Democrats Slam Saudis Over OPEC+ Oil Cut

Democrats Slam Saudis Over OPEC+ Oil Cut

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) also took direct aim at the Saudis, saying that the Kingdom “has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation.”

Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has pledged to block all future weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and pressed the Biden administration to “immediately freeze all aspects” of U.S. cooperation with the Kingdom in response to OPEC+’s decision last week to slash oil production beginning next month, according to a new Politico report.

“As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will not green light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough,” Menendez said in a statement.

“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,” he continued.

“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. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose the latter in a terrible decision driven by economic self-interest.”

OPEC+’s move represents the largest cut to production since 2020 when it reduced output by a record ten million barrels per day in response to plummeting demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The cut amounts to roughly 2 percent of the world’s daily oil production. Meanwhile, the White House was quietly urging Saudi Arabia to ramp up its oil production to further tame fuel prices ahead of the midterm elections next month.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) also took direct aim at the Saudis, saying that the Kingdom “has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation.”

“From unanswered questions about 9/11, the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the exporting of extremism, to dubious jailing of peaceful dissidents and conspiring with [Russian president] Vladimir Putin to punish the U.S. with higher oil prices, the Saudi royal family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation,” he added, per Politico. “It’s time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without this alliance with these royal backstabbers.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called OPEC+’s decision “shortsighted and disappointing.”

“We will not do anything that would infringe on our interests, that’s first and foremost, what will guide us,” Blinken said during a news conference in Peru on Thursday. “We will keep all of those interests in mind and consult closely with all of the relevant stakeholders as we decide on any steps going forward.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.