Saudi king 'might not be there for two weeks' without USA support

Saul Bowman
October 4, 2018

President Donald Trump made an undiplomatic remark about close ally Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, saying he warned Saudi Arabia's King Salman he would not last in power "for two weeks" without the backing of the U.S. military.

While Trump failed to mention when the undiplomatic remarks were made to King Salman, it is known that the two leaders held a phone conversation on Saturday to discuss global oil supplies.

The Trump administration has been criticizing Saudi Arabia for high oil prices.

Just a few days after the Algiers meeting, Trump blamed OPEC for high oil prices at the UN General Assembly in NY.

While the USA does not have any military bases in Saudi Arabia, neighboring Qatar hosts a large American contingent at Al Udeid Airbase. Would you say they're rich.

Benchmark Brent crude oil is near $85 a barrel - a four-year high - and analysts say it could reach $100 as USA sanctions on Iran resume in November.

U.S. sanctions on Iran's petroleum sector are set to take effect next month after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May. "But I said 'King - we're protecting you - you might not be there for two weeks without us - you have to pay for your military, '" Trump said to cheers at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi.

Saudi Arabia has always been a major buyer of US weaponry, spending billions of dollars on advanced systems, a point Trump was keen to make when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman visited the White House in March.

Trump continued the pressure campaign at a campaign rally in MS on Tuesday, where he offered some details about the conversation.

It remains to be seen if Trump can convince the Saudis to take a more aggressive line, although it should be noted that Saudi Arabia's decision to increase production by 300,000 bpd from August levels is not trivial.

But oil prices seem to be getting in the way, especially as benchmark Brent crude oil is near $85 a barrel - a four-year high. "Not good. We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices", Trump said.

Saudi Arabia welcomed Mr. Trump for his first overseas trip as president.

Oil prices have risen in recent weeks ahead of United States sanctions on Iran - set to be imposed early next month.

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