Biden Shuffles off to Middle East Tuesday to Beg Saudis for More Oil Production

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

President Biden jets off to the Middle East Tuesday night, first stopping in Israel before heading to Saudia Arabia, the country which he called a “pariah” and whose government he claimed had “very little social redeeming value.” On the campaign trail in October 2020 he said:


Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will reassess our relationship with the Kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.

Now that America is in a gas price crisis, however, Biden seems to have no problem “checking his values at the door.”

Question: instead of begging OPEC for more production, how about we go back to pumping our own oil? Just a thought.

There are several topics expected to be addressed in his visits to Jerusalem and Jeddah, among them Israeli-Arab relations, the Iran nuclear deal, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and human rights. No significant progress is expected on any of these issues though because Isreal has a brand new prime minister, Yair Lapid, who the AP calls “a caretaker prime minister serving while Israel braces for another round of elections later this year.” He’s not likely to have the power to get much done. As for the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran is showing little interest in renegotiating the pact that former President Trump nuked in 2018.

So why is Biden making this trip? One word: oil.


National Security advisor Jake Sullivan gave the game away at a Monday press conference:

We will convey our general view…that we believe that there needs to be adequate supply in the global market to protect the global economy and to protect the American consumer at the pump.

In other words, Joe’s going to beg the Saudis to pump, baby, pump to lower gas prices and give the Dems a fighting chance to save the midterms.

Biden is expected to meet with the man he once denounced, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who US intelligence found to be behind the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The President laughably explained that somehow it’s ok because he won’t be meeting “MBS” one on one, it will be part of a larger meeting. He said in June to reporters:

I’m not going to meet with MBS. I’m going to an international meeting, and he’s going to be part of it.

Wait, you’re going to be in a meeting with him but you’re not going to meet him? Reminds me of the old Bill Clinton classic, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Interestingly, Biden wrote a defensive op-ed Saturday explaining this trip, and it appeared in none other than the pages of Khashoggi’s former employer, the Washington Post.


Biden is aware that many are critical of his decision to visit the Saudis. He notes in his op-ed:

I know that there are many who disagree with my decision to travel to Saudi Arabia. My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad, as they will be during this trip, just as they will be in Israel and the West Bank.

He should have added, “except, I’m just going to ignore that little dismemberment murder of Khashoggi for the time being because I really, really need oil.”

Those hoping for Saudi Arabia to suddenly start producing much more oil and thereby bring down gas prices here are probably in for an unpleasant surprise, though, as the plea is likely to fall on deaf ears. From Reuters:

“I think that a surge in Saudi production seems unlikely. I expect some anodyne statements from Saudi Arabia about helping to balance the global oil market, meet global demand, support economic growth and stability among the import countries,” said Ben Cahill, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Samantha Gross, director of the energy security and climate initiative at the Brookings Institution, agreed. “If the public is looking for lower gasoline prices after this trip,” she said, I think they’re bound to be disappointed.”

In sum, maybe Biden just wants to get out of the country for a while, since he’s taking such constant heat here at home amidst a disastrous presidency.  It’s doubtful this trip will have any major breakthroughs.


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