A day after taking office, Menendez's successor said he would consider selling F-16s to Turkey

Sen. Ben Cardin

The recent indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who had been serving as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has prompted a leadership change that could influence various international matters.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has assumed the position of committee chairman and has already indicated a focus on human rights concerns when evaluating arms sales to other nations. This shift in leadership could have implications for two critical issues: Saudi Arabia's defence pact negotiations with the U.S. and Turkey's bid to acquire F-16 fighter jets.

Cardin has expressed his intent to prioritize human rights in arms sales discussions, particularly in the context of Saudi Arabia. He emphasized the need for accountability regarding human rights abuses and security cooperation safeguards as prerequisites for any U.S. commitments to Riyadh. Cardin cited the unresolved case of Jamal Khashoggi's murder and stressed the importance of including such considerations in discussions surrounding a security agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Cardin's leadership may also influence the potential advancement of a security treaty with Saudi Arabia, a decision requiring Senate ratification. He must also make a swift determination regarding the disbursement of $235 million in Egypt military aid, which has become more complex following Menendez's indictment.

While the Biden administration had communicated closely with Menendez regarding negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Cardin has not received these briefings since assuming the chairmanship.

Cardin's emphasis on human rights and security safeguards may affect Saudi Arabia's request for a mutual defence pact and a civilian nuclear agreement as conditions for normalizing relations with Israel. Despite his support for a Saudi-Israel normalization deal, Cardin maintains that human rights and security concerns must be addressed in any U.S. commitments to Riyadh.

Moreover, Cardin may influence the approval to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously linked the sale to Sweden's accession to NATO, which is expected to occur next month. Cardin's decision regarding this sale could depend on various factors, including Turkey's actions and commitments related to NATO.

The indictment of Sen. Menendez has introduced complexities into these international matters, and Cardin's leadership may lead to significant policy shifts in U.S. foreign relations.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024