A group of top congressional Democrats is aiming to punish Saudi Arabia after the OPEC+ announcement to cut oil production by taking back U.S. missile systems as well as other missiles and giving them to Ukraine instead.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced in a statement that “for several years, the U.S. military has deployed Patriot missile defense batteries to Saudi Arabia to help defend oil infrastructure against missile and drone attacks.”
Specifically, the Democrat wrote that the United States should reroute 280 missile systems and send them to Ukraine.
“If Saudi Arabia isn’t willing to take the side of Ukraine and U.S. over Russia, why should we keep these Patriots in Saudi Arabia when Ukraine and our NATO allies need them?” Murphy said. “We should remove these Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia and move them to either Ukraine, or NATO partners who have transferred weapons to Ukraine and need to backfill defense systems.”
Elaborating, Murphy wrote that the “Ukrainians are using (and need more) air-to-air AMRAAM missiles,” adding that they are “needed to defend against” Russian airstrikes. “The U.S. is scheduled to send 280 AMRAAMs to Saudi Arabia. These should be redirected to Ukraine,” he declared.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told the Guardian newspaper that “at the very least, the Patriot missiles will be suspended,” adding that “at a minimum, it is going to happen.”
“The reality is that there is no economic case for what they are doing. This was punitive for Americans and it is aiding [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin,” he also said.
The Saudis, a key player in OPEC+, said last week that senior White House officials had asked the kingdom to postpone the OPEC meeting until December, or about a month after the 2022 midterm elections. A spokesman for the White House, John Kirby, confirmed in a statement that the United States did ask the Saudi government to do so but said other nations—which he did not name—had privately told the administration that they wanted the vote rescheduled.
President Joe Biden and other top Democrats have repeatedly said that the Saudis should face retaliation after the OPEC+ vote. In a recent interview, Biden stated he would take action against Riyadh but didn’t elaborate on how.
It comes as decades-high inflation and elevated gas prices have been gnawing away at Biden’s and Democrats’ approval rating ahead of the November elections, where analysts have predicted that the GOP is expected to at least take back the House.
But the Saudi foreign ministry last week rejected U.S. criticism of its OPEC+ decision and said the group acted within its own economic interest by slashing production.
“The kingdom stresses that while it strives to preserve the strength of its relations with all friendly countries, it affirms its rejection of any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility,” the Saudi ministry said.
Saudi Arabia imports a significant amount of its weapons systems from the United States. Between 2009 and 2016, the Obama administration offered the kingdom $115 billion in weapons, training, and other military equipment, according to a Reuters report.
From The Epoch Times