Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at an Arab summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 16 July 2022. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
Leaders from various Arab Gulf states, including Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, as well as US President Joe Biden gathered at the Jeddah Security and Development Summit in Saudi Arabia on 16 July.
Discussions focused on oil output levels, during which Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) stated that oil output cannot at present increase any more than the current level of 12 million barrels per day.
The kingdom will, however, increase its capacity to 13 million barrels per day by 2027, MbS told summit attendees.
After that, MbS said, “the kingdom will not have any further capability to increase production.”
The west is experiencing a dire energy and fuel crisis due to sanctions imposed on Russia and has been unsuccessful in its attempts to pressure OPEC+ to increase output.
Aside from failing to secure oil derivative output increases – which would alleviate the worst inflation the US has seen in decades – the US president also failed to walk away with concrete advancement on the idea of a NATO-style Arab military alliance, one that would be hostile towards Iran.
“The United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you – and the United States is not going anywhere,” Biden said.
However, these assurances are not enough for Arab states, such as Iraq, who have good diplomatic relations with Iran and would not want to be a part of a military alliance that is hostile towards its neighbor and partner in the region.
Due to tensions between Washington and Riyadh, primarily the result of the Khashoggi murder, the reception of the US president to the Saudi capital was not as cordial as that of other Arab leaders, according to a report by RT Arabic.
Biden and MbS held a three-hour meeting on 15 July where the US head of state claims to have brought up the issue of the Khashoggi murder.
The normalization of diplomatic ties was also discussed during the conference.
Answering a question from the press about normalization, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan stated:
“Why are you talking about normalization, [is it] because we allowed them [Israel] to fly in our airspace? We allow any country to fly in our airspace, and we also allow them. There is no need to call this normalization.”
Recent statements from Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir suggest that normalization is in sight for Riyadh if certain conditions are met.
A correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13 made remarks during the channel’s live broadcast from the conference, which reflected optimism for the path of normalization.
“Be aware that we are broadcasting live … All this is taking place via live broadcast, and we are located in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia. And if you want proof of normalization, this broadcast is allowed here,” the Channel 13 correspondent stated.
The conference also served as a source of gaffes on the aging US president, including his reference to the ‘selfishness‘ of US soldiers as well as his nap during the speeches of Arab leaders.