Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have obtained deliveries of Patriot missiles and shells for the THAAD missile defence system from the US, Haqqin reported. In return, the Arabs have promised to increase oil production. However, they will not rush into action, according to the author of the article.
The US State Department approved the sale of 300 Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia in a $3.05 billion deal, and another $2.25 billion deal with the UAE for 96 missiles for the THAAD missile defense system.
Biden’s exhortations and requests to increase oil production have made no impression on the ruling elites of the Gulf monarchies. They listened, but enough is enough. And then Washington has thrown to the table its last trump card – Patriot and THAAD missile systems, which are extremely important to Saudis and Emirates.
The intentions of turning Saudi Arabia into a “rogue country” are now forgotten in the White House. Khashoggi (a Saudi journalist) was murdered on 2 October 2018 on the grounds of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has been consigned to oblivion. Claims of “respect for human rights” have been dropped. The war in Yemen is spoken of in a deaf and vague way: “There is something of that, indeed, but it’s not a big deal.” And all for the sake of getting an extra 2-2.5 million barrels a day into world markets.
The young leaders of the Gulf, the two Mohammeds, bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and bin Zayed in the UAE, have taught Biden and his entourage a clear lesson on how Washington should talk to its allies and partners in the new reality. No pressure or blackmail, but a consideration of their interests and mutually beneficial offers that generate interest in the country that Washington is addressing.
But perhaps these reputational costs of Biden’s foreign policy line were not in vain, and now oil from the Gulf will flood into world markets? That remains to be seen. In any case, both the Saudis and the Emirates have stated that they “can only increase the volume of oil production if there is a serious oil supply crisis this coming winter”.
Yes, they have spare production capacity of 2 to 2.5 million barrels per day, but right now, all at once, they would not like to increase production. Which is technically understandable. Increasing it is not a tap to open more, it is a complex process to prepare for.
So the Biden administration will not be able to sell the oil-for-missiles deal as an unequivocal American victory. The Gulf monarchies, of course, are happy about missiles. They will, of course, give more oil to the world market. But they will not be in much of a hurry, trying to bargain for more and more concessions from the U.S. on some issues or other.