Biden likely to halt US arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid OPEC row: Senator


US President Joe Biden is likely to tap the brakes on any new arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid an ongoing row with the Kingdom over oil production cuts, a key senator said on Friday.

“I think you’ll see both the administration and the Senate take action, and one of the most likely actions is to stop any future arms sales,” Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, told CNN during a televised interview.

The comments come as the Biden administration and congressional Democrats continue to escalate their war of words with Riyadh after Saudi Arabia backed a 2 million barrel per day production cut.

Biden has said his administration would undertake a review of the bilateral relationship, as his senior officials have warned they are examining which consequences to impose.

The White House charged on Thursday that not only did Saudi officials lend their support to the measure, but worked behind the scenes as OPEC+’s chair to pressure other member states to vote in favor of the proposal.

The decision to reduce oil production has spiked oil prices and is tantamount to “moral and military support” for Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby maintained.

“The country that benefits the most from this 2 million barrel cut is Russia because it does come down to supply and demand, and Russia obviously wants to keep the supply down so that demand drives the price up,” he said. “We’ve been, I think, very candid and very clear about our concerns over this short-sighted regrettable decision.”

Oil has remained a major lifeline for the Kremlin as it presses its invasion of Ukraine in defiance of economic and diplomatic pressure from the US and its allies.

The cut also comes just one month before the US holds midterm elections, with Democrats vulnerable to losing at least one chamber in Congress. Higher gas prices at a time of rampant US inflation are likely to undercut their electoral prospects.​​​​​​​__The Nation