Two Middle East Nations Decline Calls With Biden To Help With Rise Of Oil Prices


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The solution to lowering the price of oil and gas can be found at home in the United States, but President Joe Biden has been looking to other places and has had the door slammed in his face.

The leader of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have declined calls from the White House to arrange calls with the president who wants to gain more support for Ukraine and stop the rise in oil prices, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen,” a U.S. official said of the planned phone call between that president and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil].”

Mr. Biden did speak with Prince Mohammed’s 86-year-old father, King Salman, on Feb. 9, when the two men reiterated their countries’ longstanding partnership. The U.A.E.’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the call between Mr. Biden and Sheikh Mohammed would be rescheduled.

The Saudis have signaled that their relationship with Washington has deteriorated under the Biden administration, and they want more support for their intervention in Yemen’s civil war, help with their own civilian nuclear program as Iran’s moves ahead, and legal immunity for Prince Mohammed in the U.S., Saudi officials said. The crown prince faces multiple lawsuits in the U.S., including over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The Emiratis share Saudi concerns about the restrained U.S. response to recent missile strikes by Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen against the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia, officials said. Both governments are also concerned about the revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which doesn’t address other security concerns of theirs and has entered the final stages of negotiations in recent weeks.


Gas prices have been rising steadily, long before the war between Russia and Ukraine, but on Tuesday President Biden announced a ban on Russian energy imports, sending fears that the price would rise even higher.

“Today I’m announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” the president said. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”

“This is a move that has strong bipartisan support in the Congress and, I believe, in the country,” he said. “Americans have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war.”

There is also some debate about how effective the ban will be considering that not all nations are on board with doing it.

“We made this decision in close consultation with our allies and our partners around the world, particularly in Europe, because a united response to Putin’s aggression has been my overriding focus, to keep all NATO and all of the E.U. and our allies totally united,” he said.


“We’re moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us,” the president said. “The United States produces far more oil domestically than all of European countries combined. In fact we are a net exporter of energy, so we can take this step.”

“First, it’s simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. That’s simply not true. Even amid the pandemic, companies in the United States pump more oil during my first year in office than they did during my predecessor’s first year. We’re approaching a record levels of oil and gas production in the United States and we’re on track to set a record of world production next year,” he said.

But Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee poured cold water on that.


“Look, these are rational actors,” he said during an appearance on Fox News. “They are not tapping those because it’s not profitable or hasn’t been and he can say all he wants, you know, that there are oil leases that are still producing but not producing enough.”

“The fact is on day one he canceled all oil and gas leasing on federal lands,” he said. “He took Keystone XL pipeline off the table. He has banned oil and gas development in places like ANWR.”

“These are things that we need to be developing and there is a regulatory environment that is overtly hostile toward fossil fuels,” the senator said. “We want to control inflation. President Biden wants to control Americans. He’s got something very wrong there.”

“We need to open up opportunities and that means producing more energy at home,” he said. “We can produce energy here, oil and gas less expensively, and in a more environmentally responsible fashion than they can do almost anywhere in the world. But instead of doing these things, he’s going to our enemies, hat in hand, asking them to produce more oil, that’s wrong.”

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