A plan to suspend U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia for a year could end up benefiting Russia and China, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday.
"You will see Saudi Arabia turn more and more to Russia and China. And how does that play out in terms of meeting our interests?” Smith said in an interview on CNN's "At This Hour" “So it’s a lot more complicated than just saying, you know, we don’t like Saudi Arabia, and therefore we’re cutting it off, and everything will be fine from there because they’re very fraught complicated relationship.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., on Tuesday introduced legislation that would immediately pause all U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia for one year. This pause would also halt sales of spare and repair parts, support services and logistical support.
"I think Putin would potentially have a closer ally in the fight against Ukraine," Smith told CNN. "China would have greater entrée to the Middle East. And there would be significant challenges there. And after all of that, would Saudi Arabia be a better global actor?"
He added: "And again, I am very much aware of the things that Saudi Arabia has done that are indefensible. No question about the 'where does that go in terms of how we either change that behavior or better improve our position in the world?' It’s going to take a lot of deep thought.”
Blumenthal and Khanna's bill came after OPEC+’s move to cut all oil production by 2 million barrels a day.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday also called on cutting cooperation with the Saudis. In a letter on Monday, Menendez said Saudi Arabia's decision to cut oil production will aid Russia in its war against Ukraine.
"There simply is no room to play both sides of this conflict – either you support the rest of the free world in trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping off an entire country off of the map, or you support him."
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