With the newest barrage of Russian missiles across Ukraine, nevertheless, the outrage in Washington directed at Riyadh has only grown in recent days. Mr. Biden’s decision to review the connection got here a day after Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of Latest Jersey and the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called for a direct freeze on “all points of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” vowing to make use of his power to dam future arms sales.
Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat within the Senate, said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia clearly wanted Russia to win the war in Ukraine. “Let’s be very candid about this,” he said on CNN. “It’s Putin and Saudi Arabia against america.”
Two other Democrats, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Representative Ro Khanna of California, announced Tuesday that they might introduce laws cutting arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Blumenthal said Mr. Biden should take motion. “I’d do greater than re-evaluate. I’d act immediately,” he said in an interview. “He has been misled and double-crossed, and I don’t think he should or will take frivolously to it.”
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John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said the president was willing to debate next steps with members of Congress. “Definitely in light of recent developments and OPEC Plus’s decision about oil production, the president believes that we must always review the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia and to have a look to see if that relationship is where it must be and that it’s serving our national security interests,” he told reporters.
In an initial gesture of discontent, the Biden administration informed the Saudis that it could not take part in a scheduled meeting of a regional working group dedicated to defending against potential Iran airstrikes, in keeping with an American official, although the session shall be rescheduled. The postponement was previously reported by Semafor, a latest news outlet.
Still, it was not clear how far Mr. Biden was willing to go, or whether he was using the general public comments as a warning to Saudi Arabia or as an effort to quiet domestic critics who’ve faulted him for being soft on the dominion. No special team of aides was established to conduct a proper review; no deadline was set for a conclusion; and no options were mentioned for consideration.