Co-authored by Khalid al-Jabri
As the United States and its allies stand united against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Saudi Arabia is siding with Russia. By failing to publicly condemn the invasion and reiterating its commitment to the OPEC+ agreement, the Saudi government exposed cracks in its long-standing partnership with the United States.
Despite entreaties to raise oil production, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly declined to speak with U.S. President Joe Biden a week after speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin. By refusing to compensate for Russian oil, the crown prince is facilitating Putin’s aggression by allowing him to weaponize energy in the face of sanctions imposed by the international community and hold energy-dependent European countries hostage to Russian oil and gas.
On Monday, the Saudi government still refused to condemn Russian actions: Instead, the Saudi foreign minister spoke with his Russian counterpart, affirming the countries’ bilateral relations and “ways to strengthen and consolidate them.”
Saudi unwillingness to raise oil output in response to Biden’s request represents the latest sign of shifting loyalties.
Despite Saudi intransigence, the Biden administration recently sent additional Patriot anti-missile systems to the kingdom as Houthi attacks hit Saudi water and energy facilities. In a declaration of their need for U.S. protection, the Saudis issued a statement denying responsibility for any oil supply shortages caused by these attacks; Washington sent the defenses without any reported guarantees that Riyadh would raise production, a commitment by ARAMCO to increase investment notwithstanding.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.