A senior Democratic lawmaker is worried that sensitive US defense technology could be given to Russia by Saudi Arabia. It is because Saudi Arabia recently decided to side with Russia over the US.
After Opec+ decided to cut oil production, Richard Blumenthal, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, proposed a one-year restraint on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He said he would “dig deeper into the risk” in talks with the Pentagon.
The senator wants to know that they are taking care of it, and if there are any risks, he wants to know what can be done right away to reduce them.
His concern shows how far apart the Saudi monarchy and the Democrats in Washington have become. Democrats are furious about a recent decision by the Opec oil cartel to start cutting oil yield by 2 million barrels a day next month.
The deal was once seen in the US as a way for Riyadh to show solidarity with Russia in its war with Ukraine. It was also seen as an easy way to hurt Joe Biden and Democrats ahead of next month’s essential midterm elections by raising the price of gas.
Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress have been upset by the move and called for a change in the relationship with Saudi Arabia. The US president has also said that Saudi Arabia will have to deal with “consequences” for the move.
Jake Sullivan, the White House’s national security adviser, said on Sunday that President Biden would re-evaluate the relationship in a “methodical” way. He said that one possibility is that security aid to the major oil producer could be changed.
Even though Republicans on Capitol Hill have been much quieter about the Opec+ move, Blumenthal said that his talks with colleagues showed that there would be support from both parties for measures to limit weapons sales, which is likely to be a formal topic of discussion next month.
Blumenthal has also said that one of his main concerns is ensuring that sensitive technology shared with US partners in Riyadh does not end up in the hands of Russia.
The senator also said he agreed with plans to give allies in Ukraine weapons that are already in Saudi Arabia or are on their way there.
Some analysts have pointed out that sending weapons to Ukraine would be problematic because they would need US people to run them. It would be an unsustainable escalation, they say. Blumenthal clarified that he was not saying that US troops would train Ukrainian soldiers inside the country but that it was possible to do so outside the country.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s safety minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, shared a tweet that the agreement by OPEC+ to cut oil output was made unanimously for “purely” “bread-and-butter” reasons. (Source – Twitter)
The story was similar to what the Saudi crown prince said last week when he said that criticism of the Opec+ deal was unfair and that the group had acted reasonably and in its best interests. It also shut down any possibility that it could be made to do a U-turn.
A request for comment was sent to the Pentagon, but it did not respond.
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