Saudi Arabia Reacts To Biden’s Comment Over Oil Cuts

Tensions over Saudi Arabia’s decision with OPEC+ to cut oil production reached a new high on Thursday when the White House did something it had never done before: it publicly disagreed with the Kingdom’s defence. This was a big change in the way the two countries have been getting along for a long time.

In a long statement, the Saudi foreign ministry said that the decision was made for economic reasons and that all members of OPEC+, a group of countries that produce oil, agreed with it. But Biden administration officials, who thought that the move would help the Kremlin, were against it.

“The bottom line is that we don’t want any country to help Russia fight this war, whether it’s with moral support, military support, or economic support, and OPEC+’s decision this week was definitely economic support. I would also say that it was moral and military support,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

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He said that the Saudis were trying to “spin or deflect,” and he said that the Saudis told U.S. officials in recent weeks that they wanted to cut oil production because they knew it would bring in more money for Russia.

Kirby said that the administration had given Saudi Arabia an analysis to show that there was no market reason to cut production goals. Thursday, President Biden also sent the Saudis a clear message: “We’re about to talk to you.”

When reporters asked him what he would say to Saudi leaders, he told them to “stay tuned.” The government has also brought in other countries, though it hasn’t said which ones.

Kirby said that other OPEC+ countries have told the U.S. in private that they disagree with Saudi Arabia’s decision, but that they “felt forced to support” it. He said that the OPEC+ members who told the U.S. about their concerns can speak for themselves, but that “more than one OPEC member” did so.

Kirby said that other OPEC+ countries have told the U.S. in private that they disagree with Saudi Arabia’s decision, but that they “felt forced to support” it. He said that the OPEC+ members who told the U.S. about their concerns can speak for themselves, but that “more than one OPEC member” did so.

Hafed Al Ghwell, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, said, “The fact that they went public with it is quite a statement in and of itself.” “I think this uproar is pretty important. And it will really hurt the relationship as a whole.”

In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Biden agreed that the decision by OPEC+ meant it was time for the U.S. to rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Kirby said on Thursday that rethinking the relationship also means thinking about how they lead OPEC+. He said that the Saudis “twisted arms” to get the decision they wanted.

When OPEC+ said earlier this month that it would cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day, the White House and Democratic lawmakers got very angry right away. Many people thought that Saudi Arabia was siding with Moscow against the Biden administration by making this choice.

But the kingdom voted Wednesday at the UN General Assembly to condemn Moscow’s attempts to take over parts of Ukraine. Kirby said that the vote hasn’t made the White House change its mind.

“We thought this was a short-sighted move, and no matter how yesterday’s vote went, Russia will benefit the most from this 2 million barrel cut,” Kirby said. “Because it comes down to supply and demand, and Russia wants to keep the supply low so that demand drives up the price.”

He also said, “It’s clear that Vladimir Putin is the one who wins here… and that just lets him keep making money off of this.”

Under former President Trump, Eric Ueland was the undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights. He warned that the public fight between the Biden administration and the Kingdom could have effects on everyday Americans.

“It shows a striking lack of statecraft to trash the relationship without a plan for turning back on domestic energy production and laying out a way forward with our friends and allies in the area,” he said. “There is a lot of anger, and the Biden administration needs to come up with a well-thought-out plan that should get a lot of support from both parties so that Americans don’t get hurt like they did during the two oil embargoes of the 1970s.”

In its statement, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry also said that U.S. criticism of the OPEC+ decision was “politically motivated” and hinted that the U.S. had asked the Kingdom to wait to cut production until after the midterm elections.

Republicans have blamed the president for the country’s inflation problems, and the Biden administration has been under pressure for months to lower gas prices. The economy and rising prices are at the centre of the GOP’s midterm campaign message.

The president was also asked to explain his trip to Jeddah in July. Earlier this week, he told CNN that his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wasn’t about oil.

After the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, Biden said on the campaign trail that he wanted to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” during the 2020 presidential election. This caused a lot of controversy about the trip. Biden’s trip to the Kingdom also happened when gas prices in the United States were at all-time highs.

Officials say that a new look at the U.S.-Saudi relationship has already begun. They wouldn’t give details or a time frame, but they did say that arm sales in the future will be on the table.

“There will be repercussions.” We think that the decision that OPEC+ made last week was wrong and short-sighted,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday. “From the beginning, the president has talked about recalibrating or readjusting our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And now we’ll start a process to look at that, and we’ll have more to say about it.”

Jean-Pierre also said that Biden will work with members of Congress throughout the process and include both the House and Senate in discussions.

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Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has called for the U.S. to stop working with Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would stop all U.S. arms sales to the Kingdom for a year.

Al-Ghwell said that the Biden administration could set a good example for other countries by being critical of the Saudis in public.

He said that the U.S. could “use Saudi Arabia as a punching bag and say, ‘Look at us willing to take some serious negative steps toward a very long-standing ally when they broke the rules and didn’t march with us, especially in this situation with the Ukraine.'”

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