A signal of 'impunity'? Biden's trip to Middle East pits human rights against geopolitical reality

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Biden trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia tests human rights commitment

With sky-high gas prices and a chance to build ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Biden is no longer treating the kingdom as a “pariah.”

  • Biden had vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state because of its human rights abuses.
  • Biden has downplayed the direct interactions he’ll have with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Biden has said the trip’s purpose is not lowering gas prices but working toward a more stable Middle East.

During a private conversation at the opulent horse ranch of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in 2009, the monarch told President Barack Obama he had his back.

Abdullah assured the American president the oil-rich kingdom would coordinate with Obama’s new administration to make sure oil prices wouldn’t impede recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

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