Business Insider: Biden's selection as his new ambassador to Saudi Arabia may be considered an "insult" by Mohammed bin Salman

A former US official said President Joe Biden's selection of Washington's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia would be considered an "insult" by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as relations between the two countries reached a new low.

According to the report published by "business insider" , David Schenker, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs at the State Department from 2019 to January 2021, described Ambassador Michael Ratney's nomination as a disappointment or even an insult to the Saudi crown prince, adding, Ratne is a very capable diplomat who has held important positions and his work is highly respected.

Biden nominated Ratney for the post of ambassador to succeed John Abizaid, the former commander of US Central Command, from Riyadh last year.

"We've seen a lot of pressure in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and that's not going to help," Schenker added. "Historically, most of the US ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been politically appointed and have a military background, like Abizaid."

Business Insider: Biden's selection as his new ambassador to Saudi Arabia may be considered an "insult" by Mohammed bin Salman  A former US official said President Joe Biden's selection of Washington's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia would be considered an "insult" by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as relations between the two countries reached a new low.  According to the report published by "business insider" , David Schenker, who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs at the State Department from 2019 to January 2021, described Ambassador Michael Ratney's nomination as a disappointment or even an insult to the Saudi crown prince, adding, Ratne is a very capable diplomat who has held important positions and his work is highly respected.  Biden nominated Ratney for the post of ambassador to succeed John Abizaid, the former commander of US Central Command, from Riyadh last year.  "We've seen a lot of pressure in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and that's not going to help," Schenker added. "Historically, most of the US ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been politically appointed and have a military background, like Abizaid."  Other recent ambassadors include Joseph Westphal, a former US undersecretary of the Army, and James Smith, a former executive director of Raytheon Arms, but Ratney, a widely respected Arabic-speaking diplomat, is the first foreign service officer. He has held this position since Charles Freeman in 1989.  Schenker stated that Ratney's appointment may meet with resentment from Saudi Arabia, as one of the basic principles of the relationship between the two countries was the American guarantee of Saudi security, especially since the United States maintains a major military base in Riyadh and sells millions of dollars in arms to the Saudis every year.  The newspaper stated that Ratney's choice of Riyadh indicates that Biden is not as concerned with the security of Saudi Arabia as his predecessors.  He added that the position of the Saudi ambassador to the United States is often a prominent figure, such as Khalid bin Salman, brother of Mohammed bin Salman, and Princess Rima bint Bandar, the cousin of Mohammed bin Salman and the current ambassador.  Schenker made it clear that Riyadh expects the same kind of profile in return, saying: "The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Amira... they will see in this a decline in relations and they will understand this in this context."  Ratney's candidacy comes at a tense time for the US-Saudi partnership, and the Biden administration has publicly blamed Mohammed bin Salman for widespread human rights abuses and galvanized US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.  MBS is also reported to have ignored Biden's phone calls and US requests to increase oil production, and said he does not care what Biden thinks of him. The Saudis are also angry at the weak US response to attacks by "Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Arabian Peninsula," Saudi Arabia expects the United States to guarantee its security.  Source: "Business Insider"


Other recent ambassadors include Joseph Westphal, a former US undersecretary of the Army, and James Smith, a former executive director of Raytheon Arms, but Ratney, a widely respected Arabic-speaking diplomat, is the first foreign service officer. He has held this position since Charles Freeman in 1989.

Schenker stated that Ratney's appointment may meet with resentment from Saudi Arabia, as one of the basic principles of the relationship between the two countries was the American guarantee of Saudi security, especially since the United States maintains a major military base in Riyadh and sells millions of dollars in arms to the Saudis every year.

The newspaper stated that Ratney's choice of Riyadh indicates that Biden is not as concerned with the security of Saudi Arabia as his predecessors.

He added that the position of the Saudi ambassador to the United States is often a prominent figure, such as Khalid bin Salman, brother of Mohammed bin Salman, and Princess Rima bint Bandar, the cousin of Mohammed bin Salman and the current ambassador.

Schenker made it clear that Riyadh expects the same kind of profile in return, saying: "The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Amira... they will see in this a decline in relations and they will understand this in this context."

Ratney's candidacy comes at a tense time for the US-Saudi partnership, and the Biden administration has publicly blamed Mohammed bin Salman for widespread human rights abuses and galvanized US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

MBS is also reported to have ignored Biden's phone calls and US requests to increase oil production, and said he does not care what Biden thinks of him. The Saudis are also angry at the weak US response to attacks by "Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Arabian Peninsula," Saudi Arabia expects the United States to guarantee its security.

Source: "Business Insider"
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