Tuesday, September 27

Biden extracts an increase in crude oil production from the Saudis

The main objective of Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, that this Arab nation and its partners increase crude oil production as a way to control international prices, had positive results this Saturday, July 16, although modest. According to official Saudi agencies, Muhammad bin Salmanthe crown prince and de facto ruler of the kingdom, promised to reach the maximum possible, 13 million barrels per day, but by 2027, too long a period to have an immediate effect on the global drama of runaway inflation.

The White House said that after Biden’s several meetings with Bin Salman, highly controversial in the US, it hopes Stronger Measures Regarding Arab Oil Production. Bin Salman replied, always according to the Saudi media, that the kingdom is reaching the maximum of its production capacity and will need heavy investment if it is to increase it significantly.

On the last day of his first tour of the Middle East, before flying back to Washington, Biden said in a speech to kings, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders of the major Arab nations: “Let me state clearly that The US will continue to be an active and committed partner in the Middle East. As the world becomes more competitive and the challenges we face more complex, it is becoming clear to me how closely US interests are intertwined with successes in the Middle East. We will not walk away and leave a vacuum for China, Russia or Iran to fill. And we will try to seize this moment with active and principled American leadership.”

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The decision to meet Bin Salman on his trip to Jeddah has set fire to a large part of the Democratic base and not a few US media outlets, since US intelligence found a few months ago that it was the prince who gave the order to kill the dissident journalist jamal khashoggiwho lived in Washington, during a visit to a Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2019.

The snapshot of Biden and Bin Salman bumping fists went viral on social networks and was on the front pages of most newspapers on Saturday. Fred Ryan, the executive director of the ‘Washington Post’, where Khashoggi wrote before his murder, denounced that the meeting “undermines the moral authority” of the US.

“USA. will continue to be an active and committed partner in the Middle East»

Joe Biden

US President

Biden’s team, however, argues that this trip was necessary after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As a candidate, Biden was tough on Bin Salman, calling him a pariah. She even said that she would not see him. But now the price of a barrel of oil has skyrocketed and that of a gallon of gasoline too. The White House has even sent a delegation to Caracas to meet with Nicolás Maduro, since Venezuela has significant oil reserves.

Saudi Arabia, however, is the main oil exporter to the USwith 5% of imports of refined oil and 6% of crude oil.

Saudi state media said yesterday that Bin Salman responded to Biden’s gestures with his trip reaffirming a previous commitment to increase crude oil production to those 13 million barrels per day. In principle, the current maximum is 12, but according to figures from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Saudi Arabia produced about nine million barrels of oil per day in 2021. The reason for this difference in figures, according to Bloomberg, is that Along with other oil cartel countries, it cut production when the pandemic broke out and demand plummeted, agreeing to gradually ramp up output over several months to regulate prices.

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After the Russian invasion of Europe, the price of Oil soared above $120 a barrel, but has fallen below $100 dollars, which today is equivalent to the same amount in euros. Inflation, however, is skyrocketing in the US, and has reached a maximum in four decades: 9.1% year-on-year, according to recent official figures. The Biden team fears a return to the years of stagflation that ended Jimmy Carter’s presidency: unstoppable inflation coupled with economic stagnation or even a recession.

Having promised a firm commitment to democracy, and even convening a summit of world democracies late last year, Biden has no choice but pragmatism. Yesterday, apart from his speech at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, he had bilateral talks with the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed; the Egyptian president, Abdelfatá al Sisi; the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al Thani; King Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain; Abdullah II, King of Jordan; and the prime minister of Iraq, Mustafa al Kadimi. The latter is the only one democratically elected in his country.

“We will not walk away and leave a vacuum in this area for China, Russia or Iran to fill”

Joe Biden

US President

In his speech before those leaders, Biden didn’t say the word “democracy”, but he did say that «USA. will always promote human rights.” «The future will belong to countries that unleash the full potential of their citizens, in which women can exercise equal rights and contribute to building stronger economies, resilient societies and more modern and capable armies; in which citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisals. I have received a lot of criticism over the years. It’s not fun. But the ability to speak openly and freely exchange ideas is what enables innovation,” the president said.

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Biden also announced $1 billion in aid US to alleviate hunger in the area.

A novelty of this Arab-American summit is that several of the countries present, such as the Emirates or Bahrain, have diplomatic relations with Israel. They join Jordan and Egypt, both neighbors of the Jewish state. Biden seeks to get more Arab nations to join, especially Saudi Arabia, delving into an achievement of the Donald Trump Administration. At this meeting, however, there was no big announcement to that effect.


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