US officials have detected improved cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, three months after relations reached a historic low between the two countries.
The Wall Street Journal quoted officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden stating: “The Biden administration has dropped threats to retaliate against Saudi Arabia for an oil-production cut last year and is moving to step up security coordination to counter Iran in 2023.”
The officials said that officers from both countries are: “Pressing ahead with new military and intelligence projects and sensitive efforts to contain Iran amid stalled efforts to revive the international nuclear deal with Tehran.”
In December, the Biden administration and Saudi officials worked to overturn a bill in Congress that would have cut off the limited intelligence support that the US provides to Riyadh for the war in Yemen.
The officials explained to the newspaper that the two countries are moving forward with new military and intelligence projects and attempts to contain Iran amid stalled efforts to revive the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.
Last November, the two countries shared intelligence that Iran was preparing an imminent attack on Saudi Arabia and developed a coordinated response.
The officials pointed out that there has been: “Sustained military cooperation that helped carry the political relationship through months of upheaval. For example, Saudi jet fighters escorted long-range US bombers through their national airspace several times last year in exercises carried out with other countries allied with Washington, including Israel.”
In the same context, the officials stated that the US is working closely with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries in the Middle East to develop new coordinated air defence systems and increase cooperation at sea to deter Iran.
They also confirmed: “The emerging Saudi-US thaw comes as the Biden administration looks to reshape the US military presence in the Middle East by stitching together a security umbrella stretching from Israel through the Persian Gulf.”
In November, the Biden administration also told a US court that the status of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, as the current head of the Saudi government, protects him from a civil lawsuit aimed at prosecuting him for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.