“The president believes he should continue to evaluate these bonds,” spokesman John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council (NSC) told CNN on Tuesday. And certainly in light of OPEC’s decision. The Americans, who demanded more oil from the Saudis instead of less, interpreted this decision as a hoax. Last July, Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia with a stone in his stomach to ask the crown prince to increase oil exports. It was an embarrassing encounter to say the least.
For years, Biden refused to speak to Mohammed bin Salman over human rights abuses in his country and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. During Biden’s campaign for the presidency, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah state.” But then war broke out in Ukraine and oil prices soared. Biden felt compelled to persuade the world’s largest exporter of crude oil to increase production, sending global oil prices down.
Now that the Saudis are not doing what the Americans want, they are putting additional pressure on them by saying they want to reconsider their relationship with the country.
Despite disagreements over human rights and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the United States and Saudi Arabia have maintained a close alliance for more than 70 years due to the United States’ dependence on oil.
Biden has always felt the US Congress gasping for his neck. Many politicians have long felt the need to take a tougher stance against the Gulf state. On Monday, Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the White House to temporarily freeze all cooperation with the country — including arms sales. With these kinds of threats, Americans still hope to get their way.
“Biden is ready to work with Congress to think about what the relationship should look like in the future,” Kirby said on Tuesday. He says Biden has time to start those conversations right away. “I don’t think this is something that should wait any longer.”
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