US Senators Not Happy About Arm Sales to Riyadh

12 Juin, 2019, 16:39 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The U.S. Capitol is seen from the observation deck of the Old Post Office Tower 11 January 2019 in Washington DC

If Trump succeeds in getting around Congress, these weapons sales will prolong suffering in Yemen and eliminate one of the last levers that allowed the United States to exert influence over Saudi and Emirati actions: the threat of Congress blocking arms deals.

The Bill appears to be the first in a series of proposed resolutions announced last week that would require votes on each of the arms sales that make up the $8.1 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, which was announced by the Trump admiration in May. Ultimate power may rest with Congress, but day to day, the president acts while Congress struggles to react.

As Murphy said in a weekend statement, the newest effort could compel a debate on broader questions of U.S. -Saudi relations, extending far beyond the recently announced arms sales.

For Saudi Arabia, the sales include F-15 fighter jet support, Paveway precision-guided munitions, aircraft maintenance support, mortar rounds, engines for F-15s, and logistics and support for Saudi spy planes. Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy expects such pushback will continue.

"The fact that Lindsey is leading the resolution tells you that things are shifting inside the Republican caucus", said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Graham, himself, has foreseen "a lot of support" for the resolutions.

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The US has been unreservedly supporting a 2015-present Saudi-led war against Yemen that seeks to bring back the impoverished country's former Riyadh-backed officials. The goal is to "protect and reaffirm Congress' role of approving arms sales to foreign governments", the report said. Lee joins Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Todd Young. "And so I think that you're going to see the biggest vote we've had, and it may well be a significant majority of the Senate is going to resist allowing the president to sell arms without our approval".

Anger has been mounting in Congress for months over the Trump administration's close ties to the Saudis, fueled by high civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen - a military campaign the U.S.is assisting - and the killing of US -based columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Todd Young of IN, a Republican, said IN a statement Sunday they hope to force a vote on USA security assistance to Saudi Arabia, including arms sales, after a review of the kingdom's human rights record.

Once Murphy and Young introduce the resolution, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has 10 days to consider the information request - otherwise the two can force a floor vote to move it from the committee, according to the release.

"This administration has effectively given a blank check to the Saudis - turning a blind eye to the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi and allowing their ballistic missile program to expand".

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