Departing from the Donald Trump administration’s policy the US President Joe Biden in his first foreign policy speech in the State Department on February 4 while referring to the conflict in Yemen said: “This war has to end. And to underscore our commitment we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sale.”
Though Saudi Arabia apparently welcomed Biden’s speech by stating that the Kingdom supports political solution and at the same time also welcomed the new President’s commitment to defend its territorial integrity yet the truth is that Riyadh is uneasily watching the whole situation. After all its ally in the war in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, has already withdrawn from the bloodletting against the Houthi rebels.
The Houthis who control a large part of Yemen, made it clear that they are not going to be deceived by statements and the real peace would come only when the aggression ends.
True, Biden touched a number of issues related to his administration’s policy towards China, Russia, Europe etc it is his speech on the Middle East theatre which is likely to re-shape the whole scenario.
Contrary to Trump’s policy of withdrawal from the global scene Biden talked about “America is back” thus making it clear that the US is going to play the leadership role once again.
Biden not only called for end to arms sale to Saudi Arabia but he also raised the issue of the worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen which has led to the death of 2.50 lakh people and rendered millions of people homeless.
The Saudis are worried because Biden has not only adopted the policy very different from that of Trump on the issue of Yemen but is likely to shift its strategy on Iran too—though in Thursday’s speech he didn’t make any specific reference about it.