long relationship which has long underpinned the global economy.