House members ask Biden to get tougher on Saudi Arabia

House members ask Biden to get tougher on Saudi Arabia

 Nearly 36 House Democrats are pushing the administration to get tougher with Saudi Arabia, calling it a nasty strategic partner after it refused to help ease the global oil supply crisis during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Representative Jerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat and senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representative Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat and chair of the Rules Committee, led lawmakers in a letter asking Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to "recalibrate" the US-Saudi relationship.

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Joe Biden began his presidency by freezing the kingdom's crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, over Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen and abuses, including the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul.

But tight oil supplies and rising oil prices, which drive inflation, have prompted the Biden administration to improve its relationship with Saudi Arabia's rulers ever since.

Blinken and other US diplomats and military leaders called on Saudi officials, retracted public criticism of the imprisonment of Saudi opponents, and emphasized US defense support for the kingdom against cross-border missile attacks on Saudi oil sites and other targets by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

There are no signs that American initiatives have appeased the Saudi rulers, and the kingdom has refused to make the drastic increases in oil pumping that the United States hopes for.

The House Democrats' letter noted the kingdom's continued harsh treatment of human rights defenders and the killing of Khashoggi in 2018, something the US intelligence community concluded was ordered by Prince Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Democrats write that Saudi Arabia is doing nothing to help the West as it tries to freeze Russia over its war in Ukraine. Russia is one of the world's countries with the largest oil and gas producers, and the conflict has exacerbated an already tight global oil supply.

"Instead of accepting pleas from our government to produce more oil, an initial step that would immediately lower prices to Americans across the country," Saudi Arabia's rulers have reportedly been talking to China about pricing part of its oil sales in Chinese yuan, a move that could weaken US Dollar, Democrats Books.

"Governments that have forged real, solid alliances with the United States, shaped in shared values ​​of democratic norms and respect for human rights, have responded to the call to action in the wake of the unprovoked invasion. Unfortunately, our longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia has not resulted in a similar response," he wrote. Democrats.

The letter added that "Saudi Arabia's inability to defend international law exemplifies the short- and long-term risks of maintaining non-monetary US support for the Saudi regime." She asked Blinken to rebalance US dealings with Saudi Arabia accordingly.

On Wednesday, the Saudi embassy in Washington said it would provide up to $10 million to support Ukrainian refugees.

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