Senate votes 53-47 to defeat Saudi Arabia arms deal block

by Joy Montgomery June 14, 2017, 6:28
Senate votes 53-47 to defeat Saudi Arabia arms deal block

Despite its steep odds against becoming law - the resolution would have had to overcome a presidential veto - the measure gained some steam Monday when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would support it. Schumer, a New York Democrat, had opposed Paul when he sought in 2016 to block a $1.15 billion sale of tanks and other weapons to Saudi Arabia.

"It's an arms race over there, and we're fueling it", Paul told CNN's Jake Tapper. Congress can block any arms sale simply by passing a resolution of disapproval. An epidemic of cholera is now ravaging parts of the country, while nearly 7 million people face starvation due to the war and the Saudi blockade, according to the global humanitarian organization Oxfam. So why, less than a year later, are we agreeing to sell Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in arms to further escalate a war that has been loudly and repeatedly condemned internationally? We let Saudi Arabia have what it wants despite its violations.

"Despite increased U.S. support in the form of training and smarter weaponry to lessen civilian casualties, it has become clear that several unaddressed flaws in Saudi Arabia's targeting process, not the precision of the munition or targeting skill, are the principal cause of harm", read a letter signed by Oxfam and 40 other humanitarian groups and sent to every member of the U.S. Senate. "They are the greatest purveyor of hatred for Christianity and Judaism in the world...we should not be selling arms to Saudi Arabia". On June 7, Senator Merkley co-sponsored the Paul-Murphy-Franken resolution against Trump's Saudi arms deal. Deutch said he was "deeply troubled" by reports of civilian casualties in the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) over the U.S. -Saudi alliance.

"The Trump Administration has repeatedly indicated a willingness to partner with Saudi Arabia despite its appalling human rights record".

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Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United States, charge that Iran is backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen. If anything, it has exacerbated it, and it has associated our name with Saudi Arabia's tactics in Yemenis' minds. The vote will not however prevent the deal from going ahead. "Should we be at war in Yemen?" "Every constituent action can make a difference". This even as President Trump is abandoning the challenges of the underlying assumptions of USA foreign policy and the U.S.'s entangling alliances he made during his campaign.

"Just having this bill on the Senate floor shines a spotlight on a country so often ignored in the US", she said.

We also thank the many thousands of Americans who emailed, called and visited their Senators urging them to vote yes.

Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio is a rising senior at Williams College in MA.

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