Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking revenge on Democrats and President Joe Biden in particular for their increasingly hostile attitude towards the kingdom. He's driving up energy prices, and fueling global inflation. Biden seemed to hint at this during a CNN town hall. He said that high gas prices were due to a "foreign policy initiative". He also added, "There are a lot Middle Eastern people who want to speak to me." Biden made a subtle reference to his refusal of meeting with Salman to acknowledge him as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler after his involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Biden had pledged during a debate to make MBS (as he's known), "a pariah". This was a drastic departure from Trump’s warm relations with the desert Kingdom and crown prince.
Trump broke with tradition in 2017 by choosing Riyadh as his first foreign trip. He soon announced a record-breaking arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Trump later questioned the involvement of MBS after Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was murdered in a Turkish consulate. He also reportedly boasted that he had saved the crown prince's life. Trump asked that Saudi Arabia and its cartel the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries lower energy prices and increase production in June 2018. The kingdom agreed. Prices plummeted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Usage fell to new lows. After the pandemic ended, prices rose and the economy reopened. In August 2021, Biden requested that OPEC increase its output again. MBS refused to meet with Biden, furious at not being granted access and disapproval of the U.S. withdrawal from the war in Yemen. Biden had, as one of his first business ventures, ordered that the United States stop supporting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in war. However, he caved to it by limiting support for "offensive operation." Saudi Arabia still received the order as a resounding blow. Ali Shihabi (a Saudi national considered to be a voice for MBS) made this clear in October by tweeting that "Biden has his phone number and who he will need to call if any favors are required."
Biden has the phone number of who he will have to call if he wants any favours: @CroftHelima "OPEC will come under increasingly intense pressure from Washington to open the production release valve and cap the upside" https://t.co/d09aml1JcT via @markets -- Ali Shihabi ??? ??????? (@aliShihabi) October 2, 2021
Shihabi commented to The Intercept that Saudi Arabia had put a lot into getting a cohesive OPEC+ working over the past 15 month since the crisis that plunged oil futures below zero. He said that Russia and the consensus on this matter will not be broken. The Kingdom is upset at being blamed for what it considers a structural problem in the US that has hindered its energy production. Shihabi also added a wink emoticon to his comment. American economics are heavily dependent upon fossil fuels. In addition to the high prices that consumers pay at the pump as well as for energy at home, food and manufactured goods prices are also highly susceptible to fluctuations in energy prices. Biden stated that gas prices are related to a foreign-policy initiative that is more than just the price of gasoline at the town hall last week. It's about $3.30 per gallon in most places, which is a significant drop from the single digits. I don't mean a dollar-plus. Because OPEC has withheld the supply. There's lots of negotiation going on -- many Middle Eastern people want to speak with me. They are not likely to speak to me. It's all about gas production.
Gas prices have increased further since the town hall. They now stand at $3.40, an increase of seven years. He said, "There's a chance to be able to reduce it." "[It] depends somewhat on Saudi Arabia and some other things that are in hand." Biden made similar remarks at the G-20 summit last October, saying Russia and Saudi Arabia were withholding more production. He said, "It has a profound effect on working-class family's ability to return and forth to work." According to The Intercept, a senior Senate aide who was not authorized to speak publicly said that the United States has given MBS the power to impose economic sanctions against us through its own policies. Salman's refusal of bailing Biden out by opening up the spigot was calculated, according to Jon Hoffman, a Middle East analyst, who recently wrote a critical article in Foreign Policy on the UAE and Mohammed bin Zayed (the crown prince of Abu Dhabi capital and country's de facto ruler). Hoffman stated that they know exactly what they are doing and that those pretending it isn't a coordinated strategy or acting innocently like it is, are either ignorant or in the pockets MBS and MBZ. This week saw the politics of oil, foreign policy, and the economy play out as the Biden administration made a major arms sale, to Saudi Arabia, for its war in Yemen. While taking heat from Rep. Ilhan Olmar (D-Minn), the Biden administration also moved forward with the sale, while also securing a significant arms sales to the United Arab Emirates.
Agree. It is unacceptable to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, while they continue to massacre Yemenis. We would never arm human rights violators if we really believed in human rights being at the heart of our foreign policies. This week, we are working on legislation to end this sale. https://t.co/b0b33Eyasz -- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 10, 2021