Saudi Arabia’s recent move to collaborate with Russia in cutting oil production has prompted a flurry of calls from members of Congress to cut off U.S. arms and military support for the Kingdom. Noting how the reduction in oil output would help sustain Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), has said that “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.”
For their part, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have introduced a bill that would prohibit the exportation of weapons, support equipment, spare and repair parts, and technical and logistical support services to Saudi Arabia for one year.
The decision on oil production is a slap in the face to President Biden, who traveled to Saudi Arabia in July with the explicit purpose of persuading the regime to increase oil output to offset the impact of sanctions on Russia, hoping it would filter down to reductions in U.S. gas prices.
Current calls for an arms cutoff to Saudi Arabia have focused on the impact of Riyadh’s position on oil output in helping to sustain Russia’s war in Ukraine. But that is far from the only reason to do so. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition that has waged a devastating war in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians in indiscriminate air strikes tied to the bombing of targets like marketplaces, water treatment facilities, hospitals, a school bus, a wedding and even a funeral. Many of these attacks have been carried out by the Saudi Royal Air Force using U.S.-supplied munitions and aircraft.
Read the full piece in The Hill.