We begin the presentation of British newspapers with an opinion article by the Guardian’s global affairs editor, Julian Burger, entitled “Saudi Arabia’s contempt for Biden shows that the crown prince is still betting on Trump’s return.”
At the beginning of his article, the writer says that “Saudi Arabia is relying on Donald Trump’s return to power by refusing to help the United States punish Russia for invading Ukraine and investing $ 2 billion in a new unproven investment fund managed by Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner.
In its attempt to persuade Riyadh to increase oil production in order to cut prices by up to 30%, and thus reduce the Russian government’s revenue, the Biden administration is looking for ways to reassure the Saudi government that it is committed to the security of the kingdom.
The Pentagon is said to be working on a new draft declaration of US-Saudi security agreements, but observers say it is unlikely to meet the strong guarantees required by the Saudis and other Gulf states.
“Bin Salman reportedly rejected a call from Joe Biden last month, expressing his dissatisfaction with the administration’s restrictions on arms sales and what he saw as an inadequate response to Houthi forces’ attacks on Saudi Arabia in Yemen. In addition, he published a report on the assassination of Jamal dissident Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi regime in 2018, and the former Biden refused to deal personally with the crown prince.
And he declares, “Instead, Prince Mohammed appears in position, betting on Trump’s return to office in 2024 and the resumption of the Trump administration’s intimate relationship with Riyadh.”
There have been calls for an investigation into the massive investment made by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is controlled by Prince Mohammed, into Affinity Partners, a private company created by Jared Kushner months after he left the White House and worked as an adviser. special of Trump, his father-in-law.
In doing so, the de facto ruler of the kingdom ignored the warnings of the Saudi Fund Advisory Committee. He was concerned about Affinity’s inexperience: Kushner had worked in real estate before taking over the White House, and his investment history was widely regarded as negligible. According to a report in the New York Times, the new company’s due diligence in operations was “unsatisfactory in all respects” and that it was charging “excessive” fees.
The writer quotes Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA official and director of the intelligence project at the Brookings Institution, as saying: “The thing is that the Saudis chose Trump instead of Biden, it is not an unreasonable assumption. gave them everything they wanted: full support in Yemen, support in the case of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
But John Jenkins, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, suspects “that (the crown prince) is betting on Republicans winning the midterm elections and then regaining the presidency with or without Trump,” according to the writer.
“Maybe he thinks Biden is politically weak and therefore can tolerate his jokes. This sends a signal not only to Democrats but to the Republican Party as well. And judging by the debate in DC political circles on these issues, he is successful, ”adds Jenkins.
According to the writer, many observers believe that “bin Salman is unlikely to be affected by friendship or threats, because high oil prices strengthen his budget as he expects a more flexible administration.”
“There is no reason to celebrate”
And we turn to another opinion article by Cian O’Grady on The Independent Online, entitled “Four out of ten French voters want to make their president neo-fascist.”
The writer believes that “France and Europe were saved by him thanks to the older generation of voters who voted for Emmanuel Macron.”
“If Le Pen had won and tried to implement her contradictory and discriminatory policies, she would most likely, as Macron warned, have destroyed the economy and the European Union and started a civil war,” he added. .
But O’Grady considers it “too early to dance over the grave of French neo-fascism. Le Pen had the support of almost a quarter of the French electorate in the first round … She is the heiress of her father’s anti-Semitism. Ideology .. “a woman who wanted to prevent Muslims from wearing culturally offensive headscarves and many other things.”
“In the face of the liberal centrist, she had the support of more than 4 in 10 French voters. She could have had the lead if she had ‘won’ among young people under 50.”
“It is a surprising and frightening fact that many healthy people in this ancient and civilized democratic culture have willingly installed a neo-fascist in the Elysee Palace,” the writer believes.
“She won the votes of formerly loyal people of the conservative left and right in a way that would have been unimaginable a few years ago,” he adds.
The writer concludes that “the fluctuation of the youth vote in France is the single biggest threat to European stability today. Several years of economic hardship and false promises may see further far-right gains in the coming years.”
Macron and Le Pen have destroyed the normal political structures of the left and right in France, suppressing them in a strange movement of European left-wing populism by the populist nationalism of Macron and Le Pen, and this is unstable.
“So the long-term perspective is weak. The main traditional left-wing and right-wing Golist parties were destroyed in the process, with no sign of recovery,” the author says.
He concludes: “Although Macron is still young, he will not be able to run again under the French constitution. Without Macron, there would be a completely disbanded center-left and center-right party system while the party “Le Pen can continue to thrive under her leadership.” Or under a new, more attractive leader … and the next campaign to save France must begin today. “
The aviation industry and the new challenge
We conclude with a lengthy report by Philip Giorgides and Steve Chavez in the Financial Times, “Back to Work: Are Airlines Ready for the Summer Travel Boom?”
The authors say, “The aviation industry was in a state of severe stagnation following the decline in aviation demand due to global travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of Covid-19.”
“But after 24 months of crisis management, the passengers returned suddenly so fast that the industry did not know what to do with them,” the authors add.
The authors point out that the recovery comes “with the easing of border restrictions in most parts of the world, which has led to a clash at airports and airlines to increase operations, re-employ staff and return aircraft to the air.”
“Some markets have been more resilient than others, especially the larger countries like the US and China, which were protected by persistent demand for domestic aviation. But the industry is now recovering worldwide, even in parts of Asia Pacific. “where the borders have just begun. to be reopened.”
“The demand we’ve seen over the last five weeks has been historic,” says Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines.
Rising demand has caused the industry to collapse under pressure, while many airports and airlines are struggling to cope with rising passenger numbers, especially after significant cost reductions during the crisis. This has left limited financial resources to restart the business.
“Airlines that do not have enough staff can give up market share to deal with the outage by reducing the number of flights, or doing the work and risking not being able to get their flights,” he said. Martin Chalk, president of the British Airways Pilots Association. .
Given that they will not be able to meet their advertised timetables, some airlines in Europe this spring have reduced flights to protect them from last minute vacations, including British Airways where one in 20 flights has been canceled. Travel this year, according to Cirium data.
Stephen Cotton, secretary general of the International Federation of Transport Workers, says global chaos is a “direct result of bad decisions” by airlines and governments. He says governments should have given more support and that cutting costs for the industry was “short-sighted”, according to the newspaper.
“We have lost more than two million workers from the industry. Now it is the workers who do the work of two or three people and bear the brunt of the frustration and anger of the passengers,” adds Cotton.
The authors explain that “the recovery will help start repairing the finances of the industry, which has been devastated by the epidemic. Some airlines, including Norwegian and Brazilian, have filed for bankruptcy, while the most powerful airlines are burdened with debt.” .