US Democrats urge Biden to drop Saudi Arabia, UAE support after OPEC oil production 'betrayal'

US Democrats urge Biden to drop Saudi Arabia, UAE support after OPEC oil production 'betrayal'
3 min read
07 October, 2022
There is anger in the US after OPEC announced a cut to oil production with petrol prices set to rise.
Countries across the world have been hit by high petrol prices caused by the Ukraine war [Getty]

Democrat members of Congress are calling on the US to drop support for the UAE and Saudi Arabia after OPEC announced a controversial cut in oil production this week.

Three Democrats have introduced a bill to Congress calling for the removal of US troops and missile batteries from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have both been targeted by Houthi missile attacks, and described OPEC's decision to cut oil production a "hostile act against the US".

OPEC on Wednesday announced the biggest oil production cuts since 2020, a move which will likely send petrol prices upwards and is viewed as a boost for sanction-hit Russia.

"Both countries have long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields," said US representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild in a joint statement.

"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 [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, they should look to him for their defense."

The three lawmakers claimed the UAE and Saudi Arabia had clearly sided with Russia in its war against Ukraine by keeping oil prices high.

Democrats have called on President Joe Biden to pivot away from its traditional support for the Gulf states after the apparent "betrayal" by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Congressman Matt Cartwright said in a statement on Thursday: "As a nation, we need to reevaluate our relationship with the Saudis and remind them who the superpower is."

The US and European countries had called on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to use their influence in OPEC against oil production reductions, in order to keep a lid on high oil prices amid a continued global energy crisis. 

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OPEC ignored these calls and announced a 2 million barrels a day cut in production after prices dropped from $120 to $90 a barrel, saying it needed to stabilise prices amid a dip.

Biden issued a statement immediately after the announcement slamming the decision and ordered 10 million barrels in US oil reserves onto the market.

"The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin's invasion of Ukraine," read a statement by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council director Brian Deese.

"At a time when maintaining a global supply of energy is of paramount importance, this decision will have the most negative impact on lower- and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices."

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been criticised for not condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and the OPEC announcement is seen as a major boost for Moscow.

Countries across the world have been hit by high inflation, gas and petrol prices caused by the invasion.