Saudi and UAE leaders ignore Biden’s phone calls amid fears of oil price hike: Report

Riyadh — Leaders of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates ignored phone calls with US President Joe Biden when he called to talk about the surge in oil prices in the midst of Russia-Ukraine war, according to a report published by Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen,” a U.S. official told WSJ. “It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil]”.

It further stated that, Riyadh has signaled that its relationship with Washington has deteriorated due to Biden administration’s wrong policies towards the Gulf region. 

UAE also stands by the Saudi concerns about the restrained U.S. response to the recent missile strikes by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen against the interests of UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, both the monarchies are concerned about the revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which doesn’t address their security concerns, and has entered into the final states of negotiations in the recent weeks.

However, Biden is running after the two gulf allies to repair the relations as the oil prices surge over $130 per barrel, which is for the first time in the 14 years. Saudi Arabia and UAE are the two key oil producers in the region that can pump millions of more barrels of more oil if they wish to, so that the crude market prices can calm down.

The National Security Council’s Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk, and the State Department’s Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein, both traveled to Saudi Arabia in February to mend the ties with the Kingdom. Later, McGurk met with Sheikh Mohammed in Abu Dhabi in a bid to address UAE’s anger over the U.S. response to the Houthi attacks.

A U.S. official said, “the Biden administration has worked diligently to strengthen Saudi and Emirati missile defenses, and that America would be doing more in the coming months to help the two Gulf nations protect themselves. However, it may not be everything the two countries want, but U.S. is trying hard to address their security concerns”.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and UAE have declined to pump more oil, while sticking to the production plan approved among the members of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The energy alliance with Russia has enhanced OPEC’s power and also brought the two gulf monarchies closer to Moscow.

Saudi Arabia and UAE started keeping away from United States after Biden publicly reprimanded Saudi Arabia’s legitimate action in aiding Yemen’s sovereignty against Iran-backed Houthi terrorism.

Biden also reversed the move taken by his predecessor Mr. Donald Trump, that put the Houthis on the America’s official list of global terrorists. Due to which, the efforts to broker a cease-fire deal between Yemeni forces and the Houthis were ruined.

UAE ambassador to United States Yousef Al-Otaiba said last week, that the relations between the two countries were strained. He said, “It is like any relationship. It has strong days where the relationship is very healthy and days where the relationship is under question. Today, we’re going through a stress test, but I am confident that we will get out of it and get to a better place”.

On the other hand, when Saudi Crown Prince was asked by The Atlantic magazine whether Biden misunderstood him or not. Prince responded, “Simply, I do not care”.