US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The US-Saudi alliance, dubbed the “Catholic Marriage,” has been over 75 years old, but is currently in particularly difficult times — members of Congress have accused the kingdom of engaging in an economic war against the United States.
In March of this year, Saudi Arabia decided to increase oil production to 13 million barrels, which led to a collapse in prices against the backdrop of general economic paralysis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Oil consumption declined significantly, and an overabundance of this product was formed on the market.
The current drop in oil prices has been the worst blow to the oil sector in the United States throughout its history, as hundreds of companies are now unable to produce oil – the cost of extracting American oil is very high compared to the Saudi alternative.
Thus, the millions of jobs that US President Donald Trump was so proud of began to disappear at an unprecedented rate, until the media announced the plans of hundreds of companies operating in the oil sector to declare collective bankruptcy.
Americans believe Saudi Arabia is responsible for the collapse in oil prices, because it happened after Riyadh flooded their market with millions of barrels of oil, despite the decline in demand against the backdrop of a pandemic.
On April 17, the Wall Street Journal reported that 50 million barrels of Saudi oil were to be delivered to America, which would put a lot of pressure on the local market.
“Saudis and Russians are fighting a war against US energy companies,” said Kyle Bass, director and founder of Hayman Capital Management.
He added: “The storage facilities are full. We have a record surplus of oil in history, and the Saudis send us an oil bomb in the form of 50 million barrels. How much will this lower oil prices in June? ”
“My message to the Saudis: turn your tankers to hell,” US Senator Ted Cruz wrote on his Twitter account on April 22.
According to Cruise, the amount of Saudi oil coming to America is seven times the amount of oil arriving there every month, and as a result, millions of jobs in the United States are at risk.
Therefore, the US administration is considering the possibility of preventing the supply of Saudi oil to the United States or imposing additional duties, which represents serious pressure on the energy sector of Saudi Arabia.
Congress Unites Against Saudi Arabia
Last month, a number of leading allies of the kingdom in Congress told Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Washington Rome Bint Bandar that relations between the two countries will change and they will take harsh measures against Riyadh due to the oil flood.
According to Ted Cruz, the ambassador defended his country, blaming Russia for everything, to which she was told that Russia is not at all a friend of the United States, while Saudi Arabia is. He said: “You are not behaving like our friends at all, as you are trying to destroy thousands of small businesses in Texas and across the country.”
Most of the US oil industry is concentrated in the states of Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana, which are represented by members of the Republican Party, including Ted Cruise, one of Trump’s leading allies.
Saudi relations with the Republican Party, which dominates the Senate, are now critically tense due to the so-called economic war of the Saudis with America.
As for her relationship with the Democratic Party, which has a majority in the House of Representatives, they are also going through hard times due to the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the rapprochement between Crown Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman and Trump.
Democrats have repeatedly tried to punish Saudi Arabia for violating human rights and continuing the war in Yemen, but these attempts have always met with opposition from the Republican Party, historically known for its support for the kingdom.
On April 23, North Dakota Republican Senator Kevin Kramer said: “It was difficult for me to explain to voters why we are wasting our money and risking our lives to protect Saudi Arabia, which is so costing us now. Protecting the Saudis has become extremely difficult. ”
Is the Saudi Alliance Expected to Crash?
As many American experts believe, the historic alliance formed by former US President Franklin Roosevelt and the founder of the Saudi state, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in 1945, is on the verge of collapse.
According to the American journal Foreign Policy, the foundation of this alliance was oil supplies to the USA in exchange for Riyadh’s security guarantees.
Currently, this formula does not work, since Washington does not, as in the past, depend on Saudi oil. On the contrary, he wants to get rid of it or introduce duties and thereby protect his companies, and therefore there is no need to take on obligations and guarantee the kingdom security.
“The only thing that connects Saudi Arabia to the United States right now is Trump,” said analyst Bruce Riddle, who has been with the CIA for 30 years.
According to the publication, Trump may leave the White House at the end of this year if Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins in the presidential election scheduled for November.
Can the current crisis be overcome?
In the past, Saudi Arabia has already used its oil weapons against the United States. This happened, in particular, in 1973, when the late king Faisal ibn Abdul-Aziz imposed a ban on oil exports in solidarity with Egypt in the war for the liberation of Sinai from Israel.
At that time, Henry Kissinger, who was a national security adviser in the White House, was considering starting a military action against Saudi Arabia, but in the end the countries were able to resolve the conflict because Washington needed Saudi oil.
According to the magazine Foreign Policy, this crisis has created in the minds of Americans the idea that Saudi Arabia is not a reliable partner.
In 1979, the Islamic revolution overthrew the Iranian Shah Reza Pahlavi, and Iran turned into an enemy of the United States, and Saudi Arabia decided to bet on strengthening strategic relations with the Americans as a partner in the fight against Iranians.
At that time, US President Jimmy Carter announced that the issue of ensuring the security of oil supplies in the Persian Gulf and, in particular, the supply of Saudi Arabia is in the center of attention of the country’s foreign policy in this region.
The destruction of Iran’s oil industry as a result of US sanctions has given Saudi Arabia more weight in the global oil market.
On September 11, 2001, after terrorist attacks in the United States involving Saudi citizens, the public in the United States mobilized against the kingdom, which the latter obviously did not like.
The consequences of this crisis are felt to this day after Congress unanimously passed a law allowing lawsuits against the Saudi authorities to demand compensation for the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
When the Arab revolutions began, the position of the American administration regarding the overthrow of the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, became the cause of deep discontent of Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, the United States welcomed the rise to power of Mohammed Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, Which Saudi Arabia considers terrorist.
When the well-known events took place in Syria, the Barack Obama administration called for an end to the violence and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, but this did not give the kingdom any dividends in the Syrian conflict, which, according to Foreign Policy, the Saudis considered the main threat to their security.
At the same time, the latter were extremely dissatisfied with the decision of the American administration to approve the appointment of Nouri al-Maliki, one of Iran’s allies, as head of the Iraqi government.
The Saudis felt even more disappointed when the Obama administration signed a nuclear agreement with Iran that allowed Tehran to gain access to frozen assets in US banks worth billions of dollars. According to Saudi Arabia, this money was planned to be used to implement subversive activities in the region.
Foreign Policy quoted a former US official from the Obama administration saying that Saudi Arabia’s concern is not related to the Iranian nuclear deal. In fact, she wanted the Americans to pressure Tehran to adjust its policies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, but Washington did not.
After assuming the presidency of the United States in 2017, Donald Trump promised to adhere to a tough policy with regard to Iran, to cancel the nuclear deal and introduce more stringent sanctions.
With the coming to power of Crown Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman, Saudi Arabia began to build strong relations with the Trump administration, in particular, through the son-in-law of President Jared Kushner.
However, when the Iranians attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region in the summer of 2019, Trump responded that Japan and South Korea defend their ships themselves.
In the fall of the same year, key Saudi oil facilities were attacked, which Iran reportedly did, putting nearly 5% of global oil production at risk. The United States response was that Trump tweeted the attack and then demanded that Saudi Arabia pay Washington in exchange for defending its security.
Ultimately, experts believe that US-Saudi relations, as always, will overcome current difficulties, as Washington needs a large, rich and hostile country to Iran, which serves the interests of the United States in the Middle East.
In this context, Bilal Saab, a Middle East Institute expert and a former Middle East adviser at the US Department of Defense noted: “It is very difficult to imagine a breakdown in relations between the two countries.”
Riddle, meanwhile, states: “This time, the Saudis are no longer needed. The current crisis is taking place in a completely different geopolitical environment than past conflicts. ”
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