Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdul Rahman bin Musayid al-Saud, who currently does not hold any government office in the kingdom, said earlier this week that Riyadh has “many alternatives” to the United States in arms deals. The representative of the ruling dynasty in the Arab monarchy shared his thoughts in an interview with Saudi state television, writes today, March 12, the information and analytical portal Middle East Monitor (MEMO, headquarters in London).
As the prince noted, the United States is a strong country and a military superpower, but there are a number of alternative sources for much of what Saudi Arabia needs in terms of acquiring defense products. He cited examples from recent history when the kingdom purchased weapons and military equipment from the UK and France due to Washington’s restrictions on arms sales to Riyadh.
At the same time, Abdul Rahman bin Musayid al-Saud downplayed the importance of the first decisions that the new administration in the White House made in relation to his country. He attributed them to “election promises” by President Joe Biden, who, as the prince believes, will soon abandon them, like his predecessors.
The United States suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in February due to their role in the war in Yemen, MEMO recalls.
Riyadh may be interested in Russian weapons due to the fact that the new administration of the White House has previously decided to “freeze” the implementation of defense contracts with the two monarchies of the Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. As reported by EADaily, columnist for the American magazine The National Interest, Mark Episkopos, in an article published on January 28, named five types of weapons that Saudi Arabia could acquire from Russia.
Recall that after Joe Biden came to the White House, the Arab monarchy received a number of signals about the plans of the new US administration to conduct a thorough revision of its ties with the kingdom. So, Biden earlier made it clear that he would not follow the policy of his predecessor, who maintained contacts almost exclusively with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This was followed by the decision to impose “visa sanctions” against dozens of Saudi citizens in connection with their alleged involvement in the October 2018 murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Kingdom’s Consulate General in Istanbul.