Executive Intelligence Review


Sen. Rand Paul Acts To Block Arms Sales to Saudis

Oct. 29, 2018 (EIRNS)—U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he will not let Saudi Arabia off the hook, in an interview with Politico published on Oct. 27. Senator Paul said that he intends to force another Senate vote to block billions in arms sales to the Saudis, and will not settle for targetted sanctions, believing that after the barbaric targetted killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the murderers can be brought to justice.

Paul emphasized that the Saudis should not get away with this:

“Are we going to do fake sanctions? Are we going to pretend to do something by putting sanctions on 15 thugs [suspected in the killing]? Or are we going to do something that hurts them?”

Paul ask, and explained that he thinks Saudi Arabia is trying to wait him out until the Khashoggi murder fades from the headlines, before announcing the arms sale.

Paul told Politico that he and his allies would win the vote if it were held now, and the Saudis know it. A number of Republican foreign policy voices have spoken out against Saudi Arabia, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN), and pointed to the potential involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi’s murder. Senator Paul has put more emphasis, especially earlier, on the Saudis’ brutal genocide against Yemen, which involves U.S. matériel support.

“We would win the vote right now,” said Paul. “It would be a very bad vote if 60, 65 or even 70 people [in the Senate] voted to cut the arms sales for now and the President were to veto that; that would be bad.”

President Trump “doesn’t want to disrupt the arms sales” to the Saudis, Paul told Politico, because the President believes they create hundreds of thousands of jobs. “And it’s something we have an honest disagreement on. I don’t think arms are jobs programs.”

Speaking with Politico in Hamilton, Montana, as he campaigned for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, challenging Democratic incumbent Jon Tester, Senator Paul also broke with President Trump on arms control, and called it a “terrible idea” for the United States to back away from weapons limitation agreements with Russia. He said that he has asked the President to appoint nuclear negotiators to preserve two nuclear weapons reduction treaties: the new START treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

“I’m pushing hard on that,” Paul said. “Because I want to have this influence before we do that. But the President says he wants to do that. It’s a mistake to give up on that stuff.”

On Oct. 25, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Senate Joint Resolution 54, calling on the President to withdraw from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Sanders cited two reasons: 1) the war is a strategic and moral disaster for the United States; and 2) the time is long overdue for Congress to reassert authority over matters of war. The Senate voted 55-45 to delay consideration of the resolution. Sanders said he will bring the resolution back to the floor with more co-sponsors in November, and House colleagues will offer a similar measure.