President Joe Biden and his administration attempted to lure the Saudi government into its own midterm election challenges. Saudi Arabia outed Biden during a back and forth spat after White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused OPEC and Saudi Arabia of “aligning with Russia” because it would help Moscow’s oil sales.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud pushed back in a statement; the same one in which he acknowledged the White House’s attempt at helping their midterm chances.
The decision was “based purely on economic considerations” the Foreign Minister stated, adding it had also voted in support of UN resolutions in support of Ukraine.
“The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would first like to express its total rejection of these statements that are not based on facts, and which are based on portraying the OPEC+ decision out of its purely economic context. This decision was taken unanimously by all member states of the OPEC+ group,” he continued.
“These outcomes are based purely on economic considerations that take into account maintaining balance of supply and demand in the oil markets, as well as aim to limit volatility that does not serve the interests of consumers and producers, as has been always the case within OPEC +,” bin Farhan Al Saud added.
He then addressed the Biden administration’s plea with the Saudis to wait at least one month to announce the production cut – so they would not hurt Democrats midterm chances – which the White House denied hours before the statement was issued:
“The Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the U.S. Administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences” bin Farhan Al Saud said.
On Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby did confirm that the White House had reached out for a one-month delay:
“We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that there was no market basis to cut production targets and that they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed,” said Kirby.
John Kirby confirms Team Biden tried to postpone oil cuts until after midterms.
"We presented Saudi Arabia with analysis to show that … they could easily wait for the next OPEC meeting to see how things developed." https://t.co/jTcFAIZMDB
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) October 13, 2022
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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