US proposes to stop arms sales to KSA as comeback for OPEC+ support
The Democratic reps are questioning the US-Saudi relationship as they call for a reevaluation of the bilateral ties amid conflicting views of the OPEC+ oil cut.
In light of Saudi Arabia's decision to support OPEC+ oil production cuts, US Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Democratic Representative Ro Khanna proposed a legislation to stop Washington from providing weapons to Riyadh, arguing that what the US regards as the kingdom's support for Russia deserves a "far-reaching review of the US-Saudi relationship."
In an op-ed for Politico on Sunday, the reps urged Congress to halt arms sales until it withdraws its “embrace” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding: "The Saudi decision was a pointed blow to the US, but the US also has a way to respond: It can promptly pause the massive transfer of American warfare technology into the eager hands of the Saudi".
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)'s member states voted on October 5 to cut their production of oil and agreed to reduce their oil production by 2 million barrels a day in light of the world's surging energy crisis, a delegation source told Russian news agency Sputnik - which the US regarded as a hostile act.
Biden had previously tried to convince the organization to increase its oil output in a bid to cool the red-hot energy prices, traveling to Saudi Arabia with hopes of persuading de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) to promise to increase the kingdom's oil output and relieve the pressure on the global supply chain. However, the price of oil rose even further after he left West Asia without striking a deal with Saudi Arabia on Riyadh pumping out more oil.
To the reps, the kingdom would face a challenge in locating a replacement source for its weapons, mainly used in the crimes against humanity and war crimes against Yemen, since it heavily relies on the US for defense backup and will have no other choice but to come back and negotiate to find a solution which would keep arms sales flowing to Saudi Arabia. Just this past August, the US announced a sale of Patriot missile interceptors and equipment worth up to $3.05 billion to Saudi Arabia.
The lawmakers wrote: "...we are proposing bicameral legislation in the Senate and House on Tuesday that will immediately halt all U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia," expressing that the proposed pause of US military supplies should include "the controversial, new, and hastily planned Red Sands testing facilities in Saudi Arabia."
OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais said the decision to cut production was not politically motivated and not related to the confrontation between some countries, but came from assessments of high recession risks.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir also denied any allegations that the decision is directed at the US and stated that its aim was to stabilize the global market amid a slowing economy. "With due respect, the reason you have high prices in the United States is because you have a refining shortage that has been in existence for more than 20 years. You haven't built refineries in decades," he said speaking to Fox News last Friday.
Al-Jubeir pointed at US President Joe Biden for the high gas prices, saying that Washington should have been extracting more oil from US wells, increasing fuel production at home.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the recent development is a victory for common sense rather than for Russia, since Washington has been attempting to implement a price cap on Russian oil, implement hawkish sanctions against Moscow, and manipulate its own oil reserves - however, the organization's decision pokes a giant hole in their prospect.