Biden reconsiders Saudi relationship amid deepening energy crisis: report

Biden reconsiders Saudi relationship amid deepening energy crisis: report
When elected, Joe Biden said he would turn autocratic Saudi Arabia into a 'pariah' state. However, the global energy crisis has forced Biden to focus on building a relationship with Riyadh - the world's biggest oil exporter.
2 min read
05 June, 2022
Biden has been forced closer to Saudi Arabia amid a deepening energy crisis [Getty]

Skyrocketing oil prices have forced US President Joe Biden to build a relationship with Saudi Arabia despite previous criticism of the kingdom, according to the Financial Times. 

As a candidate, Biden had promised to turn the Gulf kingdom into a ‘pariah’ state after Saudi officials, including Crown Prince and de facto leader Mohammad bin Salman, were accused of being involved in the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Ties between the two countries were also strained because of Biden’s perceived failure to support Riyadh in the Yemen war. 

However, the global energy crisis, compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has forced Biden to reconsider his options with the world's top oil exporter. 

Biden is now expected to meet bin Salman during a visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia that was originally slated for later this month. The trip has reportedly been postponed until July and the White House is reportedly planning a broader trip to the region at that time.

Earlier this week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) bowed to international pressure and agreed to raise their oil output by 50 percent to help moderate prices and oil supply following the disruption caused by the Ukraine war. Biden’s visit is expected to request more oil from Saudi Arabia, and ensure Riyadh’s support against China and Russia. 

Riyadh, on the other hand, will be looking for concrete promises from the US president for closer defence ties, including equipment, to protect the kingdom from Iran or its proxies.