As a result of Saudi Arabia’s plan to reduce oil production, which might aid Russia as it continues to wage war against Ukraine, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez is calling on the Biden administration to suspend cooperation with the Middle Eastern ally.
“The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend U.S. personnel and interests,” wrote Menendez, who represents New Jersey and serves as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
According to him, the decision that was reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), which is a collection of oil-exporting countries that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, and Iran, will “help bankroll Putin’s war.”
“There simply is no room to play both sides of this conflict – either you support the rest of the free world in trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping an entire country off of the map, or you support him,” he wrote. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose the latter in a terrible decision driven by economic self-interest.”
Melendez has said that he would not give the “green light” to any kind of collaboration with Saudi Arabia until such time as the Saudi government reverses its decision. A number of other lawmakers have expressed their indignation at the move as well.
“What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue to wage his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted last week. “We are looking at all the legislative tools to best deal with this appalling and deeply cynical action, including the NOPEC bill.”
As a response to the OPEC decision, other Democrats have proposed a bill that, if passed, would get U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates right away.
The decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day may lead to an increase in gas prices, which may have an effect on the midterm elections.