The kingdom has effectively threatened to cut off oil supplies if it is sanctioned.
As many countries around the world have rallied to say they will punish Saudi Arabia if it is found to have been involved in the disappearance and possible death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom vowed it would retaliate against any such action.
The kingdom’s Saudi Press Agency, quoting an unnamed official, issued the following statement:
“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations. The kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy.”
Saudi Arabia’s economy ranks 19th globally with a GDP of nearly $770 billion a year, roughly 3.75 percent of the U.S. economy. However, it is the second largest producer of oil and currently accounts of nearly one-sixth of the world’s total proven oil reserves.
The world’s largest oil exporter’s al-Arabiya news network further warned against imposing sanctions in Riyadh:
“It would lead to Saudi Arabia’s failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels. If the price oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure.”
As of this writing, the price of oil today on the West Texas Intermediate index has risen 31 cents per barrel to $71.65 on the news. Over the past week, throughout the course of the Khashoggi matter, the price has fluctuated between $72.65 and $70.55.
In his interview with CBS News’ Leslie Stahl for “60 Minutes,” which was broadcast Sunday, President Donald Trump said he believed it was possible that the Saudis were responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible death. He also noted the kingdom had denied “in every way you can imagine” its involvement before noting that the U.S. would inflict “severe punishment” if the kingdom was found to have been responsible.
He then added:
“I’ll tell you what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that. And you know what, there are other ways of punishing.
“There’s a lot at stake. And, maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There’s something, you’ll be surprised to hear me say that, there’s something really terrible and disgusting about that if that were the case. We’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.
Full article: Saudis Vow to Retaliate if ‘Punished’ for Khashoggi Disappearance (TruNews)