Senators take bipartisan step toward blocking Trump's Saudi arms sales

Elias Hubbard
June 12, 2019

One Middle East analysts has said that American nervousness over arms sale to Saudi is also due to pro-Israeli members of the Congress who are anxious about helping the kingdom build sophisticated weapons systems that could one day rival the Zionist state.

This move follows the introduction of 22 bipartisan resolutions on Wednesday that aim to block the $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that bypassed congressional review last month.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has a simple explanation for why he's helping lead the attempt to block the administration's emergency arms sales authorizations.

WELNA: Trump, for his part, has consistently pushed for more weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Senators are introducing more legislation aimed at increasing opposition to President Donald Trump's Saudi Arabia policy.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of CT and Republican Sen.

Asked about growing frustration among Republicans, Graham said, "I think there'll be a lot of support" for the resolutions.

Trump circumvented Congress by declaring a national emergency on the grounds of a security threat from Iran.

The sales include warplane engines, maintenance equipment, Paveway precision guided munitions and mortar rounds.

Additionally, as first reported Friday by The New York Times, the Raytheon-made Paveway smart bombs will be co-manufactured in Saudi Arabia - raising concerns that doing so could give the Saudis access to technology to produce their own version of the bombs. After receiving the information, Congress can then vote on ending or restricting security assistance.

It is unclear if Murphy and Young's resolution would pass the Republican-controlled Senate before moving on to the House.

A Senate vote on whether to discharge the resolutions from the committee could come as soon as Monday or Tuesday of next week, depending on a procedural ruling from the Senate parliamentarian, according to a Democratic aide with knowledge of the situation. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was killed and dismembered last May after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, but the U.S. administration refused to let the murder adversely affect its Saudi ties. Two weeks later, the bill's supporters in the Senate tried to override the veto but fell short, 53-45. In their latest effort to stop the weapons sales, congressional critics of the war will likely need to secure a veto-proof majority.

As the political jockeying unfolded in Washington, the United Nations Development Programme issued a report underscoring the extent of the humanitarian disaster being fueled by USA weapons and logistical support. But he said that in general he does not support the arms sales.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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