Skip to main content

Saudi defense chief concludes US trip, seeks security assurances as Gaza rages

Prince Khalid bin Salman’s preplanned trip included meetings with top US officials. Saudi Arabia is concerned that the war between Israel and Hamas could hurt its interests.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomes Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on November 1, 2023. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman wrapped up a crucial trip to Washington this week, a visit aimed at maintaining strong US-Saudi relations amid the regional complications of the Israel-Hamas war.

The minister, aka KBS, met with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday. The two discussed efforts to strengthen the US-Saudi defense partnership, as well as the administration’s commitment to support its partners against threats, including “those backed by Iran.” On Yemen, Sullivan praised Saudi Arabia’s “efforts to bring the war to a close.” Sullivan and KBS further discussed the need to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza and preventing “non-state actors” from entering the war, according to a readout from the White House.

The war in Yemen between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels has calmed in recent months. Saudi Arabia held peace talks with the Houthis earlier this year. The reference to “non-state actors” could refer to the Houthis, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies in the region.

KBS met with US counterpart Lloyd J. Austin on Wednesday. According to a readout from Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Austin “emphasized US commitment to the territorial defense of the kingdom” and praised Saudi Arabia’s actions on Yemen, humanitarian support for Ukraine and efforts to host diplomatic talks in Sudan. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.