U.S. Senators Step Up Effort To Stop Trump Administration Arms Sales to Saudis
June 10, 2019 (EIRNS)—U.S. Senators are gearing up to get the votes to block President Donald Trump’s emergency sale of arms to the Saudis and their Gulf allies, The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel reported June 9. Besides opposition to the sale of arms to the Saudi regime, there is also opposition in both parties to President Trump’s declaration of an “emergency” for Saudi arms sales, and overuse of “emergency” measures to get legislation passed. The Senators showed some spine by introducing 22 resolutions—one for each arms sale proposed in the bill—that would block the deals, amounting to an unprecedented Congressional move to stop the White House’s approval of emergency arms sales.
In addition, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a staunch Trump ally, is supporting the resolution to block the sales. Said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the co-sponsors, “I’ve offered two prior disapproval motions on Saudi arms sales, and Lindsey led the opposition to my prior attempts to stop the arms sales.” Graham told The Hill, “I think there’ll be a lot of support for the resolutions.”
In late May, the Trump Administration notified Congress that it was invoking a rarely used legal provision, deeming the situation an emergency, to push through long-stalled deals with the Saudis and United Arab Emirates worth $8.1 billion—and the emergency cited was alleged threats from Iran!
The Saudis are scheduled to get F-15 fighter jet support, Paveway precision-guided munitions, aircraft maintenance support, engines for F-15s, and logistics support for Saudi spy planes.
Further, the New York Times reported today that the Raytheon-made Paveway smart bombs will be co-manufactured in Saudi Arabia, which could give the Saudis enough access to produce a version of that bomb. The U.A.E. was also approved for laser-guided rockets, Paveway smart bombs, and also given the “go ahead” to provide some of the Paveway bombs to Jordan.
The Senators seeking to block the sales believe they have enough support to pass all 22 resolutions. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said, “The first time we had a vote, we got about 22 people to oppose the sale. Last time, I think we got nearly 50. I think there’s a growing number of people and growing resistance to allowing the government to operate by emergency.”
In March, a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen passed the Senate 54-46.
Senator Murphy argued that opposition to the arms sales is growing because Mohammed bin Salman’s “going off the rails is now hard for the Saudis to disguise,” referring to the Kingdom’s ruling Crown Prince. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) said, “There’s things that have happened over the last year and recent years that cause all of us to need to recalibrate.”