Democrats Propose Pulling Troops From Saudi Arabia as Revenge for OPEC Move

Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Sean Casten of Illinois and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania have introduced legislation asking for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after OPEC announced its decision to curb oil production on Wednesday.

“This is a hostile act by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, designed to hurt the United States and our allies and to help Russia, despite President Biden’s overtures,” Malinowski wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

“If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin keep oil prices high, they should look to him for their defense,” he added in a later tweet.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and Russia announced they had agreed to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day to raise prices.

This cut represents some 2 percent of global oil production and it’s likely to further harm countries struggling with supply shortages and rising energy prices, especially in Europe. But most of all, this decision will probably help Russia, whose revenues had recently been hurt by the drop in oil prices.

Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz bin Salman
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman speaks during a press conference after the 45th Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee and the 33rd OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, Austria, on October 5, 2022. Saudi Arabia and Russia announced they had agreed to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day.

In a joint statement, Malinowski, Casten and Wild said: “OPEC’s decision appears designed to increase Russia’s oil export revenues, enabling Putin to continue his war crimes in Ukraine, and undercutting Western sanctions.”

The White House has criticized OPEC’s decision as “shortsighted.”

In their bill, the lawmakers asked that “all United States Armed Forces and equipment, including Patriot missile batteries and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, shall be removed from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.”

Malinowski, Casten and Wild said that Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s decision to cut 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.” In response, they called for the U.S. to “resume acting like the superpower in our relationship with our client states in the Gulf.”

The three lawmakers also said that Saudi Arabia and UEA “have long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields,” but troops should now be removed from these territories as the two countries “are actively working against us.”

“If Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to help Putin, they should look to him for their defense,” Malinowski, Casten and Wild wrote.

They called OPEC’s decision “a turning point in our relationship with our Gulf partners” and a “slap in the face” after President Biden had tried to repair the relationship with Saudi Arabia by visiting the Saudi crown prince in Riyadh this summer.

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