Report: Biden To Seriously Re-Consider Relations With Saudi Arabia Over OPEC

As a result of the decision by OPEC+, a group of oil producing countries, to reduce supplies, the Biden administration is quickly changing its tone regarding relations with Saudi Arabia and suggesting a willingness to “reassess” what is regarded as a strategic cooperation with the Gulf country.

The president is prepared to review the U.S.-Saudi relationship, according to several White House officials on Tuesday. This prospective shift would be in line with mounting calls from Congress to sever certain connections with the kingdom. A date for when President Biden may make a decision about how to carry out such a change in policy has not been provided by officials, nor have they specified any particular adjustments that are on the table.

John Kirby, a representative for the National Security Council, told reporters on Tuesday that the president thought it was time to assess that relationship and determine if it was in our best interests.

Biden “spoke about the need to not be scared to think afresh about this bilateral relationship,” according to Kirby. “The president believes that we should review the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia and take a look to see if that relationship is where it needs to be and that it is serving our national security interests,” the statement reads. “Certainly, in light of recent developments and OPEC+’s decisions about oil production.”

Kirby made no more comments, claiming that he is unable to predict how a reevaluation may turn out. The president is open to debate the choice with Congressmen, he added, but no such conversations have yet taken place.

Given asked why the United States has focused on Saudi Arabia when it is only one of the bigger OPEC+ coalition’s members that decided to reduce a key oil supply, Kirby responded that the country “obviously… is the leader of that cartel.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, told journalists that the administration will engage with lawmakers and foreign allies in the upcoming weeks and months, but she did not provide a specific schedule for any review of the relationship. She also declined to disclose who will be in charge of the study, only saying that it will involve the whole White House.

The choice made by OPEC+, according to Jean-Pierre, was “self-serving,” and from the start, we have stated that we need to sort of reevaluate and have a new relationship with Saudi Arabia. Biden has not publicly stated whether he favors substantially modifying or severing ties with Saudi Arabia, but the president may be questioned about the situation when he is interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.

The announcement by OPEC+ to reduce oil output by 2 million barrels per day comes at a time when many people are most concerned about rising gas costs as we approach the midterm elections. The action, according to administration officials, further strengthened Russia’s position at a time when the United States and its allies are attempting to isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

With regard to a prospective change in the U.S.-Saudi relationship, top White House economic adviser Brian Deese told reporters last week that he had nothing to disclose. This highlighted how quickly the administration’s language has evolved.

Following the OPEC+ declaration last week, congressional Democrats have once again called on the United States to reevaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia, particularly with regard to the export of weapons and defense technologies.

Additionally, lawmakers are working to enact the “NOPEC” bill, which would enable the Justice Department to sue OPEC+ nations and their state-owned oil firms in accordance with American antitrust laws.

The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), made a plea on Monday to halt American collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

Kirby said that Menendez had not given the White House any form of advance notice of his plans, but added that Biden will speak with Congress about the Saudis in the future.

According to Kirby, “He’s going to take seriously both the words of looking at this relationship and the concerns of members of Congress.”

In July, Biden visited Saudi Arabia and had a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The trip was controversial since it occurred at a time when petrol prices in the US had risen and because Biden had threatened to make Saudi Arabia a pariah during the 2020 presidential race in response to the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

After the OPEC+ announcement, Biden defended the trip by claiming that it wasn’t primarily about oil. The Middle East, Israel, and position rationalization were all major topics of the tour.

Biden stated last week, “But it is a disappointment and it suggests that there are difficulties.”

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