The US Response to Saudi Threat

The government of Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell its US assets worth US$ 750 billion if the Congress approves a bill that would hold independent governments responsible for their involvement in the Sept 2011 attacks. Due to the oil money, Saudi Arabia is one of the largest holders of US debt.

Though the government in Saudi Arabia or its senior representatives have not been connected with the September 2011 attack, certain terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. There are unconfirmed reports that some junior government representatives could be implicated.

The White House is contemplating to veto the bill. Representatives from the State Department as well as the Pentagon have cautioned senators of the political and economic outcome from the legislature. However, if approved, it would take courage for the Saudi Arabian government to dump the US assets, if proven of their involvement.

According to Michael Hiltzik, a columnist at the Los Angeles Times, “The Saudi threat to dump assets, particularly Treasury bonds, is an empty one, given that the kingdom may not own anywhere near that amount of Treasury’s in the first place, let alone other assets that would be easily sold.”

The US should not tremor over the Saudi threat. In spite of the success in re-gaining control over the petroleum sector, the Saudi Arabian government is under pressure due to intense competition from energy suppliers in the US.

Their plan to oversupply the market with oil has pushed frackers in the US to reduce production. The cumulative US oil production is projected to be around 9 million barrels per day, a decline from the high point of 9.7 million barrels in April 2015. Some market experts believe this trend to be for a short term.

At the same time, the US must pursue an aggressive foreign-policy and issue a counter threat to silence the Saudi leadership.

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