HNewsWire- To begin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has refrained from condemning Russia's incursion into Ukraine. Then India followed suit – as the Modi administration sought to strike a balance between its historic connections to Moscow and its strategic cooperation with the United States.
Biden with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
According to the Wall Street Journal, Saudi and UAE leaders are now refusing to take Biden's calls as the US president attempts to contain surging oil prices. The Persian Gulf monarchies have signaled "they will not help ease surging oil prices unless Washington supports them in Yemen and elsewhere."
"There was some anticipation of a phone call, but it did not occur," a US source said of Biden's scheduled meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "It was part of the process of reactivating the spigot [of Saudi oil]."
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia
According to Middle East and US sources, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates also ghosted Biden in recent weeks.
Nevertheless, the WSJ reports that both Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammed accepted phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin after rejecting to talk with Biden. Additionally, they spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Biden was able to reach Prince Mohammed's 86-year-old father on Feb. 9, but the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the conversation between Mr. Biden and Sheikh Mohammed would have to be rescheduled, according to the story.
What benefit do they get from it?
As the Journal points out, "Saudi officials indicated that their relationship with Washington has deteriorated under the Biden administration and that they want increased support for their intervention in Yemen's civil war, assistance with their own civilian nuclear program as Iran advances, and legal immunity for Prince Mohammed in the United States, according to Saudi officials. Multiple cases against the crown prince are pending in the United States, including one for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018."
That is the request.
Meanwhile, the Emiratis share Saudi worries over the US's insufficient participation in response to recent missile attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia by Iran-backed Houthi insurgents in Yemen. The two kingdoms are also anxious about the possibility of reviving the Iran nuclear agreement, which is in the 'final stages of discussions' but provides little to address their security concerns.
Thus, while the west has maintained that Russia is isolated - and make no mistake, these sanctions will be immediately crippling - when one considers the population and resources that originate in China, India, Brazil, and the Middle Eastern kingdoms, roughly half of the world's population and those that control the majority of the world's commodities are opposed to punishing Putin or easing the situation to the west's benefit.
And, as the Journal notes, "Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the only two major oil producers with the ability to pump millions of additional barrels of oil—capacity that, if deployed, might help calm the crude market at a time when gasoline prices in the United States are skyrocketing."
Is this a case of too little, too late?
Late last month, Brett McGurk, the National Security Council's Middle East coordinator, and Amos Hochstein, the State Department's energy envoy, traveled to Riyadh to attempt to mend fences – while McGurk also met with Sheikh Mohammed in Abu Dhabi to hear their frustrations with America's response to Houthi attacks.
Clearly, diplomacy failed.
The Saudis and Emiratis have so far refrained from increasing oil output, sticking to the already agreed OPEC production schedule. Additionally, their energy partnership with Russia, another major oil producer, expanded OPEC's global reach while moving the Kingdoms closer to Moscow.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates developed close ties with former President Donald Trump, who sided with them in a regional dispute with Qatar, pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, which they opposed, paid his first foreign visit to Riyadh in 2017, and stood by Prince Mohammed following Mr. Khashoggi's assassination. However, Mr. Trump's refusal to react to an Iranian drone and missile strike on critical Saudi oil assets in 2019 alarmed Gulf allies who have depended on the US security guarantee for decades. Iran denies participation in the strikes on the oil facilities.
Mr. Biden's feud with Saudi Arabia's crown prince dates all the way back to the 2020 presidential race, when the Democratic contender pledged to treat the country as a "pariah" state after the murder of Mr. Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul in 2018. -WSJ
Biden also published an intelligence assessment soon after assuming office concluding that Prince Mohammed sanctioned the 2018 Istanbul murder of WaPo writer Jamal Khashoggi – despite the fact that close associates have been convicted in Saudi court for the journalist's killing.
Additionally, the US president chastised Saudi Arabia for its protracted conflict in Yemen and cut off arms used by the Saudis to fight Houthis. Biden also withdrew the Houthis off a list of global terrorist organizations, which had been introduced by previous President Trump.
And on Monday (after Biden's ghosting), White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki acknowledged that Biden maintained his position that the Saudis should be viewed as "pariahs" and that their leadership had 'little redeeming social value.'
When questioned whether Biden misinterpreted him in a recent interview with the Atlantic magazine, Prince Mohammed said, "Simply, I don't care," adding that the US president should not have alienated Saudi authorities. "It is up to him to consider America's interests," he added, adding, "Go for it."
Therefore, maybe refrain from referring to the nation that might rescue you from an energy crisis as a "pariah" if you might want their aid.
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