Biden’s Frigid Interactions with Saudi Arabia Loom Large

Less than two years into his presidency, Joe Biden’s efforts to cooperate with the Saudi Royal Family to raise world oil production are rejected. 

The Saudi Foreign Ministry stated Monday the weekend strikes by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Saudi oil manufacturing plants would prevent the country from achieving its production schedule obligations for an unknown period. 

While in Europe, Biden will visit Poland. The Saudi declaration emerges as the Biden presidency frequently urged Riyadh to increase oil output to secure global supply, following Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Briefings on a “variety of concerns,” including global energy supply, were given in Saudi Arabia just before the Ukraine war. 

The Importance of Friendly Relations

In March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged Biden had spoken with Saudi King Salman about increasing oil output if Russia stopped selling to Europe.

The White House has no evidence any of the talks resulted in Saudi Arabia’s increasing oil output. 

A recent report suggests Saudi Arabia may take the Chinese yuan as an exchange for its oil, devaluing the dollar dramatically. 

Many questioned why Biden approved the shipment of a “substantial” number of patriot interceptor missiles to Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

According to the Biden administration, the weapons will assist Saudi Arabia in preventing further rebel attacks on its energy infrastructure.

Regardless of the administration’s efforts to sweeten the deal, former Trump aide Fred Fleitz told the Washington Examiner he thinks the Saudis will reject the Biden administration’s oil offers. 

“The Saudis are reassessing their ties with the US and contemplating China,” he added. “Biden and his national security staff have made another catastrophic foreign policy error.” 

Communication with Saudi Arabia’s prince and shadow regent, Mohammed bin Salman, proved moderately successful for the Trump administration, particularly with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser.

In a series of reconciliation agreements struck by the Trump administration with Israel and a handful of majority-Muslim countries, the Saudis were a significant player. 

Flaws of Biden’s Presidency

Immediately after taking office in 2021, Biden stated his desire to reboot US-Saudi relations.

Also, Biden declared publicly he would interact directly with the king and not the crown prince.

He did not sanction the crown prince over the disappearance and death of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, despite intelligence indicating he was intimately involved. 

The crown prince has openly slammed the Biden presidency.  “Simply, I don’t care,” he told the Atlantic of Biden’s thoughts on him. “He must consider America’s interests.” 

The crown prince reportedly refused to meet with Biden to negotiate energy security over the last week, while the White House refuted the accusations. 

“Let me start with that report’s inaccuracy. A few weeks ago, the president spoke with the Saudi king,” Psaki said on March 10. “There were no missed calls.” 

On the economy and national security, she added, “the president’s attention is really on our partnership moving ahead. He hopes it continues.”