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Americans should know if US pressured Middle East ally – congressman

A Republican lawmaker wants House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to probe Washington’s alleged attempted coercion of Saudi Arabia

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should look into whether the White House pressured Saudi Arabia to delay OPEC+’s promised oil production cut, Republican Tom Tiffany demanded in a letter to the congresswoman on Thursday.

The Saudi government had claimed earlier that day that the US government had requested a one-month delay in the 2 million barrels per day production cut announced earlier this month. Putting off the cut, it implied, would postpone the surge in energy prices expected to accompany the move until after the US midterm elections. However, “postponing the OPEC+ decision by a month…would have had negative economic consequences” for Riyadh, a statement from the Kingdom read. 

The administration of US President Joe Biden responded by accusing its sometime Arab ally of attempting to “spin and deflect.” The Saudis “knew [the production cut] would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions,” White House spokesman John Kirby reminded Americans.

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A Patriot missile battery deployed near Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia.
US senators propose punishment for major ally

However, Kirby did not deny their claim outright. He suggested that “other OPEC nations” had “privately” approached the US to support its bid to postpone the reduction, implying that it could not have been solely motivated by the desire to keep control of Congress in November.

If the Biden administration did attempt to pressure a foreign government to influence the outcome of the US election, that’s something Americans deserve to know,” Tiffany tweeted on Thursday alongside his letter to Pelosi. 

If the Saudis’ claims are to be believed, he wrote, the administration’s efforts to postpone the cut amounted to an “illegal solicitation of a foreign in-kind contribution by the White House on behalf of Democrats’ midterm campaign efforts.”

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In addition to investigating whether calls took place between the Biden administration and the Saudis about potentially delaying the production cut, Tiffany urged Pelosi to obtain the transcripts of those calls. He also insisted that US administration officials who may have asked Saudi officials to delay the cut be identified.

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Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, confirmed on Sunday that the president would act “methodically” to re-evaluate the US relationship with Saudi Arabia. The administration has been threatening to “reassess” the partnership ever since the price cut was announced. However, while the president warned there would be “some consequences” for the Saudis, their nature has yet to be publicly revealed. 

Inflation and the high cost of living are the chief issues on voters’ minds heading into the midterms next month, casting the Democrats’ ability to hold onto both the House and Senate into doubt as polls indicate few voters trust Biden to effectively manage the economy.

https://ift.tt/eom5XjE 16, 2022 at 10:42PM
from RT – Daily news

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