This policy outlook examines the potential trajectory of US-Saudi relations over the course of Biden’s first term in office.

Anna Murphy 23 February 2021

In a series of briefings, top White House officials announced that the Biden administration will change key policies on Saudi Arabia, including the halting of arms sales that are intended for offensive operations in Yemen and the alteration of diplomatic channels to ensure that President Biden directly communicates with King Salman and not his son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. These changes are supported by months of President Biden’s strong rhetoric indicating intentions to reshape US-Saudi relations during his presidency. At the same time, the strength and duration of the US-Saudi partnership has historically superseded the policies of any individual president. This policy outlook examines the potential trajectory of US-Saudi relations over the course of Biden’s first term in office. It analyses whether the Biden administration indeed intends to drastically reshape US-Saudi relations, and if so, if this ambition appropriately reflects the deep connections between the two states’ security, strategic, and economic identities.

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