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Are Saudis Playing Hardball With Biden?

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With the help of Russian President Vladimir Putin, our friends in Saudi Arabia appear to be playing a geopolitical game called Keep Away, with respect to Joe Biden, and America’s energy independence.

Do you remember the game Keep Away? A ball is thrown back and forth between two or more children, while a third child in the center tries to intercept it. Sometimes, the kid who was in the center didn’t want to play. The bigger kids would grab the ball and force the small kid to play a game that he could not win.

Biden’s the smaller child. Oil prices are the ball. The larger kids are Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Putin.

Last month, I wrote that I was thinking of Biden as I “filled my Jeep’s 15-gallon smallish gas tank at $50 while it still had some gallons remaining.” Prices have risen (and risen more since then) despite Biden’s promise to “refill” the tank once the prices were low enough. ”

“Oh, yeah,” I said, “the SPR will probably never be filled again.”

I learned today that this is true, in part, because of the actions taken by Riyadh.

Biden released record amounts of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserves in 2022. By releasing so much oil (some of it ended up in China), he cut the strategic reserves by half. The level hasn’t dropped so low since 1983.

The White House’s plan, as it was then, was to replace all 250+ million barrels that Biden had siphoned once oil prices dropped to “between $67 and $72 per barrel or less”.

President Trump requested money from Congress to top up the SPR when oil prices fell to $24 in 2020 due to COVID lockdowns. At the time, Trump claimed that he would “fill it to the top” to save the American taxpayers billions of dollars and help the oil industry. Nancy Pelosi declined. Today, oil costs three times as much.

This is where things get funny, provided you’re in the mood to laugh.

The White House announced on Tuesday that it would not buy six million barrels of oil to replace just a fraction of the amount Biden pissed away because the price had mysteriously risen too high above his target of $72.

Guess what The Kobeissi Letter researchers noticed.

“On June 9th,” they tweeted, “the US refilled 6 million barrels of the SPR, still well below the 250 million+ that have been drained. At the time, oil prices were right around $70 which is in the price zone that the US wants to refill the SPR.”

They wrote that “Saudi Arabia and Russia immediately extended the recent crude oil production cut,” and “this is the 6th instance in which OPEC took action when oil prices reached the $67-$72 zone this year.” “Could this be a coincidence? ”

Kobeissi says that “every time the oil price fell below $67-$72, OPEC acted. The most recent example was on July 3, when Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed voluntarily to extend their production cuts. ”

As recently as May, the latest data available, Biden still tapped the SPR. In April the reserves were down by about nine million barrels.

Bin Salman’s Keep Away game might be personal, just like when cruel children pick on the smaller child. Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned that Biden’s calling Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state was an “enormous error.” When Biden went to Saudi Arabia hat in hand last year, begging them to pump more oil to reduce prices, the Saudis laughed all the way to their bank accounts.

Irony: The Saudis were silent Cold War allies in the fall of the Soviet Union.

The ’80s triumvirate — Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II — deserve the most credit, but the Saudis also did their part. They helped OPEC lower oil prices to levels below USSR production costs. Since oil was and still is Moscow’s main source of income and Riyadh’s contribution, we were able to break the Evil Empire’s bank.

We’re now in Cold War II, but the Middle East has realigned itself away from the West and towards Moscow. They see Biden as the weak child they can torment because he’s vain, feckless, and shortsighted.

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