In a show of support for Riyadh, the US launched joint military exercises with Saudi ground forces in northwest Saudi Arabia this week. The drills come as President Biden is under criticism for his continued support for the Saudis war and blockade on Yemen.
The Saudi Defense Ministry said the drills aim to strengthen military ties between the two countries and “improve compatibility between military equipment and doctrines, raise the level of readiness and ability to work with friendly forces, and to prepare to combat any external threats.”
President Biden was expected to take a fresh look at the US-Saudi relationship, but besides vowing to cut off support for Riyadh’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, little has changed. And despite that promise, the US is still servicing Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen.
The Biden administration is also giving Riyadh the political cover to continue the blockade on Yemen despite UN warnings that 400,000 Yemeni children under five will starve to death this year if conditions don’t change. Democratic lawmakers have been calling on Biden to pressure the Saudis into lifting the blockade.
The Biden administration is currently conducting a posture review for military force deployments. Saudi officials fear that with the Pentagon now focused on China and Russia that the US could pull some of its assets out of the kingdom.