IntelBrief by The Soufan Center – All links to Gospa News articles have been added aftermath for an in-depth analysis of the topics mentioned

– The October 5 announcement by major global oil producers of a 2 million barrels per day production cut, double what U.S. leaders expected, has revived tensions between U.S. leaders and Saudi heir apparent Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

– The production cut agreed upon by OPEC+, a grouping that joins Saudi-dominated OPEC with Russia and smaller non-OPEC producers, signals Saudi unwillingness to sanction Russia for invading Ukraine.

– The production cut calls into question the effectiveness of the U.S. decision to engage MBS directly, including through the July 2022 presidential visit to the Kingdom.

– MBS’s most recent demonstration of his ability to frustrate U.S. policy comes just ten days after he was elevated to the post of prime minister, further shoring up his grip on power in the Kingdom.

On October 5, OPEC+, an alliance between the longstanding Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel and ten other oil exporters led by Russia, announced a production cut of 2 million barrels per day (bpd), as of November.

The cut was approximately double the 1 million BPD that global oil market experts said they expected. Oil ministers of the 20-country alliance – ten OPEC countries and ten non-OPEC exporters – stated that the large cut was needed to better align supply with reduced demand as growth slows in major industrialized economies. Many central banks are tightening financial conditions to address elevated levels of inflation – a monetary policy cycle that could precipitate recessions in European countries as well as the United States.

The announcement reduces the daily oil production quotas for both Russia and Saudi Arabia by 526,000 bpd each. However, because European sanctions on Russia for its Ukraine invasion have already reduced Russian oil exports, in practice only Saudi Arabia will be reducing production by that large a figure. Saudi officials add that the Kingdom’s acceptance of a large production cut will also help rebuild substantial Saudi spare production capacity.

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Quota cuts for several other major exporters in the Persian Gulf region, including Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were substantial, but still far less than the cut adopted by Saudi Arabia. Yet, some oil experts indicated that, because many of the OPEC+ members are already producing below their allotted quotas, the actual reduction in oil exports on global markets will, in fact, come close to the 1 million BPD that the U.S. and other leaders had expected.

Even if the actual reduction in oil exports turns out to be far lower than the announced figure, the damage to U.S. relations with leaders of some of the oil exporters in the grouping, particularly Saudi Arabia, is likely to be substantial. U.S. officials denounced the OPEC+ decision as “shortsighted” – reflecting concerns that the production cut could increase world oil prices and complicate U.S. and allied efforts to tackle inflation.

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This is of particular concern for the Biden administration as the production cuts will raise gas prices in the U.S. going into the midterm elections. Although official U.S. reactions did not single out any leaders by name, it was clear from press reports that U.S. officials were particularly frustrated with MBS. The de-facto Saudi leader, who was elevated by his father in late September to the post of prime minister – formal head of government – clearly cooperated with the Kremlin in deciding on the larger-than-expected production cut. Putin has been a U.S. adversary, particularly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, and he has weaponized Russian energy exports to pressure the United States and its NATO allies to reduce their military support for Ukraine.

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MBS’ Saudi Arabia, by contrast, is a longstanding and close regional partner of the United States. Despite MBS’ role in the October 2018 killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a widely criticized Saudi-UAE military intervention in Yemen, President Biden has sought to engage the young leader directly, particularly by making a high-profile visit to the Kingdom in July. The OPEC+ production cut is likely to revive the tensions between MBS and U.S. leaders which President Biden’s visit had sought to ease.

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MBS’ role in the OPEC+ production cut raised questions about whether U.S. leaders would continue to engage with MBS or return to a critical stance, even though MBS is now almost certain to ascend to the Saudi throne after his father hands over power. Some U.S. leaders immediately commented on possible options to counter MBS’ apparent support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi leader’s perceived gloating about his ability to repeatedly contradict U.S. policy with seeming impunity. Some in the U.S. Congress say they might revive draft legislation to penalize officials of OPEC member states as organizers of a cartel – defined as a group that colludes to control the supply of a good or service.

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Others sought to target MBS and Saudi Arabia more directly, despite the longstanding U.S.-Saudi partnership that U.S leaders have consistently argued serves U.S. national security interests. One suggestion offered by experts and some elected U.S. officials could be to cut off the Kingdom from new sales of sophisticated U.S. weaponry, such as combat aircraft. However, most U.S. officials contend that limiting arms sales would harm the U.S. strategy of empowering the Kingdom and other regional states to counter the emerging missile and armed drone threats from Iran, without direct U.S. involvement.

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Although no U.S. option to retaliate against MBS is cost-free, it is certain that MBS’ engagement with Putin’s regime to limit oil production at a crucial time for Western economies will energize prominent critics of U.S. relations with MBS and the Kingdom more broadly.

Originally published by The Soufan Center


ABOUT TSC

The Soufan Center (TSC) is an independent non-profit organization offering research, analysis, and strategic dialogue on global security challenges and foreign policy issues, with a particular focus on counterterrorism, violent extremism, armed conflict, and the rule of law. Our work is underpinned by a recognition that human rights and human security perspectives are critical to developing credible, effective, and sustainable solutions. TSC fills a niche role by producing objective and innovative reports and analyses, and fostering dynamic dialogue and exchanges, to effectively equip governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society with key resources to inform policies and practice.

SOURCEGospa News

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The Boden administration have been really succesful in making Saudi Arabaia a pariah State! One wonders who will be in he´s seat after the next election with so many vassalitude from the saudi´s.

    • You’re kidding. Right? The only thing the US accomplished was drive SA into BRICs. The only ones who believe that Bidan accomplished anything are those deluded morons who fly those stupid Blue and Gold flags on their Twitter account and actually believe that Ukraine is winning the war.

  2. It’s the repeat of the 1973 oil crisis with Mohammad Reza Shah incrementally increasing the price of oil until 1979 when bin Abdulaziz Al Saud flooded the market with oil to bankrupt Iran.

    This time the kid Salman is trying to show that he’s still relevant. But the orders of Iran and Russia to cut the production to teach Europe a lesson has bigger consequences for the tent dwellers of the Arabian peninsula and their peddler in Mar-a-Lago.

  3. No matter who is president, the USA is powerless when it comes to Saudi Arabia. If things get too hot for them they will just spill the beans publicly about how Israel nuked the USA on 9/11 and got away with it. It’s only stupid Americans who were taken in by that horrible false-flag attack.

    • What are you saying man? There is a peace of news right in this platform accusing the saudi´s for that false flag!

    • Saudi Arabia knows full well that Osama bin Laden had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, that Mossad and traitorous US sayanim like f-ing Larry Silverstein pulled it off using stolen US mini nukes. They’ve accepted being blamed for 9/11 as long as the USA doesn’t go after them for their other crimes. Biden knows this, Putin knows this, and most Americans with half a brain know this as well.

    • Romo. Are you referring to that “missing 28 pages” of total BS? Just more fuel on the patsy fire by our “friends” the Israelis. Like Tommy says. All the evidence points to the Israelis and their Sayanim which includes those dual Israel First / American traitors the Neocons.

  4. Obviously, some don’t t want us to read this article, I wonder who that may be! Is everyone else on this site getting the scrambled screens?

    • Same here. That stupid book being promoted by the reTarDS “Divider” keeps covering up the text🤣 However I got the gist of the article. MBS basically told “Biden” to go pound sand which of course will affect the midterms when gas prices sky rocket. Understandable since it was factions within the Democratic party who tried to assassinate him in Vegas back in 17; Personally I don’t understand all the pining and whining about Koshaggi who was a total 🤡 ass et like his uncle who was behind Iran Contra and BCCI to name a few scandals yet has been elevated to some kind of martyr here. MBS like Trump has an aversion to Satanic Adrenochrome swilling pedophiles which is why he busted much of SA’s royalty which includes Joe Biden and his son Hunter. As they say revenge is a dish best served cold.

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