Daily Management Review

After The OPEC+ Decision, Biden Threatens Saudi Arabia With Repercussions


After The OPEC+ Decision, Biden Threatens Saudi Arabia With Repercussions
In response to OPEC+'s announcement last week that it would lower its oil production target in defiance of U.S. objections, President Joe Biden promised on Tuesday that "there will be consequences" for the United States' relations with Saudi Arabia.
He made his announcement the day after influential Democratic Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez demanded that the US immediately halt all cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales.
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Biden declined to say which options he was contemplating.
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 evaluation. Over the upcoming weeks and months, she said, the United States will be closely monitoring the situation.
According to Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the OPEC+ decision was made unanimously by its member states and was solely based on economic considerations.
"OPEC+ members acted responsibly and took the appropriate decision," Prince Faisal told the Al Arabiya television channel.
After weeks of lobbying by U.S. officials against such a move, OPEC+, the oil producer group made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus allies including Russia, announced the production target.
Because Russia disagrees with a Western cap on the price of Russian oil in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United States accused Saudi Arabia of caving in to Moscow.
A production cut had been proposed by the United States' largest Arab ally, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who holds the country's de facto leadership position, was unmoved.
During Biden's July visit to Jeddah, Bin Salman and Biden argued over the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi insider-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the country's consulate in Istanbul, according to US intelligence, and the crown prince reportedly gave the go-ahead for an operation to either capture or kill him.
The prince, who is the 86-year-old son of King Salman, has denied ordering the killing but has admitted it happened "under my watch." According to Biden, he told the prince in July that he believed he was at fault.
Biden will work with Congress "to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward," according to John Kirby, the White House's national security spokesperson.
"And I think he's going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away. I don't think this is anything that's going to have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, for much longer," Kirby added.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, added on Tuesday that Iran, a rival of the United States and a fierce rival of Saudi Arabia in the region, would not be disregarded in the review by the Biden administration.
US arms sales to Saudi Arabia were largely made with the threat posed by Iran 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.
According to Prince Faisal, Saudi Arabia and the United States benefit from their military cooperation.