Cut Oil Supply or Lose US Military Support, Trump Told Saudis: Report

President Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman that if his regime refused to end its oil price war with Russia, Trump would be powerless to stop Congress from withdrawing US troops from the kingdom, according to a report.

The commander-in-chief’s threat came during an April 2 phone call, Reuters reports, and was central to a White House pressure campaign to slash global oil supply as demand collapsed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

During that call, Trump told bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut oil production, he could not stop the House and Senate from passing legislation that would pull troops out of the country.

The move would put a 75-year-old arrangement between the two countries, officially dubbed the US Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, at risk. The mission is aimed at bolstering the Saudis against Iran, their arch-rival, in their efforts to assert dominance in the Middle East.

Through the arrangement, the Pentagon has a team of US service members based out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, operating as a direct pipeline to transfer weapons from US arms manufacturers to their military, according to Time magazine.

he crown prince was so taken aback by Trump’s threat that he ordered his aides to leave the room so he could continue speaking in private, Reuters reports.

After the call took place, Trump tweeted that he expected and hoped the kingdom’s de facto leader would cut back millions of barrels of oil.

“Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!” he wrote at the time.

“Could be as high as 15 Million Barrels. Good (GREAT) news for everyone!” he continued in a second post.

Asked by Reuters on Wednesday if he told MBS that the US might pull forces out of Saudi Arabia, Trump responded: “I didn’t have to tell him.”

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