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CIA Director Traveled For Secret Meeting With Saudi Crown Prince To Heal Souring Ties

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 05, 2022 - 01:20 AM

It was revealed this week in The Wall Street Journal that CIA director William Burns recently traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he held a secretive meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The purpose of the publicly unannounced visit, held in mid-April, appears to have been another attempt to try and heal souring relations with the Biden administration after the White House has been pressuring the kingdom to rapidly boost oil output as a vital backstop amid fears over unpredictable supply due to Russia's war in Ukraine, and as Europe readies a controversial embargo on Russian oil.

Saudi tensions have grown with Washington also over the Iran nuclear deal, which though on the ropes has been declared 'not dead yet' by the US administration. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have in unison sought to torpedo progress in Vienna. US pressure to wind down the war in Yemen has also frustrated the Saudis, which have perhaps grown used to the blank check they were given to execute large-scale airstrikes on Yemenis for years prior going back to 2015.

President Biden had also in the recent past (while on the campaign trail) referred to crown prince MbS as a "pariah" in relation to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

"It was a good conversation, better tone than prior U.S. government engagements," one US official was cited in WSJ as saying of the CIA chief's meeting with MbS.

This appears a far better result than when national security adviser Jake Sullivan was dispatched to Riyadh last year:

According to a previous WSJ report, in September 2021 MbS shouted at US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan after being pressed on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

At the time, MbS reportedly told Sullivan that the US can forget about asking OPEC to increase oil supplies to lower prices.

Since then, OPEC has maintained its quotas despite pressures from the west to increase output following fuel shortages due to the sanctions against Russian energy exports. OPEC member states have opted to maintain ties with Moscow.

In late March, as the Ukraine war raged and Yemen's Houthis began to mount more daring missile and drone attacks on Saudi territory, the kingdom's energy ministry stressed that Saudi Arabia will "not be held responsible" for any shortage of oil supplies to global markets

Meanwhile the Saudis have been enjoying a windfall amid steadily rising oil prices, leaving little incentive to bow to the immediate urgings of Washington, which is on the one hand trying to severely punish Moscow for its Ukraine war, but on the other attempting to mitigate blowback on global energy supply and prices, and Western consumers.

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