A day after “public accusations” between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the newspaper “Washington Post” published an analysis in which it described the history and course of the relationship between the two countries, which it described as “strange”. , and the future after the recent tensions caused by the “OPEC +” reduction in oil production.
Washington criticized Riyadh for considering it to have provided “economic support” as well as “moral and military support” to Russia through the recent reduction in oil production quotas that occurred by “twisting the arm” of other producing countries, while Saudi- Arabia, in a statement, expressed its “total rejection” of the US accusations against it. Providing support to Russia, she emphasized that the decisions of the “OPEC +” alliance mainly depend on a “pure economic perspective.”
The “OPEC +” alliance, consisting of the 13 member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries “OPEC” and their ten allies led by Russia, decided last week to significantly reduce production quotas by two million barrels per day, starting in November.
The American newspaper said, in an analysis published by writer Adam Taylor, that “the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is strange. There is no treaty or mutual defense agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia , but rather a relationship driven by a marriage of convenience that revolves only around oil.”
The analysis reviewed the “informal” partnership between the two countries over a “dinner date” for more than 70 years on a US Navy ship in the Suez Canal.
Suez Canal meeting
Former US President Franklin Roosevelt was returning from the Yalta Conference in 1945 when he stopped in Egypt to meet with some of the most important leaders from the Middle East and Africa, notably King Farouk of Egypt and Emperor Haile of Ethiopia Selassie. There was also a lesser-known name on the list: the first Saudi king, Abdulaziz bin Saud, according to the newspaper.
According to the same source, King Abdulaziz was a charismatic military leader who managed to defeat his opponents to become the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The paper goes on to say that the Suez Canal meeting is the first for King Abdulaziz outside the Kingdom, and he brought 8 heads of cattle with him to the USS Quincy, where he met Roosevelt, to be slaughtered for dinner.
The two leaders, according to the Washington Post, “reached an informal agreement in which the United States would provide diplomatic support and military training to the then-nascent kingdom, in exchange for political support in the region — and, of course, access to Saudi oil reserves .”
She added, “The oil reserves in Saudi Arabia were enormous, now believed to be second only to Venezuela, and of higher quality than the viscous crude found there.”
“Only the United States had the resources to help the Saudi economy cope until oil production grew enough for the kingdom to meet its obligations,” Bruce Riedel later wrote in his book “Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States Since Franklin Roosevelt said. “
The newspaper continues its account of the historic meeting: “In the years after 1945, this meeting was portrayed as the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship. Photographs of Roosevelt and Abdulaziz hang in Saudi diplomatic headquarters around the world. But in reality there was no significant shift after the meeting.”
Roosevelt died just two months after meeting Abdulaziz, and was succeeded by President Harry Truman, who took a more cautious view of the kingdom, according to the Washington Post.
Saudi oil production grew, but it had no immediate effect, as later estimates indicated that Saudi Arabia’s income in 1950, after years of oil-fueled growth, was less than that of a medium-sized American city, according to the paper.
And when Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries finally prospered, it wasn’t long before some Americans began to question the precise point of the relationship.
And the “Washington Post” says in its analysis that the common interests between Riyadh and Washington, away from oil, are “transient”.
The Palestinian cause
And she added that when Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz met in 1945, most of the discussion centered on the possibility of establishing the state of Israel, given the strong opposition of the Saudi leader, “but the differences on the Palestinian issue will later be the root of many differences.”
In 1972 and 1973, Saudi Arabia’s oil embargo targeted countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War, specifically the United States. And as Saudi Arabia grew richer, so did its power.
“We have reached the point where we are more dependent on them than they are on us,” an American diplomat told the Washington Post in 1977 amid another round of tensions.
“Besides being good friends, it’s an unhealthy situation for us,” he added. Later, after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the two countries united in opposition to Tehran.
By the 1990s, Saudi Arabia had become a major customer for US military goods, supporting US industry, according to the paper.
But after the end of the Cold War, Saudi Arabia now finds itself allied with Moscow in OPEC Plus for economic reasons.
Now, by pushing for production cuts in OPEC Plus, Saudi Arabia is not only indirectly supporting Russia or pushing the world into recession – it is shaking the very slippery, oil-based foundations of its relationship with the United States.
And if Biden listens to some Democratic lawmakers, this marriage of convenience could eventually lead to divorce.
And the US president, Joe Biden, promised after the “OPEC +” decision to conduct a “reassessment” of the long-standing strategic relationship between the two countries, which is based on a simple principle: Saudi Arabia supplies the market with oil, and in return the United States guarantees its security, especially through large arms deals with it. Several Democratic members of Congress are calling for a freeze on massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia.