Biden does Jeddah

President Biden offered a weak and tired set of remarks following his “meetings in Saudi Arabia,” as the White House transcript puts it. Biden talked up his supposed accomplishments. “First, as you saw this morning,” he said, “the Saudis will open their airspace to all civilian carriers. That is a big deal. A big deal.”

I’ll give him that one, but is it a big deal? Jacob Magid reports for Times of Israel: “Contradicting Biden, Saudis deny opening of airspace is step toward ties with Israel.” However, the Saudis have their own interest in talking it down while Biden talks it up.

Skipping over number 2, which is beyond my ken, we have these other big deals for those of us struggling to survive the Biden era:

[W]e agreed to work together to deepen and extend the Yemen ceasefire. And you know there’s been — there’s carnage been in Yemen of late. And it’s been in place more than three months, resulting in the most peaceful period in Yemen in seven years.

We further agreed to pursue a diplomatic process to achieve a wider settlement in Yemen. The Saudi — and Saudi leadership also committed to continue to facilitate the delivery of food and humanitarian goods to civilians. In this context, we discussed Saudi Arabia’s security needs to defend the Kingdom, given very real threats from Iran and Iran’s proxies.

Fourth, we concluded several new arrangements to better position our nations for the coming decades. Saudi Arabia will invest in new U.S.-led technology to develop and secure reliable 5G and 6G networks, both here and in the future, in developing countries to coordinate with the Partnership for Global Initiative — the Global Infrastructure and Investment, which I put together at the G7. This new technology solution for 5G, called Open RAN, will outcompete other platforms, including from China.

Saudi Arabia will also partner with us on a far-reaching clean energy initiative focused on green hydrogen, solar, carbon capture, nuclear, and other projects to accel- — to accelerate the world’s clean energy transition and to help the U.S. clean energy industry set global standards.

Yes, we can count on the Saudis to ally with the American climatistas to “transition” themselves out of business. More:

And fifth, we had a good — we had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth. And that will begin shortly. And I’m doing all I can to increase the supply for the United States of America, which I expect to happen. The Saudis share that urgency, and based on our discussions today, I expect we’ll see further steps in the coming weeks.

It reads like Biden’s speechwriters are struggling to make something out of not much and losing. And can we get a fact-check on “I’m doing all I can to increase the supply for the United States of America”? I assess that to be false and give him four Obamas on that one.

Finally, Biden asserted: “With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now. And it was exactly — I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear.” The Saudis dispute that one. Biden disputes the Saudis. Read about it here.

Biden also talked this up:

Tomorrow, with nine leaders from around the region, we’ll have more. One thing we will discuss is the multibillion-dollar commitment of the GCC to invest in the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment, which I announced at the G7 last month, to help address infrastructure needs of low- and middle-income countries that don’t have the wherewithal to borrow the funds to meet the needs of their people.

And after years of failed efforts, we have now finalized an agreement to connect Iraq’s electric grid to the GCC grids through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and deepening Iraq’s integration into the region and reducing its dependence on Iran. And it was pointed out to me that remi- — I was reminded by staff at the time, at the meeting, that I tried to do that back when I was — in the early days of my vice presidency. Finally, it’s done — being done.

Biden is really struggling for material, among other things. Tony Badran’s Tablet column prevising Biden’s trip seems to me a more realistic assessment than Biden’s Jeddah jabber .

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