Senate rejects bipartisan bid to stop $650M Saudi arms sale

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The Senate on Tuesday rejected a bid by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to block President Joe Biden’s administration from selling more than $650 million worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, allowing the deal despite the Gulf country’s dismal human rights record. Permission granted to proceed.

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A procedural motion by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was rejected by a 30-67 vote, in the latest skirmish in Congress over US sales of arms to the country.

Saudi Arabia is one of America’s most steadfast allies in the volatile region of the world. But the country’s leading role in a civil war in nearby Yemen that has blocked the flow of basic necessities such as fuel, food and medicine, as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the assassination of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi Is. The strength of that bond.


“We could have stopped this war if we really wanted to do it,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “The whole of America should be shocked by the humanitarian disaster caused by the Saudi blockade of Yemen.”

Among those who joined Paul in calling for a halt to arms sales were Utah Republican censor Mike Lee, as well as liberals such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Patty Murray of Washington.

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“The United States must do everything in its power to end this brutal and gruesome war,” Sanders said from the Senate floor. “Nothing adds to this conflict more than exporting more missiles to Saudi Arabia and pouring more gasoline on an already raging fire.”

This is not the first time a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has tried to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Congress has repeatedly tried to stop former Donald Trump from selling billions of weapons to the country – forcing the then-president to issue a handful of vetoes.

Biden himself pledged in November 2019 on the campaign trail to “pariah” the Saudis that he would “indeed, not sell them any more weapons.”

But since his election in 2020, Biden has taken a different step.

In a statement, the administration denounced efforts to halt the sale, arguing such action “resolve the president’s commitment to assisting in protecting our partner at a time of increasing missile and drone attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia.” weakens it.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports arms sales, said stopping it would further reduce American influence in the world. He also argued that countries like Russia or China would step into the void and provide weapons, making the gesture meaningless.

“It will give the world one more reason to doubt the resolve of the United States of America and it will give our biggest adversaries a new ground to exert their influence in a rapidly changing and important region,” the Kentucky Republican said.


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