Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy called for a reassessment of the US military alliance with Saudi Arabia after the kingdom and its oil-exporting allies agreed to a production cut, ahead of the November midterm elections which Democrats are already set to lose to the Republicans.
In an interview on Sunday, Murphy lambasted OPEC+’s cut of 2 million oil barrels per day, and called the decades-long US-Saudi partnership “broken.”
The oil-exporting alliance, which includes the 13 OPEC nations and 11 non-members including Russia, made the production cut announcement on Wednesday. The group agreed to cut output by 2 million barrels per day, equal to 2 percent of global supply.
The OPEC move was a large blow to the administration of US President Joe Biden, who visited oil-rich Saudi Arabia on a July trip to appeal to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Independent observers believe the Biden administration is worried that the decision to cut oil production will cause a gas price hike in the US.
“I don’t have any problem with American presidents meeting with our friends or adversaries,” Murphy said on Sunday. “I think it’s clear that right now the relationship is broken. But it’s been broken under Democratic presidents and Republican presidents.”
The OPEC decision was made as US-led Western nations continue attempts to curb Iran’s and Russia’s oil trade as part of illegal sanctions, while also grappling with soaring energy prices in the US.
The decision has prompted some lawmakers, including Murphy, to rethink Washington’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, which routinely purchases American weapons and hosts troops.
“We sell massive amounts of arms to the Saudis,” Murphy said on CNN. “I think we need to rethink those sales. I think we need to lift the exemption that we have given this OPEC+ cartel from U.S. price-fixing liability. I think we need to look at our true presence in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia.”
“For years, we have looked the other way as Saudi Arabia has chopped up journalists, has engaged in massive political repression, for one reason: We wanted to know that when the chips were down, when there was a global crisis, that the Saudis would choose us instead of Russia,” Murphy told Tapper.
“Well, they didn’t. They chose Russia,” Murphy added.
A team of Saudi operatives murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.
Biden, who once called for Saudi Arabia to be made a pariah, visited Saudi Arabia and met with the crown prince in July.