In what is being taken in the Arab world as a sign of disrespect for the Biden administration, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman reportedly made U.S. Secretary of State Blinken wait for several hours overnight before meeting with him.
Blinken has spent the past few days visiting countries in the Middle East to discuss the escalation between Israel and Hamas, hoping to convince Arab leaders to condemn Hamas and refrain from “stoking unrest” in response to Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza, according to the Washington Post.
The death toll has risen to more than 1,300 people in Israel, including 30 Americans, and more than 2,600 Palestinians since the war started.
“Blinken faced stiff resistance from the Arab world’s most powerful strongmen on Sunday” as he attempted to convince bin Salman and Egypt’s Abdel Fatah El-Sisi “to embrace Washington’s view of the Israel-Hamas conflict,” the Post reported.
MBS’s meeting with the Sec. of State was reportedly scheduled for Saturday evening, but didn’t happen until the next morning.
In Riyadh, the Saudi ruler kept Blinken waiting several hours for a meeting presumed to happen in the evening but which the crown prince only showed up for the next morning.
A U.S. official later confirmed that the meeting lasted just under an hour very early in the morning.
According to Moroccan television host Brother Rachid, MBS’s lack of punctuality was a power move intended to humiliate the Biden regime.
“In western countries, punctuality shows that you are a very responsible person who respects himself and takes business seriously,” Rachid explained on X. “In the Arab world making you wait and not arriving on time is a sign of power and it’s a humiliation weapon used against others.”
In western countries, punctuality shows that you are a very responsable person who respects himself and takes business seriously.
In the Arab world making you wait and not arriving on time is a sign of power and it’s a humiliation weapon used against others.
The news in KSA – I… pic.twitter.com/aun3DzBx8h
— Brother Rachid الأخ رشيد (@BrotherRasheed) October 16, 2023
After keeping Blinken waiting for hours, Mohammed reportedly made clear that he would not be embracing “Washington’s view” of the conflict.
Once the meeting began, Mohammed “stressed” the need to stop the military operations “that claimed the lives of innocent people” — a reference to Israel’s offensive — and lift the “siege of Gaza” that has left the Palestinian territory without water, electricity or fuel, according to the Saudi summary of the meeting.
The crown prince also called for a halt in the “current escalation” in the conflict, a direct contradiction of U.S. policy, which has backed Israel to pursue its maximalist goal of eradicating Hamas.
Before heading to his next stop in Cairo, Egypt, Blinken told reporters that his talks with the Saudi crown prince were “very productive.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he held a 'very productive' meeting with the Saudi crown prince in Riyadh, a critical diplomatic engagement https://t.co/uBtov3YuaH pic.twitter.com/RzK6stq6l5
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 15, 2023
The top U.S. diplomat’s message was also met with resistance in Cairo, where Egytian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Israel’s reaction to Hamas’ assaults had gone too far.
“The (Israeli) reaction went beyond the right to self-defense, turning into collective punishment for 2.3 million people in Gaza,” Sisi told Blinken in televised remarks.
While Sisi denounced Hamas’s assault on Israelis, he blamed Israel for driving Palestinians to desperation given the lack of progress toward a two-state solution. After Sisi met with his national security council earlier Sunday, his office put out a statement calling for an international summit “to study the future of the Palestinian cause.” Blinken told reporters he supported the idea but “we have to get through this crisis first.”
The U.S. enjoyed several years of warm relations with Saudi Arabia under former president Donald Trump, but relations have cooled considerably since Joe Biden took office.
The bad blood between Biden and the kingdom go back to the 2020 presidential election, when the then-Democrat candidate vowed to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” state because of its alleged involvement in Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018.
There is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia,” Biden said during a presidential debate in 2019. Biden has also publicly scolded Saudi Arabia over the war in Yemen and “cut off the flow of some weapons Riyadh could use to target Houthis.”
Biden further alienated the Saudis by reversing the Trump administration’s decision to put the Houthis on America’s official list of global terrorist groups, which Saudi leaders say “emboldened the Yemeni force and thwarted efforts to broker a cease-fire.”
Saudi Arabia also opposes the Biden regime’s revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which is described as a more reckless and dangerous version of former president Barack Obama’s Iran deal.
The Biden regime annoyed Saudi Arabia again when it allegedly pressured the Kingdom to delay its cuts in oil production until after the 2022 midterm election.
The OPEC+ alliance had announced a 2 million barrels a day cut in oil production, which threatened to drive oil and gas prices up and the Democrats’ electoral fortunes down in the crucial days before the election.
“The Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement on October 12, 2022. The ministry went on to note that the Saudi government prefers to negotiate in a “non-politicized” environment.
On Monday, Blinken held talks in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the escalating conflict with Hamas.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) October 16, 2023
According to Ynet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “asked to make a solidarity visit” alongside Blinken, but was told “the time is not right.”
Israel reportedly came under rocket attack during Blinken’s meeting with the country’s war cabinet.
Air sirens are blaring now in Tel Aviv as we waited for Blinken to finish his meeting with Israel’s war cabinet pic.twitter.com/qnlzjTLt2Q
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) October 16, 2023