United States officials were reportedly rebuffed by Saudi Arabia and other big Gulf producers in their urgent request to delay a major reduction in oil production (2 million barrels per day), just days before OPEC and its allies announced the decision, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Citing sources in the report, the Journal says U.S. officials "warned" Saudi leaders that a drastic cut in oil production would be universally viewed as OPEC siding with Moscow in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Conversely, the Saudis felt the Biden administration was only concerned about the expected rise of gasoline prices in America affecting the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8.
"It's categorically false to connect this to U.S. elections," said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson, according to the Journal. "It's about the impact of this short-sighted decision to the global economy."
On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said President Joe Biden believes the U.S. should review the relationship with Saudi Arabia in light of the OPEC+ announcement, "and take a look to see if that relationship is where it needs to be and that it is serving our national security interests."
Kirby also said President Biden was "willing to discuss the bilateral relationship" with members of Congress.
Adel al Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, says the global economic headwinds justified OPEC's decision to reduce oil production.
On Fox News Sunday, Jubeir reasoned that Washington's reaction to the cut had been based on "the emotions that have to do with the upcoming elections. ... The idea that Saudi Arabia would do this to harm the U.S. or to be in any way politically involved is not correct at all."
According to the Journal, U.S. officials were seeking a one-month delay to the OPEC+ decision, believing a refusal to do so would strengthen Russian President Vladimir Putin's resolve in cutting or denying energy services to other European nations.
As a response to the OPEC+ announcement, the White House has reportedly vowed to push back against the Saudis, potentially cutting off arms sales.
Among the other considerations: The U.S. withdrawing from participation in Saudi Arabia’s flagship Future Investment Initiative investment forum later this month.
In mid-July, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, told Newsmax that Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia indicated the president was "not ready for prime time," in terms of having enough clout or respect among other world leaders to leverage long-range negotiations on behalf of America.
"[Biden] was the Senate Foreign Relations chairman for years; yet as president, he was stumbling," said Sessions in July. "Saudi Arabia has a vast experience with us, and the message to them needs to be clear."
The Saudi leaders aren't "woke," Sessions continued to Newsmax, "and to assume that the Saudis would be woke would be a mistake. He had to have a package that was pre-worked by his team and his staff not only on energy but also on international politics as well as financial matters. It's like he can't read his book that he is supposed to understand."
Congressman Sessions also characterized President Biden's public fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as an "embarrassment" and a potential show of weakness.
According to the Journal, people inside the Saudi government assert that Biden's July visit to Saudi Arabia "did little" to change Prince Mohammed's determination to chart a foreign policy independent of U.S. influence, "in a break from almost 80 years of American-Saudi partnership."
The prince runs the Saudi kingdom's day-to-day operations for his father, King Salman.
In August, the Saudis had reportedly planned to push OPEC+ to raise oil production by 500,000 barrels a day.
Instead, Prince Mohammed ordered the increase lowered to a token 100,000 barrels after Biden's visit, the people inside the Saudi government told the Journal.
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