The decision of “OPEC Plus” to reduce oil production by two million barrels per day attracted “fans” to Saudi Arabia, after it presented itself as a “rising power,” according to a report by the agency.Bloomberg“.
Despite being both importers of energy products, China and Turkey defended Saudi Arabia’s decision to keep oil prices higher as the economic outlook deteriorates.
The oil dispute reveals a broader shift as countries are willing to respond or question American influence, even if it goes against their direct economic interests.
And “Bloomberg” reported that Beijing and Ankara are keen to deepen relations with the kingdom, which is experiencing an economic boom, or find ways to take advantage of the US-Saudi differences in their own differences with Washington.
A Turkish official, who spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity, said that lower crude prices would be more beneficial for Turkey, as energy costs contributed to pushing inflation to its highest level in two decades, but Ankara objects to the United States’ threat to another country, as he put it.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that it was not right for the United States to pressure Saudi Arabia after oil producers in the “OPEC Plus” group announced a production cut despite American objections.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has other good reasons to stand by Riyadh, as he sought financial support from Saudi Arabia ahead of next summer’s presidential elections, galvanizing relations after years of disagreements.
China, in turn, praised Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of an “independent energy policy” after the “OPEC Plus” decision and said Riyadh should play a “greater role” in international and regional affairs.
“It’s all about trying to capitalize and sow divisions in traditional US alliances to try to strengthen China’s hand on the world stage,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore who researches China’s foreign relations.
In response to a question about China’s ability to fill the void in foreign economic relations with Saudi Arabia, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States weighs its national interests in its bilateral relations.
“Ultimately, we will follow a path based solely on our interests and the values we bring to our work around the world,” he said at a press briefing on November 7.
US officials have cited the cooperation on Ukraine as evidence of Washington’s continuing influence in international affairs.
However, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is increasingly able to project political influence in the region and beyond, with high oil prices driving the kingdom to the fastest growth rate among the Group of Twenty countries, according to the US Agency.
“He does not envision his country as a second-tier player,” Karen Young, a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy, wrote this month.
The 37-year-old “sees the emerging geopolitical system as resilient, composed of a set of interlocking parts, and believes that Riyadh has the right to work with a changing constellation of partners to move markets and shape politics.”
In response to questions from Bloomberg, Young said the United States is facing some shocks; Because it designs foreign policy as a “value-based hierarchy” of sharing democracies with non-democratic regimes. This also complicates the department’s ability to seek new cooperation, she added.
Iran ‘keeps the partnership’
Despite the cold diplomatic relations between the two countries, the United States continues to rely on Saudi Arabia as a bulwark against Iran and a key strategic partner in a volatile region.Insider“.
Last week, the United States directed its fighter jets toward Iran amid intelligence warnings that Tehran was planning an imminent drone and missile attack on Saudi Arabia.
Although Riyadh was not attacked, the incident highlighted “the complex web of interests that keeps the US-Saudi alliance alive even in difficult times.”
“It is undeniable that as long as the power of the Islamic Republic exists, officials in Washington and Riyadh will continue to view the Iranian regime as a serious threat to both American and Saudi interests,” said Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics.
Over the past month, the decision of the “OPEC Plus” alliance led by Riyadh and Moscow has added to pressures on Saudi-US relations, already deteriorating since the arrival of US President Joe Biden to the White House.
Riyadh and Washington exchanged public accusations described as “rare” after the decision of the alliance of oil producers, which angered the Biden administration, as it was “biased with Russia.” The Gulf kingdom, which is rich in black gold, says the decision comes within a “purely economic” framework.
Cafiero told Insider that Iran is “one of the many factors that keep the partnership between Washington and Riyadh alive despite all the sources of tension between the Americans and the Saudis.”
Recently, Saudi-Iranian tensions escalated after Iran was accused of “foreign enemies” in provoking the popular protests that followed the death of the young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, since mid-September.
While Riyadh did not respond, Iran escalated its rhetoric against Saudi Arabia during the last period through the statements of more than one security and military official.
On Wednesday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iran’s intelligence minister told its regional rival, Saudi Arabia, that there was no guarantee that Tehran would continue its “strategy of patience.”
“Iran has so far adopted the strategy of patience with consistent rationality, but it cannot guarantee that it will not run out if hostilities continue,” the agency quoted Ismail Khatib as saying.
Khatib added, “If Iran decides to respond and punish, the glass palaces will collapse and these countries will not witness stability anymore.”
Cafiero said that Mohammed bin Salman “knows” that Washington is counting on Riyadh as a strategic partner against Tehran, suggesting that the Saudi crown prince will continue to “exploit this situation” for an “independent” leadership of the kingdom to be a player on the world stage.
And he added, “These are common interests that make the United States and Saudi Arabia interested in a bilateral partnership. Riyadh knows this and can continue to demonstrate its desire for an increasingly independent foreign policy without worrying about a sudden US withdrawal from the kingdom.”