Donald Trump said if he is elected president he won’t buy Saudi Arabian oil unless the kingdom fights the Islamic State with ground troops.
“If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection. I don’t think it would be around,” Trump told The New York Times in an interview Saturday.“The reason we’re in the Middle East is for oil, and all of a sudden we’re finding out that there’s less reason to be there now.”
Trump also said Saudi Arabia should “substantially reimburse” America for fighting ISIS.
Saudi Arabia offered to send ground forces to fight ISIS in February and the country has launched airstrikes against the terrorists. The Saudis haven’t actually committed ground forces to the conflict.
The billionaire has a long history of seeing the Middle East in terms of oil.
Last November, Trump stated on ABC’s “This Week” that any plan to defeat ISIS should focus on taking the oil revenue stream that the terrorist group uses to fund its welfare state. “I’m looking to take the oil. I want to take the oil. I want the oil,” he said.
When the uprising against the Gaddafi regime in Libya began in 2011, Trump again expressed his desire to “take the oil” and told The Wall Street Journal, “I’m only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don’t take the oil, I’m not interested.”
Trump’s attempt to pressure the Middle East through an oil boycott could run into problems, as America has already substantially reduced the amount of oil it buys from Saudi Arabia.
America bought 2,300,000 barrels of Saudi oil each day in May of 2003. By last September, America was only buying 863,000 barrels of Saudi oil each day, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). America imported about 60 percent of its oil in 2007, but by 2014, the U.S. only imported 27 percent of its oil, according to the EIA.
The U.S. surpassed both the kingdom and Russia early last year as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil.
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