(breitbart) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered a drop in oil production increases after leftist American President Joe Biden met with him in Riyadh this summer, the Wall Street Journal claimed in a report citing anonymous rumors on Tuesday.
The meeting between bin Salman, commonly referred to as MBS, and Biden has been colloquially dubbed the “fist-bump summit” after a bizarre photo emerged of the two leaders smiling and bumping fists. The photo was taken as a sign that Biden had abandoned his campaign promise to turn Saudi Arabia, a longtime American ally in the Middle East, into a “pariah” state in response to the gruesome 2018 killing of Islamist Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Most reports citing White House insiders indicated that the objective of the Biden visit was to convince Saudi leaders to increase oil supplies in order to lower prices. Biden himself, in a Washington Post article, denied that this was the case, but did not identify any other concrete objectives. Biden has refused to contemplate the possibility of increasing American oil production to drop prices.
Biden has significantly damaged relations with Riyadh since taking over the presidency, almost immediately deteriorating the relationship by making one of his first acts in office delisting the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency in Yemen as a terrorist organization. The Houthis – whose official slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse The Jews, Victory To Islam” – have expanded the scope of the Yemeni civil war by bombing targets in Saudi Arabia, presenting a particular threat to Saudi oil facilities.
Biden has also alienated Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations with repeated, and failed, attempts to restore former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which resulted in windfall profits for the rogue Islamist government pouring into terrorist groups such as the Houthis and members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
Saudi impatience with the Biden administration came to a climax last week when the Saudi-led OPEC oil cartel and Russia agreed to a 2-million-barrel-a-day cut in oil production, likely to result in far higher gasoline and other oil fuel prices in the United States immediately before the midterm elections.
According to the Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the talks,” the OPEC+ production cut followed desperate pleas from the Biden White House to delay any production cuts for another month, which would result in price hikes occurring after the midterm elections.
“Saudi officials dismissed the requests” with “a resounding no,” according to the newspaper, in part because “they viewed [the request] as a political gambit by the Biden administration to avoid bad news ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.”
The Wall Street Journal further claimed that MBS himself has lost patience with Biden and was “angered” by his attitude during the Riyadh visit in July – so much so that he lowered a proposed increase in oil production in August after Biden urged the country to encourage OPEC to pump more oil.
The newspaper cited sources “inside the Saudi government” for its claim that MBS was annoyed by Biden.
“If anything, said the people inside the Saudi government, the visit angered Prince Mohammed, who was upset that Mr. Biden went public with his private comments to the Saudi royal over Mr. Khashoggi’s death,” the Wall Street Journal reported, “which prompted Saudi officials to publicly contradict Mr. Biden’s characterization of their interaction.”
“In August, the Saudis had planned to push OPEC+ to raise oil production by 500,000 barrels a day in an effort to please Mr. Biden,” the newspaper continued, “but Prince Mohammed ordered the increase lowered to a token 100,000 barrels a day after the Biden visit, the people inside the Saudi government said.”
An outraged Biden administration reportedly responded to that move by badgering the Saudis even more, allegedly cementing Riyadh’s “resolve” not to help.
Publicly, the Biden administration has responded to the historic 2-million-barrel-a-day cut by accusing Saudi Arabia of siding with Russia in the eight-year-old war against Ukraine.
“Look, it’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed last week when the announcement surfaced.
White House spokesman John Kirby said on CNN Tuesday that Biden was considering a complete “reevaluation” of diplomatic ties to Saudi Arabia.
“He’s willing to work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward. I don’t have any decisions to announce or speak to today,” Kirby said, “But I think you’ll find that the president obviously disappointed by the OPEC decision and is going to be willing to work with Congress as we think about what the right relationship with Saudi Arabia needs to be going forward.”
Saudi Arabia has greatly increased purchases of Russian oil since sanctions on Russia’s fossil fuel industry were imposed in the first half of the year, but it has taken a neutral stance on the war. Last month, MBS took credit for a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia that resulted in the release of 215 Ukrainians, ten foreigners (including Americans) who were fighting for Ukraine, and 56 Russians. Both Ukraine and Russia thanked Saudi Arabia for its involvement.