UNITED STATES: President Joe Biden said that Saudi Arabia will “suffer consequences” as a result of the decision by OPEC+ to restrict output, which the administration claims will benefit Russia by maintaining oil prices.
His declaration was made the day after influential Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, demanded that the U.S. immediately halt all collaboration with Saudi Arabia, including military sales.
Last week, the 13-nation OPEC cartel and its 10 allies, led by Moscow, enraged the White House with their decision to reduce output by two million barrels per day from November, sparking worries that oil prices would surge.
Biden stated during an interview with CNN, “I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind. But there will be – there will be consequences.”
Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, announced that a policy review would be carried out but provided no timetable for action or details on who would be in charge of the examination. Over the upcoming weeks and months, she said, the United States will be closely monitoring the situation.
The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was unmoved despite the U.S. secretly trying to convince its largest Arab ally to reject the idea of a production decrease.
According to a source with knowledge of the matter, Bin Salman and Biden argued during Biden’s July visit to Jeddah over the 2018 death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a former insider turned critic of Saudi Arabia, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul, according to U.S. intelligence. The crown prince is alleged to have given his approval for an operation to arrest or kill Khashoggi.
The prince, who is the 86-year-old son of King Salman, has denied ordering the murder but has acknowledged it happened “on my watch.” Biden claimed that in July, he told the prince that he believed he was at fault.
The spokesperson for national security at the White House, John Kirby, stated that Biden would collaborate with Congress “to think through what that partnership ought to look like going forward.”
“And I believe that he will be eager to begin having those discussions right now. In all honesty, I don’t think this is something that needs to be delayed for very long,” added Kirby.
Additionally, the Saudis have come under fire from the international community for airstrikes that killed civilians during the protracted conflict in Yemen between the kingdom and the Houthi rebels, as well as for economic sanctions that exacerbated hunger and brought Yemen dangerously close to famine.
Rep. Ro Khanna of California stated, “Saudi Arabia’s horrible choice to reduce oil supply by two million barrels a day makes it apparent that Riyadh is seeking to harm the U.S. and emphasises the need to reassess the US-Saudi relationship.”
“There is no justification for the U.S. to bow down to a regime that has murdered countless civilians in Yemen, murdered a journalist in Washington, and is now extorting Americans at the gas pump,” he added.