Saudi analyst rationalizes freeze of US arms sales to Riyadh


Saudi political analyst Ahmad al-Shehri explains why the Biden administration froze US weapons deals to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Shehri’s comments came as US President Joe Biden also announced that he will end US support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)

Date: January 28, 2021

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Dr. Ahmad Al-Shehri, political analyst and head of Al-Khebra Saudi Forum:

With regards to Saudi-US relations there are constants and there are variables. On one hand, the constants are continuous and permanent, and have not changed ever since 1945. Saudi Arabia and the United States share a (strong) strategic partnership and alliance. On the other hand, the variables vary and change according to each (American) administration.

As we saw (clearly during Trump’s time), (US-Saudi) relations passed through certain (stages of) agreements and disagreements. Now I think that the Biden administration’s actions in this regard will be a sort of sorting out process for the decisions made during the Trump era.

Today, the new (American) administration is seeking to either cancel or use (decisions taken by Trump’s administration) in its favor; among (these decisions) being the weapons deals which the (US) struck with Saudi Arabia and with the United Arab Emirates.

The (weapons deal) file is a (highly) lucrative engagement, and it is not a free deal, as it showers billions of dollars on the American treasury and on the Americans themselves. Therefore, the new (American) administration does not wish for this credit or legacy to be counted for Trump.

Thus, the (American) announcement to temporarily pause or freeze (the weapons deals) is designed to enable Biden to appear and declare (later) that he is reactivating this deal. For what reason? For Biden to show up and address the American (people) and claim that these billions of dollars flowing into the American economy are due to the Democrats, and in particular, due to the Biden administration.

I think that (Biden) has the right to do so. We bore witness to similar incidents in the past. During Obama’s time, a number of weapons deals including F-16 fighting jets were halted and suspended. However, after American officials come to visit Saudi Arabia – and I believe that they are coming soon – and after they see the progress of actions, goals and what is happening in Yemen, and they notice the (critical) role of Saudi Arabia in maintaining regional security and its role in establishing peace and security in the region, all this will (definitely) lead to a shift in overall (American) policy, and will lead to (positive) actions (regarding the weapons deal file). Ultimately, I believe that this halt is merely a tactical one, neither more nor less.


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