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US-Saudi military ties remain on course despite OPEC dispute

The White House is signaling it could hold up further arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but so far the rare public dispute has not impacted direct military cooperation between Washington and Riyadh.
US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One before departing from King Abdulaziz International Airport at the end of his first tour in the Middle East as president, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 16, 2022.

TAMPA, Florida – Direct military coordination between the United States and Saudi Arabia remains on schedule despite the two countries’ public dispute over OPEC’s recent decision to slash oil production, according to US officials.

The White House postponed a working group meeting set for today between US and Gulf Cooperation Council representatives in response to the oil cartel’s Oct. 5 announcement, which comes ahead of key midterm elections in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Senior civilian officials at the Pentagon were scheduled to attend the meeting to discuss advancing Washington’s proposal to integrate missile and air defense networks across the Middle East as a defensive bulwark against Iran, officials told Al-Monitor.

On Capitol Hill last week, key lawmakers from Biden’s own party vowed to block arms sales to Riyadh over the OPEC+ decision, accusing the kingdom of siding with Russia in its war against Ukraine.

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