West News Wire: Democratic members of Congress are protesting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over their decision to reduce oil production, and they are pleading with President Joe Biden to put pressure on the Gulf nations to change their minds.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, including Russia, announced the limitations this week. This action is expected to increase the price of gasoline for US customers before the pivotal midterm elections.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, two major OPEC+ participants, have come under fire for that possibility, notably from Democrats who stand to lose politically if gas prices rise.

Additionally, three Democratic members of Congress presented a measure calling for the withdrawal of US military personnel and missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The measure is unlikely to pass, but it highlights the growing frustration in Washington.

US representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild described the oil cuts as “a hostile act against the United States and a clear signal that [Saudi Arabia and the UAE] have chosen to side with Russia in its war against Ukraine”.

“Both countries have long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields,” they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“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.”

Congressman Matt Cartwright, a Pennsylvania Democrat, also voiced support for the bill, saying the oil cuts would “empower Putin”. “As a nation, we need to reevaluate our relationship with the Saudis and remind them who the superpower is,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

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OPEC+ said on Wednesday that a deal had been reached to cut oil production by two million barrels per day, with UAE Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei saying the decision was “technical, not political”.

The announcement spurred a jump in global oil prices, which had been decreasing in recent months after reaching record levels in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The oil group said the decision came in “light of the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks, and the need to enhance the long-term guidance for the oil market”.

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg on Wednesday that the cuts were a proactive measure to stabilise the market amid global economic uncertainties, including interest rate hikes and prospects of a global recession.

The Saudi minister also stressed that the aim is not to “jack up” prices. “That is not on our radar, our [aim] is to make sure that we sustain the markets,” he said.

Others who support Saudi Arabia have asserted that the US is not favoring Riyadh in any way by maintaining their security partnership with Washington.

However, many US Democrats still view the reductions in oil production as a slight against the US government, particularly after Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia and meetings with the country’s prominent officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, occurred just a few months ago.

The White House expressed “disappointment” about the budget cuts, but Biden insisted on Thursday that his trip to the kingdom in July had nothing to do with oil.

“The journey wasn’t really for oil, though. The Middle East, Israel, and rationalizing stances were the main topics of the trip, he claimed.


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