US Senator claims Saudi Arabia could 'share' defence tech info with Russia
Democrat Richard Blumenthal said he wants to "dig deeper into the risk" of "sensitive" information being passed onto Moscow following OPEC's controversial decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day, The Guardian reported on Monday, seen as a boost for sanction-hit Russia.
The New Arab could not independently verify Blumenthal's claims and the Senator provided no information to back up his assertions.
Some Democrats, however, described the OPEC decision to cut oil production as a "hostile act against the US".
Washington requested Riyadh use its influence on the petroleum organisation to keep a lid on high oil prices amid a global energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, while Riyadh has stressed the decision came after agreement from all OPEC members.
"We are going to be consulting with the Pentagon, speaking to them very frankly about their assessment of the risk in the transfer of technology in advanced weapons systems made already," Blumenthal told The Guardian.
"I am not leaping to any conclusions, but it needs to be a consideration that is heightened… if there are risks, I want to determine what can be done to mitigate those risks immediately," he added.
Blumenthal also said he supports proposals to shift weapons currently in or en route to Saudi Arabia to allies in Ukraine and that it would be possible to train European forces outside of their war-torn country.
During the last five years, the US has outsourced some of its "most sensitive strategic weapons" to the kingdom in an "unparallel" manner, according to Jefferey Sonnenfeld, a professor who studied arms sales to Saudi Arabia and is sharing his research with the Democrats.
"We have no allies including [the] UK [and] Israel… with such a unique security partnership… It is plausible that the Saudis have information about those weapons that the [US] would not want shared with Russia," Sonnenfeld told the British daily.
"There has been no public discussion of the impact of this alarming weaponry handoff to the Saudis for self-sufficiency with no US control in the near future," he added.
Since the OPEC announcement, US President Biden - who promised "consequences" for Saudi - has encouraged a reassessment of ties between the allies, with options including changing security assistance to the major oil producer, according to the White House.