It would appear that Saudi Arabia is enjoying its pound of flesh of revenge over Joe Biden as it has been revealed just recently that a token offer from the Crown Prince to Biden to increase production – made in July – to help the US president during the mid terms, was, in fact, a bare faced lie.
The so-called ‘secret deal’ which Biden thought he had secured in May was actually worthless due to the Saudis wanting to carry out an act of revenge against Biden and his stupid, empty threats.
Biden was quoted, while campaigning for president in 2019, as saying that he would treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” and would make them “pay the price” for the assassination of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. More recently though he has come under fire from his own supporters who have criticised Biden for reaching out to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. They argued that Biden’s decision to meet with MbS was the latest example of “sacrificing principles for political expediency – and having little to show for it.”.
And yet, in reality, Biden got hit from both sides – from his own people for the embarrassing u-turn which resulted in the trip to Saudi Arabia in July as well as the flack from his own people.
Even during the visit, the Saudis let Biden believe they were going to increase production just to help Biden, which was supposed to kick off in September. Any delusional ideas that Biden might have held that there was a delay to this decision were shattered just recently when OPEC Plus announced plans to cut production by two million barrels a day, resulting in exactly the opposite of what Biden was planning. In reality, the OPEC move, perhaps influenced by Russia, would keep pump prices high and threaten to remove the power the democrats have in Congress – which would effectively remove a great deal of the power that Biden has as president.
The Saudis must have sensed that such a move to destabilise Biden would also have some support from other regional powers who not only benefit from oil being at around 90 USD a barrel but also paving the way for Donald Trump to return to the Oval Office.
And yet, it is not only Russia and the GCC oil rich countries which have an agenda towards Biden.
The spiteful act by the Saudis to cheat Biden has hurt him on many levels and sends a signal to the world in general that America is no longer the super power that it once was and is losing on a daily basis its edge.
For the countries of the MENA region, the move by OPEC has a double edge. Many of them depend on oil from the GCC region and are suffering by high prices and so don’t necessarily welcome the ruse. However, it has focused the minds of some that there is little if any value in supporting the Biden administration’s demands for sanctions against Russia to be supported unequivocally and that given the economic dire straights, going it alone is the only recourse.
Can it be a coincidence that only a matter of days after OPEC Plus made the announcement to cut oil production, keeping pump prices high, that Morocco announces that it is signing deals with Russia for the latter to build nuclear power plants and water desalination plants? Morocco has always been a great friend and stoic supporter of America and yet something in the heads of the elite in Rabat snapped. Morocco reached a breaking point where the increasing poverty of its own people became an overarching priority over respecting the foibles and insecurities of the Biden administration who actually believed that they could force secondary sanctions on at least the Global South if they couldn’t reign in the oil rich countries of the middle east with such folly.
In reality, it is African countries who will surely follow the example of Morocco and turn the page on their relations with Washington, as they are doing at a rapid rate with the EU. African countries, in particular those which are French speaking, will see the move by Morocco as an example and will surely follow and trade more with Russia seeing no sense whatsoever in risking political instability via remaining the proteges of Uncle Sam. The old, tired idea that ‘aid-n-trade’ from the US is worth too much for African countries just isn’t enough when China emerges as the biggest investor in Africa and most leaders in the continent know that no US administration will support them if they face a coup d’etat. In many ways Biden is in a quandary in Africa in that if regimes fall, or come close to it, they will turn to Russia anyway to help them retain power, which there is already the example of Mali. And so, Biden cannot push these regimes. He simply doesn’t have neither the carrot to dangle nor the stick to wield against them. Only words. And yet, when those words are so self-indulgent, clumsy and misplaced – in the case of the Saudis, for example – we can see that Biden is not even able to be trusted with this ‘soft power’ mantra which was actually created for him by Obama anyway. When you pour water into cheap whisky, all that happens is it becomes even poorer. Biden has been reported to be talking about retaliation to the Saudis which will no doubt come in the form of blocking arms sales. Again, he is out of touch by about 30 years as the two key components of the West’s relations with Riyad – energy security coupled with defence procurement – has been recalibrated to the West’s dependency on oil only.