US President Joe Biden pledged on October 11, 2022 that US relations with Saudi Arabia will have consequences after OPEC+ declared that it would cut oil production over US objections. His declaration came a day after powerful Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the United States must immediately freeze all cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales. So, the article is about Biden Vowed Consequences For Saudi Arabia After OPEC Decision.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed a policy review would be conducted but gave no timeline for action or information on who would lead the re-evaluation. However, the United States will be watching the situation closely over the coming weeks and months. OPEC+ announced plans for an oil production cut last week after weeks of lobbying against one by US officials. The United States accused Saudi Arabia of kowtowing to Russia, which objects to a Western cap on the Price of Russian oil spurred by the Ukraine invasion.
US officials had been quietly trying to persuade its biggest Arab partner to nix the idea of a production cut, but Saudi Arabia’s de-factor ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was not swayed. According to a source familiar with the situation, Bin Salman and Biden had clashed during Biden’s visit to Jeddah in July over the death 2018 of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
US intelligence says the crown prince approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. The prince, son of King Salman, 86, has denied ordering the killing but acknowledged it took place “under my watch.” In July; he told the prince he thought he was responsible. John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, said Biden would work with Congress “to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward.”
“And I think he’s going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away. So I don’t think this is anything that’s going to have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, for much longer,” Mr. Kirby added. State Department spokesperson Ned Price also said the Biden administration would not overlook Iran, a US adversary and a bitter regional rival of Saudi Arabia, in the review.
Much of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been made with Iran’s threat in the region in mind. “There are security challenges, some of which emanate from Iran. Certainly, we won’t take our eye off the threat that Iran poses not only to the region but in some ways beyond,” Price said.
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