The White House confirmed on Tuesday that President Biden will visit Saudi Arabia and meet with the Kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as part of a trip to the region next month that will include stops in Israel and the West Bank.
Biden will be making his trip from July 13-16, and his last stop will be Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will participate in a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders.
Since news first broke of Biden’s plans to meet with MbS, he has come under heavy criticism for looking to reset relations with a country he once deemed a “pariah.” Biden is expected to press the Saudis to boost oil production as Americans are facing record-high gas prices, although he told reporters that the trip was about Israel’s security.
Either way, the planned trip highlights the hypocrisy of the Biden administration as the US has banned the import of Russian oil over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine while turning to Saudi Arabia for help, a country that has been leading a brutal war against its neighbor Yemen with US support since March 2015.
Biden’s trip comes amid a ceasefire in Yemen that has held relatively well, although there is still some violence on the ground and a dire humanitarian situation. Saudi airstrikes haven’t been reported in over two months for the first time since the Saudi-led coalition intervened with US backing in 2015.
Amid the truce, lawmakers in Congress have restarted the effort to end the war in Yemen. A bill to end US involvement to end the war was introduced in the House, and it has gained 70 co-sponsors, including 62 Democrats and eight Republicans.