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White House admits to asking Saudis to delay oil cuts, conveniently after midterm elections

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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.  

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Middle East

Upcoming book reveals Biden doesn’t believe any mistakes were made in disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal

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A new book unearths how President Joe Biden genuinely believes there were no mistakes made during the 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal. The upcoming book by Politico’s national security reporter Alexander Ward, titled, The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore Foreign Policy After Trump discusses how Biden’s public defense of his administration’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan was not just to save face politically.

“No one offered to resign [after the Afghanistan exit], in large part because the president didn’t believe anyone had made a mistake. Ending the war was always going to be messy,” said Ward in his upcoming book.

“Biden told his top aides, [National Security Adviser Jake] Sullivan included, that he stood by them and they had done their best during a tough situation,” Ward said, adding that a White House official had told him that “there wasn’t even a real possibility of a shake-up.”

However, “Human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse [two years into the Taliban’s takeover], acutely affecting the lives of millions of women, men, girls and boys,” United Nations high commissioner for human rights Volker Turk said in September 2023. “The shocking level of oppression of Afghan women and girls is immeasurably cruel.”

The Washington Free Beacon points out that in fact, “much went wrong” however, as “Biden ended the United States’s 20-year military presence in Afghanistan, including the Taliban’s immediate takeover of Afghanistan following the exit of American troops, 13 American military service members killed in a suicide-bombing during the final stages of the evacuation, and thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies left stranded in Afghanistan.”

During the poorly coordinated evacuation, the Biden administration also left the Taliban “nearly $7.2 billion worth of aircraft, guns, vehicles, ammunition, and specialized equipment,” according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

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