Politics, Americas

US lawmakers introduce bill to pull troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE

Legislation comes one day after Saudi Arabia, UAE back OPEC+ move to cut bloc's oil output

Michael Gabriel Hernandez  | 06.10.2022 - Update : 06.10.2022
US lawmakers introduce bill to pull troops from Saudi Arabia, UAE


A trio of Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced legislation on Thursday that would require the removal of critical US military assets stationed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The act's introduction comes one day after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi threw their weight behind OPEC+'s decision to cut the bloc's oil output by 2 million barrels per day starting in November. The decision is all but certain to raise US oil prices as Democrats head into November's midterm elections with hopes on maintaining their hold of both chambers of Congress.

There are currently about 5,000 of troops stationed in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the legislation put forward by Sean Casten, Tom Malinowski and Susan Wild would pull them from the countries alongside the removal of critical air defense systems such as Patriot missile batteries and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with 90 days of the act's passage.

The THAAD system and Patriot batteries would be relocated "to another location or locations in the Middle East, with the priority mission of protecting United States Armed Forces," the bill says.

The White House sharply lashed out at OPEC+'s decision on Wednesday, saying it is a "clear" indication that the bloc is "aligning with Russia" at a time when Moscow is continuing to press its war against neighboring Ukraine.

The act's sponsors said Saudi Arabia and the UAE have "long relied on an American military presence in the Gulf to protect their security and oil fields," and that following their support for OPEC+'s action, "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 Putin, they should look to him for their defense," Casten, Malinowski and Wild said in a joint statement. "This decision is a turning point in our relationship with our Gulf partners."

"If Saudi Arabia and the UAE hope to maintain a relationship with the United States that has been overwhelmingly beneficial to them, they must show a greater willingness to work with us — not against us — in advancing what is now our most urgent national security objective: the defeat of Russia's aggression in Ukraine," they added.

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