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Democrats to Sanction Saudis for Not Playing Ball on Biden’s Midterm OPEC Election Stunt

We all know the story by now: after coming back empty-handed from a recent trip Saudi Arabia to beg the royal family to pump more oil in order help lower gasoline prices ahead of the upcoming US midterm elections, and a further rebuff to Washington by OPEC +1, the Biden Administration has decided to lash out at the long-time ally of Washington – and threaten sanctions and other ‘tough’ diplomatic measures.

Ironically, or not: President Biden is essentially doing what the Democrats impeached President Donald Trump for allegedly doing, this is – putting his own political interest ahead of the national interest. In Trump’s case, it was a phone call to Zelensky asking to investigate the Biden scandals. Here it’s Biden calling on the Saudis to hold-off on oil production cuts to oil production until after the 2022 midterms.

This unprecedented move using his clout as President to try and engineer a short-term drop in US gas prices is really a bridge too far. And yet, incredibly, House Democrats are now doubling down on Biden’s desperate electioneering stunt… 

Even the Washington Post cannot conceal the reason the White House is attacking Saudi Arabia – it’s pure partisan politics. Their report here:

“In Washington, or at least some corners of it, knives are being sharpened for Saudi Arabia. It’s been almost two weeks since Riyadh and its counterparts in the OPEC Plus cartel moved to raise global oil prices by announcing its largest supply cut in years, no matter the desperate entreaties of the Biden administration. The resulting fallout still smolders in Washington, where many interpreted the decision as a calculated act to humiliate President Biden and undermine his party’s prospects ahead of the upcoming midterm elections — on top of boosting the fossil fuel-subsidized war machine of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In recent days, Democratic lawmakers have touted a series of punitive measures against the kingdom. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced legislation last week that would immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia for one year.

“There must be consequences for fleecing the American people in order to support Putin’s unconscionable war,” Khanna said in a statement.

In the summer, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a former U.S. diplomat, backed Biden’s controversial July trip to Saudi Arabia as a bid to “ensure our client states that depend on our security are on our side.” But earlier this month, he and two other Democrats in the House introduced a bill to mandate the removal of U.S. troops and missile systems deployed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which was also party to the cartel’s production cut.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week urged that U.S. missile systems and batteries committed to help defend the oil infrastructure of the Gulf kingdoms be transferred instead to protect Ukraine from Russian attacks.

“Policy decisions have consequences, and these steps would right-size the relationship with Saudi Arabia and help Ukraine,” Murphy said in an emailed statement.

Across the Democratic caucus, a lurking dissatisfaction with the United States’ long-standing entanglements with the Saudis exploded into full-bore rage. There remains disquiet over the outsize Saudi role in the attacks of 9/11, a long record of human rights abuses culminating garishly in the abduction and murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, as well as wariness over Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s partisan affections for Republicans and former president Donald Trump.

After Biden’s reticent fist bump with MBS, the OPEC Plus decision was seen as a deliberate punch in the gut that had to be met with a tough response. The anger has given new life to the so-called NOPEC bill, long-mooted congressional legislation that would make the cartel’s member states subject to antitrust laws. That some lawmakers now believe a bill that could cause further havoc to energy markets has a chance, albeit a slim one, of passing is a sign of the appetite for confrontation with Riyadh. “It’s time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without this alliance with these royal backstabbers,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) tweeted.

In public remarks, Saudi officials have treated the American reaction with bemusement. “When you are in the election season, what some call ‘the funny season,’ a lot of things are said and a lot of things are done that may not make sense at another period of time,” Adel al-Jubeir, minister of state for foreign affairs, told CNN. “I hope this is what we’re dealing with here.”

Jubeir cast the OPEC Plus decision as one made entirely on technical and economic grounds by oil producers minding their collective interests. There’s an obvious truth to that — and some analysts have stressed the need for U.S. officials to look beyond their domestic frames of reference. “The Saudis weren’t thinking about Ukraine — like many people in Asia and Africa, they don’t think in absolute terms of being pro- or anti-Russian — although that was certainly shortsighted,” wrote Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “And it’s frankly narcissistic for Democrats to imagine that the Saudis are adjusting their national grand strategy around the upcoming midterm vote.”

On Sunday television, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden would address the anger in Congress, while also cautioning against calls for an abrupt change to U.S.-Saudi relations. “He is going to act methodically, strategically, and he’s going to take his time to consult with members of both parties, and also to have an opportunity for Congress to return so that he can sit with them in person and work through the options,” Sullivan said…”

Continue the Washington Post’s report here

READ MORE SAUDI ARABIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Saudi Files



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