Saudis, U.A.E. Snub Biden on Ukraine Talks, Engage with Putin Instead
Persian Gulf monarchies won’t help ease surging oil prices
Saudi and U.A.E. leaders have joined Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in refusing to take Joe Biden's calls as he tries to contain surging oil prices.
The Persian Gulf monarchies have signaled “they won’t help ease surging oil prices unless Washington supports them in Yemen, elsewhere.”
“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen,” said one U.S. official of a planned discussion between Biden and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil].”
The U.A.E.’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan also ghosted Biden in recent weeks.
But both Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed took phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin after ignoring Biden, the Wall Street Journal reported.
They also spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
However, Biden managed to get through to Prince Mohammed’s 86-year-old father, but the U.A.E.’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the call would need to be rescheduled.
The Journal noted:
“The Saudis have signaled that their relationship with Washington has deteriorated under the Biden administration, and they want more support for their intervention in Yemen’s civil war, help with their own civilian nuclear program as Iran’s moves ahead, and legal immunity for Prince Mohammed in the U.S., Saudi officials said.
"The crown prince faces multiple lawsuits in the U.S., including over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.”
As ZeroHedge reported:
He Emiratis share Saudi concerns about the less-than-adequate level of engagement by the U.S. regarding recent missile strikes by Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen against both the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia.
The two kingdoms are also concerned about the revival of the Iran nuclear deal - which is in its’ final stages of negotiations,’ yet does zero to address their security concerns.
So for those keeping track, while the west has continued to insist that Russia is isolated - and make no mistake, these sanctions will be immediately crippling - if one considers the population and resources which originate in China, India, Brazil, and the Middle East kingdoms - basically half the world’s population and those who control most of the world’s commodities aren’t on board with punishing Putin or easing the situation to the west’s benefit.
And as the Journal points out:
“Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are the only two major oil producers that can pump millions of more barrels of more oil—a capacity that, if used, could help calm the crude market at a time when American gasoline prices are at high levels.”
Last month, the National Security Council’s Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, and Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s energy envoy, flew to Riydah to try and smooth relations.
But the Saudis and Emiratis have declined to increase oil production, instead of holding to the previously agreed OPEC production roadmap.
Additionally, their energy alliance with Russia has boosted OPEC’s global reach while bringing the Kingdoms closer to Moscow.
Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. forged deep ties with former President Donald Trump, who sided with them in a regional dispute with Qatar, made his first trip abroad to Riyadh in 2017, stood by Prince Mohammed after the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, and pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.
The rift between Biden and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince dates back to the 2020 presidential election when he owed to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” state after a Saudi hit team killed Mr. Khashoggi.
Shortly after taking office, Biden released an intelligence report concluding that Prince Mohammed approved the 2018 Istanbul murder of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden also slammed Saudi Arabia over its long war in Yemen, cutting off the Saudis’ weapons to target Houthis.