Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP via Getty Images

The Saudi government is sending signals that it's ready to cooperate on Yemen and make improvements on human rights in an effort to avoid a crisis with President Biden.

Driving the news: Two events on Wednesday underscored those efforts: prominent women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who led the fight to allow Saudi women to drive, was released from prison; and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan met in Riyadh with the new U.S. envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking.

Flashback: On the campaign trail, Biden accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, stressed that he wouldn't sell weapons to the Saudis and promised to "make them the pariah that they are." 

  • Now in office, Biden has frozen an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, announced the halt of U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen, and rolled back Donald Trump's designation of Yemen's Houthi rebels as a terror group.

The other side: The Saudis haven't criticized Biden's moves publicly, and are trying to navigate the new reality through private talks with the administration.

  • Saudi deputy defense minister Khalid Bin Salman, the crown prince's brother and confidant, seized on the one positive line in Biden's recent foreign policy speech, in which he said the U.S. would help Saudi Arabia defend itself.
  • Meanwhile bin Farhan welcomed Lenderking's appointment despite Biden's shift on Yemen. On Wednesday they discussed ways to find a political solution to the crisis, according to the Saudi foreign ministry.
  • The release of al-Hathloul after 2.5 years in prison is another indication that the Saudis want to avoid a clash with Biden over human rights. Her arrest had caused outrage around the world

The important step from the crown prince may ultimately be the announcement on Monday of major legal and judicial reforms that will establish civil law in the country for the first time, in addition to Islamic law.

  • “The absence of applicable legislation has led to discrepancies in decisions and a lack of clarity in the principles governing facts and practices. … This was painful for many individuals and families, especially women, permitting some to evade their responsibilities," the Crown Prince said.
  • The timing of the announcement looks like a signal to the Biden administration.

Worth noting: Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke to bin Farhan on Friday, after he'd already spoken to several other Arab foreign ministers. In the call, he stressed the need for the Saudis to take steps on human rights and end the war in Yemen.

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

30 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!