The Lead: Biden in the Desert
credit: vanity fair
President Biden will be in Saudi Arabia today, a hotly contested trip that he said he would not make when he was on the campaign trail.
The White House says that this visit does not have to do with oil but the President admitted in The Washington Post that this trip benefits Americans because “energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
Earlier this week, President Biden was in Israel where he is said to have brokered a deal between Saidi Arabia and Israel. Israel agreed to the parameters for two Red Sea Islands that the Saudis wanted and in exchange, the Saudis will allow Israeli airlines to fly through Saudi airspace. The White House is calling this a win.
Still, it will be a tricky visit for President Biden. He condemns Saudi Arabia. The U.S. put many sanctions on Saudi Arabia after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But now Reuters reports that the U.S. may lift sanctions on weapons sales and start that back up again.
Where would those weapons come from? It probably helps that the House passed the new record $850 billion military budget for next year, which was $37 billion more than President Biden requested.