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Date : July 16, 2024

US lawmakers want to punish Saudi Arabia and UAE

US lawmakers want to punish Saudi Arabia and UAE

The legislators have accused the Gulf monarchies of “siding with Russia”

Three members of the US Congress have introduced a bill to withdraw troops and missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in response to their decision to cut oil production.

OPEC+, a group of oil-producing countries, agreed on Wednesday to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, equal to 2% of global supply.

The decision was made as Western nations continue attempts to curb Russia’s oil trade as part of sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, while also grappling with soaring energy prices at home.

“Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s drastic cut in oil production, despite President Biden’s overtures to both countries in recent months, is a hostile act against the United States and a clear signal that they have chosen to side with Russia in its war against Ukraine,” Democrats Sean Casten, Tom Malinowski, and Susan Wild said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Both countries have long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields. We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us. If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin, they should look to him for their defense.

The three Democrats argued that the boosting of oil prices by OPEC+ “appears designed to increase Russia’s oil export revenues.” They urged the Gulf states to show “a greater willingness” to work with the US towards “the defeat of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine” if they want to maintain good relations with Washington.

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Khurais oil field, 150 km east-northeast of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia hikes oil prices for US – Bloomberg

According to the White House, President Joe Biden was “disappointed by the shortsighted decision” of OPEC+.

The organization unites the majority of the world’s oil-rich countries, including the Arab states of the Middle East, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Malaysia.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has dismissed the accusations of weaponizing oil prices amid the energy crisis.

The American legislators noted that around 3,000 US troops are stationed in Saudi Arabia, and 2,000 in the UAE, as well as F-35 jet fighters and “other weapons systems” operated by American personnel. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are among Washington’s traditional key allies in the Middle East.

The US State Department approved the potential sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile interceptors to the UAE and MIM-104 Patriot air defense missile systems to Saudi Arabia in August.

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