October 27, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8993

Concern In Saudi Arabia: A Biden Win Will Mean A Return Of Obama's Destructive Policy

October 27, 2020
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8993

'As the U.S. presidential election approaches, and in light of the polls indicating a lead for Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden, the Saudi press is publishing numerous articles about the election and each candidate's chance of winning. Most Saudi journalists hope for the reelection of the incumbent President Donald Trump, inter alia because of his aggressive position vis-à-vis Iran. Many of the writers expressed negative views regarding the era of President Obama, when Biden was vice president; they condemn that administration's policies, including the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran that Obama promoted and what they said was the Democrats' support for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), and warned that these policies could be revived under a Biden presidency.

In this spirit, on October 15, 2020, Saudi journalist Badr bin Sa'ud warned, in the Saudi Al-Riyadh daily, that a Biden victory would mean a replay of what he called Obama's highly flawed presidency. Harshly criticizing the latter, bin Saud stated that the Obama administration had made a pact with Qatar and with the MB, and had supported the "so-called Arab Spring," thus wreaking havoc and destruction in Arab countries. He also argued that Obama had allowed MB members to attain senior positions in his administration and to take part in setting U.S. policy against the Arab countries and in favor of their enemies Iran, Turkey, and Qatar. The MB's Machiavellianism, he added, and the Democratic Party's phony idealism join together in an alliance that serves both their interests.

Other articles in the Saudi press sought to allay concerns and downplay what they called the danger of a possible Biden win. For example, Saudi journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh wrote in his column in the Al-Jazirah daily that while a Trump victory is definitely in Saudi Arabia's interest, a Biden win would not necessarily be a catastrophe, because some think that Biden is more of a moderate than Obama was. A President Biden would not be able to disregard either the regional terrorist activity of Iran and its proxies such as Hizbullah or the consolidation of the European view opposing Erdogan's conduct, he said. Stressing that a President Biden would also not be able to ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia is an important and influential country with a strategic relationship with the U.S., he downplayed the significance of the current criticism of it and of other Arab countries in the U.S. media. He noted that this criticism was aimed more at President Trump than at the countries themselves, and stressed that such criticism is part and parcel of a populism that will dissipate after the election.

The following are translated excerpts from the articles by Badr bin Sa'ud and Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh.

Journalist Bader Bin Sa'ud: A Biden Victory Means A Return To The Era Of Obama – Who Made A Pact With The MB; Hitler Was Also Elected Democratically

Saudi journalist Badr bin Sa'ud wrote in his October 15 column in the daily Al-Riyadh: "[Presidential candidate Joe] Biden served as vice president under Obama for eight years, and electing him means recreating the same experience, with all its accompanying political, economic, and healthcare distortions. In his campaign and in interviews, [Biden] stresses that U.S. administration's priorities, [thereby] recalling its alliance with Qatar and the MB as part of the failed Arab Spring plan, and its use of the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel and its Arab and English staff as a media arm for [promoting this plan] and sowing political and economic chaos and destruction in the Arab countries... The Arab Spring was bait that the Arabs swallowed. It wasn't a natural historical episode, nor even a wave of social uprisings motivated by economic and political factors.

Badr bin Sa'ud's column (Source:, October 15, 2020)

"America's relationship with the MB goes back to the 1950s... Britain financed the founding of this organization in 1928. Members of the organization immigrated to the U.S. 70 years ago and attained senior positions in academic and ideological institutions, at consulting firms and in influential think tanks. This has enabled them to play a significant role in thwarting U.S. decisions aimed at harming their allies, especially Iran, Turkey, and Qatar. Biden's running mate [Kamala] Harris said that America's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran was unfortunate, which means that if Biden wins, America may return to the [nuclear deal] and to [the alliance with] the MB.   

"Obama formed an alliance with the MB, helped them to play a role in shaping America's policy vis-à-vis the Arab countries, and supported their plans in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria during the Arab Spring... Moreover, during his term in office, the Democrats opposed designating the MB as a terror organization, and they still maintain this position, claiming that the MB has become the government, or part of the government, in several Arab countries.

"The political Islam movements clearly support Biden's campaign and oppose the reelection of Trump, since it is known that he [Trump] has no friendly ties with them and will act to remove them completely. This is because [MB] elements are behind most of the attacks in the Western media on the Gulf states and the Arab region, and that they have a strong presence in the U.S. Departments of Treasury and State. The Arab countries should therefore file a lawsuit against Qatar, the Democratic Obama administration, and the MB in the U.S., demanding moral and financial damages for the harm caused by the Arab Spring.   

"Elections do not always bring about improvement, as shown by Hitler who established Nazism, governed the Germans with an iron fist, and dragged Germany into World War II. The MB has participated in the election campaigns of Democratic candidates, and is trying to establish influential movements that are on the surface far removed from the ideology of this organization. [When] the MB Machiavellianism meets the phony idealism of the U.S. Democrats, each of them agrees to give up some principle, or delay [its implementation] in order to realize temporary interests."[1]

Journalist Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh: Biden Is More Moderate Than Obama, His Win Will Not Be A Catastrophe, As Some Believe

In his October 11, 2020 column in the Al-Jazirah daily, Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh wrote: "Democratic candidate Joe Biden is one of the more moderate members of his party, although he was vice president under the left-leaning Obama who harbors a deep hatred for everything Arab even though his father was of Muslim origin.

Muhammad Aal Al-Sheikh's column. (Source:, October 11, 2020)

"Asked in a televised interview during the so-called Arab Spring whether he was optimistic about it, Biden replied that he was actually concerned. Consequently, many experts on American affairs believe that Biden is not a replica of Obama, but is much more moderate, and does not hate the Arabs as much as Obama did.

"Of course it is our interest that Trump win, because his inclinations are known and he serves our interests, especially given that his position on the Republic of the Ayatollahs [Iran]  are clear and firm, in particular with regard to their [obtaining] a nuclear bomb. Nevertheless, I do not believe that a Biden victory will be as great a catastrophe as the opponents of the moderate Arab countries... so eagerly anticipate.

"Moreover, it was during the Trump era that Iran revealed its ugly and even imperialist and terrorist face, which transformed it in practice into one of the sources of upheaval, conflict, and terror in the region... [Iran] is a country of clerics that has nothing to do with civil societies and which is not interested in human beings as much as in spreading [its] ideology. This is [in fact] explicitly stated in one of the articles of its constitution.   Therefore, I do not think Iran can integrate into today's world.. 

"[Conversely], Saudi Arabia and the moderate Arab states are, by modern standards, prominent countries, and the [U.S.] Democrats no longer have reservations about them as they once did. In particular, the move towards peace and normalization with Israel taken by the majority of the moderate countries has changed the course of events in the region in a way that candidate Biden will not be able to ignore, should he win. Nor will the new president be able to ignore the attacks on the U.S. carried out by the Iranians in Iraq, the crimes committed by Iran's terrorist arm Hizbullah, and especially [Hizbullah's] direct responsibility for the horrific [August  4] explosion at Beirut Port. 

"As for the Ottoman monster embodied by [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, most of the world's countries now condemn him, and [the media] leaked a statement by Biden accusing him of thuggery and demanding that his talons be clipped. I believe that the danger posed by Erdoğan and his political recklessness has caused [even] Europe to express concern about him. So if Biden prioritizes restraining Turkey and curbing its bullying [conduct], this will ultimately serve our interest regarding this enemy, which is no less dangerous than the Persian Safavid Ayatollahs who control Iran.[2]

"Perhaps many Arabs think that the U.S. media's vicious attacks on the moderate Arab countries reflect the policy that Biden will adopt if he wins. However... these diverse [media] platforms [also] attacked and condemned Trump, and there is no doubt that once Biden enters the White House these attacks [on the moderate Arab states] will cease, or at least become more temperate, because these [media] were actually attacking President Trump, not the moderate Arab states.

"Saudi Arabia in particular is a prominent country that has long-standing and deeply rooted strategic relations with the U.S. Considering that it is also a member of the G20, no U.S. president will be able to disregard it, and everything that is said in the election campaigns is mere noise dictated by campaign-era populism that will dissipate the moment the campaign is over."[3]


[1] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), October 15, 2020.

[2] The Safavid Empire was founded by a Shi'ite Persian dynasty that ruled most of modern-day Iran from the early 16th century until the mid-18th century. The Arab media use "Safavid" as a derogatory term for Iran.

[3] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), October 11, 2020.

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