Saudi Arabia slammed President Joe Biden’s administration in a statement Wednesday for trying to pressure OPEC+ into not cutting oil production before next month’s midterm elections, saying that the decision would have had “negative economic consequences.”
The Saudi-led OPEC+ oil cartel announced earlier this month that member states would cut oil output by 2 million barrels per day starting in just a couple of weeks, which triggered backlash from the Biden administration.
Biden responded to the announcement that there would be “consequences” for Saudi Arabia’s actions, although he did not give specifics. The New York Times reported that Biden “expressed openness to retaliatory measures offered by congressional Democrats such as curbing arms sales or permitting legal action against the cartel.”
The administration wanted Saudi Arabia to wait another month until OPEC+ members were expected to meet again on November 3rd to make any decisions. That date is just days before the U.S. midterm elections.
Saudi Arabia released a statement Wednesday expressing its “total rejection” of claims that the decision was “politically motivated” against the United States. Saudi Arabia voted this week at the United Nations to condemn Russia for annexing territories in Ukraine.
“The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would also like to clarify that based on its belief in the importance of dialogue and exchange of views with its allies and partners outside the OPEC + group regarding the situation in the oil markets, the Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” Saudi Arabia said in the statement.
Remarkable statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry revealing that the U.S. suggested to delay the OPEC announcement by one month (ostensibly for election purposes) and rejecting “dictates.” https://t.co/hSbM9pkeUm
— Mohammed Alyahya محمد اليحيى (@7yhy) October 13, 2022
Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, dodged a couple of questions during a CNN interview this week about whether the kingdom was worried by threats from Biden, but he did address threats from Democrats to freeze arm sales to Saudi Arabia and pull U.S. troops out of the country.
“What I can tell you is that the sale of defensive weapons to Saudi Arabia serves the interests of the U.S. and serves the interests of Saudi Arabia and serves the interests of security and stability in the Middle East,” he said. “The presence of American forces in the Middle East has been here for many, many decades. They are here to protect the stability and security of the Middle East and the stability and security of the United States.”
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have had a very strong relationship for eight decades,” he continued. “They have been very close partners in fighting extremism and terrorism and maintaining stability and security in defending the region. And have been very close allies in terms of economic and trade, an investment and we hope that this relationship we’ll look forward to this relationship continuing for the next eight decades.”
The decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production comes as the Biden administration was quietly pressuring the kingdom to increase its production of oil to lower fuel prices ahead of the election since U.S. families have suffered at the pump throughout the Biden-era.
“So Joe Biden refuses to say whether he would support cutting off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia after the Saudis rejected his request to increase oil supply in a slowing economy — a request made for a specified period of time, until right after the election,” Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro responded. “This looks an awful lot like the president of the United States threatening to remove weaponry from a purported ally unless that ally performs actions that help that president politically in advance of an election. Wasn’t Trump impeached for that?”
This looks an awful lot like the president of the United States threatening to remove weaponry from a purported ally unless that ally performs actions that help that president politically in advance of an election. Wasn’t Trump impeached for that?
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 13, 2022