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Senate Debates Resolution To Formally Disapprove of U.S. Arms Sale to Saudis; Vote 71 to 25 To Table the Hot Measure

Sept. 21 (EIRNS)—The U.S. Senate today voted 71 to 25 to table, that is block, S.J.Res. 39, a resolution disapproving of the Obama Administration’s planned sale, worth $1.15 billion, of 153 M1 Abrams tanks and associated equipment, to Saudi Arabia. A tabled bill can be reintroduced by a simple majority, but for the time being, the Senate has punted once again on doing the right thing, by acting directly against the Saudi genocide and war crimes in Yemen, with the full backing and complicity of the Bush Administration and the British.

The majority of the Senate was "convinced" of the need for the sale with the specious claim that the Saudis are US allies against Iran, and in the war against terrorism and that it’s also a jobs program.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the chief sponsor of the resolution, noted the irony of the impending vote: the same Senate that passed the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), last May, to allow the 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for its involvement in the 9/11 attacks, was about to vote overwhelmingly in favor of selling arms to the same Saudi Arabia. "People believe they were complicit in 9/11," Paul said. "This body voted unanimously to allow them to be sued. Now we want to sell them weapons? Does anyone note the irony?"

Both Paul and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) presented the evidence that the Saudis are major sponsors of Islamist extremism through their funding of madrassas all around the world. "They teach version of Islam that leads to anti-Shiia and anti-western militancy," Murphy said. The supporters of the resolution also made the case that the Saudis are bombing indiscriminately in Yemen—a war in which the U.S. is participating without Congressional approval—resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.

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