The Saudi crown prince privately threatened “major economic consequences” against the US last fall if the Biden administration retaliated against its decision to slash oil production, a new report revealed.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the threat after President Biden promised unspecified “consequences” for Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s decision to cut oil production during a time of high energy prices, according to a classified document obtained by The Washington Post.
The crown prince claimed in private that “he will not deal with the U.S. administration anymore” and promised “major economic consequences for Washington,” according to the document.
A second leaked document from December warned that Saudi plans to expand its “transactional relationship” with China by procuring drones, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and mass surveillance systems from Beijing.
Biden has not followed through on his word, despite Saudi Arabia’s recent pledge to cut oil production by a further 1 million barrels per day starting in July.
The president has yet to press Saudi Arabia on their ruling and the crown price continues to engage with US officials.
The classified documents were released as part of the trove of Pentagon information allegedly leaked by Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, the Washington Post reported.
It is not clear whether the crown prince made the threat directly to US officials or if it was intercepted by electronic spying.
A spokesperson with the National Security Council told the newspaper “we are not aware of such threats by Saudi Arabia.”
“In general, such documents often represent only one snapshot of a moment in time and cannot possibly offer the full picture,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.
“The United States continues to collaborate with Saudi Arabia, an important partner in the region, to advance our mutual interests and a common vision for a more secure, stable, and prosperous region, interconnected with the world.”
Officials said Saudi Arabia’s plans to partner with China were exaggerated and did not come to fruition.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly pleaded with Saudi officials to ramp up crude oil production costs over the last year as rising fuel prices stoke inflation fears.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the crown prince Tuesday to strengthen relationships between the two countries, just weeks after Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, made a trip to visit Mohammad.
Blinken’s trip mostly focused on human rights and the stability of the middle east, leaving the US’s response to Saudi’s decision to further cut its oil supply down uncertain.
The voluntary cut is on top of a broader deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia to limit supply into 2024 as the OPEC+ producer group seeks to boost flagging oil prices — a move opposed by the Biden administration.
With Post wires