Biden will “reassess” the relationship with Saudi Arabia due to the crude oil cut favorable to Russia

Biden will “reassess” the relationship with Saudi Arabia due to the crude oil cut favorable to Russia

President Joe Biden will “reassess” the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, one of its traditional partners in the Middle East, after the kingdom teamed up with Russia to cut oil production, a White House spokesman said Tuesday. .

Biden “has been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to reassess, that we need to be willing to review,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN. “And certainly, in light of OPEC’s decision, I think that’s where it is.”

Last week OPEC+, which brings together the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and its ten partners led by Russia, decided to cut its crude oil production, which boosted international prices. upward.

The decision was seen as a diplomatic snub for Biden, who traveled to Saudi Arabia in July to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite vowing to turn the ultra-conservative kingdom into an international “rogue” state after the 2018 assassination of the Freelance journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

According to the CIA, Mohammed ordered the operation that led to the murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

It also comes at a delicate moment for the Democratic Party led by Biden, which faces the legislative elections next November with inflation as a key topic of conversation for the Republican opposition.

Work with Congress

Kirby added that Biden “is ready to work with Congress to think about what that relationship (with Saudi Arabia) should look like in the future.”

Kirby’s remarks come after influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, a Democrat, threatened on Monday to block any future arms sales to Saudi Arabia. “I have to denounce the recent decision of the government of Saudi Arabia” to help Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine “through the OPEC+ cartel,” Menendez said.

“There is simply no room for playing both sides in this conflict: either you support the rest of the free world in trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping an entire country off the map, or you support him,” he added. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose the latter in a terrible decision driven by economic interest.”

Two other Democrats, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative Ro Khanna, wrote a column on the Politico site along the same lines: “The United States should not hand over such unlimited control of strategic defense systems to a country seemingly allied with our greatest enemy”.

And Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Democrat in the Senate, said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia clearly wanted Russia to win the war in Ukraine. “Let’s be very frank about this,” he said on CNN. “It is Putin and Saudi Arabia against the United States.”

Last August, Washington had announced that it would sell 300 Patriot missiles and their equipment to Saudi Arabia for $3.05 billion.

The US-Saudi partnership was sealed after World War II, providing military protection in exchange for access to oil. The strategic relationship, dotted with crisis, was relaunched by Donald Trump, with the sale of weapons as a key element.

Ben Oakley
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