After months of seeking to appease Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler, Mohammed Bin Salman, the Biden administration has concluded that it needs to “re-evaluate” its relationship with the Kingdom following the announcement that the Saudis and the rest of the OPEC+ oil cartel will cut oil production by two million barrels per day. The production cut will drive up the cost of fuel just weeks before next month’s midterm elections, and critics have characterized the move as effectively constituting election interference. While Saudi Arabia is free to pursue its own interests in hiking oil prices, this sudden and drastic cut does not reflect the behavior the United States can reasonably expect from a partner, especially one that relies so heavily on the U.S. for security assistance and protection. What can and should the United States do to rebalance the relationship with Saudi Arabia? Should it continue to provide security to Riyadh? Should the U.S. continue to support Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen or should the U.S. bring its troops home from Saudi? Please join us in addressing these questions in a conversation with U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Bruce Riedel, and Research Fellow for the Middle East at the Quincy Institute, Annelle Sheline. Trita Parsi, Quincy Institute Executive Vice President, will moderate the conversation.
Representative Ro Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving his third term. Rep. Khanna sits on the House Committees on Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform, where he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee. Additionally, Rep. Khanna is the Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; serves as an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus and is the Democratic Vice Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans. Rep. Khanna is committed to advancing a foreign policy of military restraint and diplomatic engagement. Instead of spending trillions on wars overseas, Rep. Khanna believes we should invest in priorities at home like Medicare for All, Debt Free College, and a new 21st Century infrastructure.
Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and an instructor at Washington College. He served thirty years in the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in the Middle East and Europe as well as eight years in the National Security Council at the White House for four Presidents. A graduate of Brown, Harvard and the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, he is the author of eight books. His most recent book is Jordan and America: An Enduring Friendship, which was published in September 2021.
Annelle Sheline, PhD, is the Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. Sheline is completing a book manuscript on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. Her non-academic writing has appeared in The Nation, Politico, and Foreign Policy. She earned her PhD in political science from George Washington University and is a non-resident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Trita Parsi, PhD, is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He has authored three books on US foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and Israel. He is the co-founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. He received his PhD in foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies, a Master's Degree in International Relations from Uppsala University, and a Master's Degree in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.