Ilhan Omar Criticizes Biden Visit to Saudi Arabia Over Oil as “Wildly Immoral”

U.S. President Joe Biden’s advisers are reportedly discussing a possible trip to Saudi Arabia this spring to urge the kingdom to ramp up oil production amid fears of a supply shortage as the United States mulls a banRussian crude oil imports

But, progressive members of Congress, as well as antiwar commentators, were quick to dismiss the idea that the U.S. could further strengthen its ties with Saudi Arabia. They pointed to the decades-long, devastating assault the kingdom has been engaged in. Yemen since 2015 — often with military and diplomatic support from the U.S. government.

“Our response to Putin’s immoral war shouldn’t be to strengthen our relationship with the Saudis, who are currently causing the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in Yemen,” U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) wroteLate Sunday, in a tweet. “Yemenis might not matter to some geopolitically, but their humanity should. This is a wildly immoral act.”

Axios reported Sunday that a Biden trip to Saudi Arabia would be part of an attempt to “help repair relations and convince the Kingdom to pump more oil.”

“A hat-in-hand trip would illustrate the gravity of the global energy crisis driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Axios continued. “Biden has chastised Saudi Arabia, and the CIA believes its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in the dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.”

While the Biden administration has claimed that bin Salman was responsible in the brutal killing of Khashoggi and has refused to punish him, the Biden administration is also accused of a variety of other charges. The Biden administration is also accused of renegingIts promise that it would end U.S. support for the Saudi kingdom’s war on Yemen, which continues to cause immense sufferingcivilian deaths.

A spokesperson for the White House responded to the report about a possible Biden visit to Saudi Arabia in coming weeks. Axios that the administration doesn’t “have any international travel to announce at this time, and a lot of this is premature speculation.”

Basav S, director of Climate Justice Project at Institute for Policy Studies, saidSunday, if Axios’ reporting is accurate, “it’s a disastrously bad idea.”

“President Biden and his administration are out of touch with reality if they’re pushing for more oil and gas production, in this country or anywhere else,” Sen argued.

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan said during his show late Sunday that he finds it “odd that we are going to send our president to Saudi Arabia to say, ‘Give us more oil while you bomb Yemen so we don’t have to get oil from Russia as it bombs Ukraine.’”

Axios’The report was made as congressional leaders and officials from the Biden administration considered moving to impose an import ban on Russian crude oil to the U.S. This proposal was formulated as part of an attempt at isolating Russia in response to its devastating attack on Ukraine, which is now in its second week. The potential for an import ban of Russian crude oil helped send oil prices surging.

As Bloomberg noted Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said over the weekend that “the White House is in ‘very active discussions’ with its European allies about a ban to tighten the economic squeeze on President Vladimir Putin.”

“The U.S. has so far resisted restrictions on Russian crude imports due to concerns about the impact of rising prices on consumers,” the outlet observed, “but most buyers are refusing to take it, resulting in an embargo in all but name.”

The U.S. importedIn 2021, Russia produced an average of 209,000 barrels per day of crude oil. According toAccording to the International Energy Agency Russia is the second largest exporter of crude oil in the globe, after Saudi Arabia.

As The Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein reported last month, “While the media focuses on the conflict in Ukraine, a major cause of the gas price spike has gone overlooked: Moscow’s partnership with Saudi Arabia has grown dramatically in recent years, granting the two largest oil producers in the world the unprecedented ability to collude in oil export decisions.”

“The desert kingdom’s relationship with the U.S. has chilled in the meantime, as demonstrated earlier this month, when President Joe Biden pleaded with the Saudis to increase oil production — a move that would not only have helped to alleviate rising inflation and gas prices, but also reduced Russia’s extravagant profits amid its aggression against Ukraine,” Klippenstein wrote. “The Saudi king declined.”